I can be pretty cynical (you’ve probably not noticed or, if you have you’re far too polite to say) and for a couple of years I’ve held back from entering my products for awards. Mainly, because you have to pay to have them judged. AND it’s not cheap!
But I’d be lying if I said my customer feedback was reward enough. Don’t get me wrong, customer feedback is my driving force. It’s the reason I do this & nothing fills me with greater joy than having someone’s face light up with pleasure over something I’ve made.
Coming on the back of some great feedback from a customer at the Exmoor Producer Association Shop who loved the Evil Chilli Chutney, I heard yesterday that I’d been awarded a Gold from Taste of The West for the Spiced Carrot & Garlic Chutney. I have a great soft spot for this chutney. It was the first one that I made when I started back in 2010, it’s the first we reach for when the cheese comes out and it’s a firm favourite with my customers.
Yup! I entered. Yup. I paid. Can’t help it. I’m needy.
I have to confess that I’ve been wrestling with my daemons these last few weeks. Moving here to Somerset has been life changing in many ways but it has meant starting again with the business and I wondered if I had the energy. Finding markets that had a spot for a preserve maker, trying not to ruffle feathers, looking for independent retailers & trying to get a balance between what I could (& wanted) to produce and getting some money in. But mainly I wanted to get back to my roots and the reason for doing this in the first place.
Its a frustrating pill to swallow that if I’m to make a living AND stick to my principals there needs to be serious investment of money & energy again. I don’t have either.
So, I had come to a watershed moment. Could I give it all up? Apparently not.
I’m already thinking ahead to next year’s awards.
Obviously I’m not as cynical as I like to think I am.