THE secret is finally out, as we reveal the cream of the Yorkshire food industry - the winners of the Evening Press Eat Local competition.

The campaign, to highlight the sheer range and quality of food that is available "on our doorstep", culminated in a series of awards being presented to businesses in recognition of their efforts to make sure those goods are competing for a place on consumers' tables.

The judging process proved particularly difficult, but yesterday Evening Press assistant editor Bill Hearld announced the judges' decisions, at a ceremony at the paper's head office in Walmgate, York.

The winner in the dairy section was St Helen's Farm, at Seaton Ross, East Yorkshire. The judges were impressed by its very professional set-up, not only on the production side, but also in the way it markets its products. They were so impressed that St Helen's also won the speciality foods section.

In the beef section the victor was Sunny Bank Farm, at Whixley, which mainly concentrates on Aberdeen Angus products.

The judges were impressed by the good awareness displayed of the importance of having a "brand" - in this case Aberdeen Angus.

In the pork section, the victorious business was the Village Pantry, at Raskelf. It wins on the basis of its owner's project to bring the meat of what are now rare breeds of pig to our tables, and including advice on how to cook it.

Noah's Ark Farm, at Wheldrake, was the winner in the vegetables section, with an impressive range of local, mainly home-grown vegetables.

In the drink section, the winner was York Brewery, which was recognised by our readers as a great local beer producer, giving a good showing behind the scenes with every beer drinker's dream - a relaxed, informative brewery tour - and free beer.

M and K Quality Butchers, of Bishopthorpe Road, York, came top in its section - for a traditional butcher - taking pride in gathering its produce from around the region and featuring lambs from its own farm and producing burgers and sausages on site.

The winner in the grocers section was the very impressive Farmer's Cart, at Towthorpe, near York. It is set in excellent surroundings, with a highly attractive and well-stocked shop, plus a car park and pleasant area for children, apparently designed to appeal to youngsters outside, the "cart". There is an excellent range of goods from a number of local sources, and it could provide a genuine alternative to the "usual" shopping venue.

Farmer's Cart was also the winner in the delicatessen section, for the sheer range and quality of its produce.

In the bakers section, the winner was Via Vecchia, in Shambles, York, which our team felt had no rival for taste, style or invention in the local market.

In the greengrocers section the winner was Ainsty Farms Direct, of Green Hammerton, which impressed with its very fresh produce, including excellent strawberries, which were produced near York.

The winning fishmonger was Cross of York, one of the most eye-catching and inviting stalls in the city's Newgate Market, offering a selection of fish and seafood, with staff knowledgeable on the home of their produce, and eager to offer advice and help.

In the drinks section, the winner was York Beer Shop, off Fishergate, York, offering an unrivalled selection of local ales which cannot be found anywhere else in the city.

It also came out as the top cheesemonger, described by a judge as a "treasure trove" of local cheese, each proudly bearing a small hand-written note explaining its precise history and origin.

The winning speciality food retailer was Langthorne's Buffalo Produce, from Brompton, near Northallerton, a highly distinctive business where wild boar live almost side-by-side with water buffalo and deer.

Last, but far from least, the judges had to pick an Eat Local supreme champion, and their choice fell on the Farmer's Cart.

That decision was based partly on all the factors already described while discussing the two categories this business won.

The judges felt this enterprise fulfilled the necessary criteria to be Eat Local champion, by not only having the best food, but by also making sure the wider world knows it has the best food.

Updated: 09:33 Saturday, July 05, 2003