The results are in for the regional Muddy Awards 2024, and for Wiltshire, The Old Forge Cafe and Farm Shop has won the Best farm shop/deli category.

It joins the River Bourne Community Farm, restaurant Allium, florists Fig and Bramble, and the Artisan Wine Company as winners from Salisbury. 

Lulu and Boo Jewellery in Wilton also won in the Women's fashion/accessories category. 

Owner Sam Shipley-Baker, 55, runs The Old Forge, and she was delighted when she received the news.

Sam said: “I was absolutely thrilled. For a little farm shop to achieve that for the whole of Wiltshire is amazing.”

Her son, Kain, and his girlfriend, Rowan, lend a helping hand.

Sam added: “Kain’s been on edge all morning.”  

They found out the news after seeing a social media post, followed by receiving the call.

Salisbury Journal: The Old Forge Cafe and Farm Shop

A few weeks ago, Sam had told the Journal that her late mum had helped her to set up the farm shop, in February last year. She explained that it was “important” to win, “for my mum.”

She told the Journal this week that “she’d be crying!” if she knew.

Sam described The Old Forge as different because of their friendly service.

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She said: “Customers start as strangers - and then become friends. We’re a little farm shop with a big heart.”

One customer, an elderly man who they did not know previously, has become so close to the family that he was invited to their Easter Sunday lunch.

He told them they had changed his life, as he had been lonely after losing his wife.

Salisbury Journal: The Old Forge Cafe and Farm Shop

Something else that makes The Old Forge unique is that it is involved in the Chatty Café Scheme. The national charity was set up to prevent loneliness, and The Old Forge host a ‘chatter and natter’ table every Wednesday.

The chatter and natter table is somewhere people can come along and have chat with other customers - and have a cup of tea or coffee.

As the regional winner, The Old Forge will now go to the national finals, where judges will decide on “the best of the best.” Winners will be announced on Thursday, July 11 2024.

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