A farming couple from Devon are celebrating after being crowned the UK's Best Organic Farmer in the Best of Organic Market (BOOM) awards.

Jo and Tim Budden from Higher Hacknell Farm, Devon have a mixed 350-acre organic farm that includes cattle, sheep, crops, poultry and a cider orchard.

Nominations for the Higher Hacknell pair were made for the quality of their produce being “second to none”, employing local people, reducing packaging and food miles and having a farm that is “not only a wildlife haven…but a thriving business”.

Liz Bowles, Associate Director of Farming at the Soil Association and category judge, said: “We awarded Jo and Tim at Higher Hacknell for their long-standing dedication to mixed organic farming, their commitment to excellent animal welfare, fantastic environmental standards and production of consistently great tasting food.

"Jo and Tim are traditional family farmers, farming in harmony with nature and using native breeds. Their impressive organic home delivery website and innovative approach to meat marketing through on farm processing and direct sales also helped to raise them above the other fantastic nominees and finalists in this category, and they are deserving winners of 2019’s Best Organic Farmer award.”

Run by Soil Association Certification, the UK’s largest organic certification body, the BOOM awards ceremony saw organic brands, products and people crowned as the best in their field.

Other farming gongs given out at the BOOM awards ceremony include:

Best of Organic Dairy: Godminster, Vintage Organic Cheddar

• Best of Organic Fresh Produce: Bothen Hill, Organic Asparagus

• Best of Organic Meat & Poultry: Higher Hacknell Farm, Organic Lamb Cutlets

• Best of Organic Box Schemes: Riverford Organic Farmers

Somerset-based Godminster’s Vintage Organic Cheddar was a double award winner, scooping the coveted “Nation’s Favourite” organic product award. Voted for by the public, a tight contest saw Godminster beat more than 300 nominated products to receive the most votes from around 4,000 that were cast.

The finalists for Best Organic Farmer were:

• Martyn Bragg, Shillingford Organics

Nominated for his commitment to organic since 2001, Martyn’s commitment to local enterprises and groups has helped to establish outlets for other local organic producers and to engage children in the growing process and to understand more about how food is produced.

• Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford

Making the case for sustainable and organic farming for nearly 30 years, Guy has consistently helped to raise awareness of the importance of organic, supporting other farmers and providing transparency in all aspects of his business.

• Joe Rolfe, RB Organics

General manager at RB Organics since 2010, Joe was nominated for achieving “the balance in adopting progressive technologies and concepts encompassed within traditional good practice and organic ethics”. Joe has been a pioneer with “facetime a farmer” regularly talking to whole classes of children to explain about vegetable growing and answering their questions.

• Justin Le Gresley, Anneville Farm

Located on Jersey, Justin was nominated for his determination to care for the land and the people who eat his produce and continuing to provide the community with locally grown seasonal vegetables.

Liz Bowles continued: “We were thrilled at the response we had to the Best Organic Farmer category this year and the clear support organic farmers have from their peers, local communities and the public in general. Organic continues to grow in popularity as more people become interested in how their food is produced and want to reduce their diets’ impact on the environment.”

The organic market is booming, with the market worth a record £2.33bn following seven years of sales growth, according Soil Association Certification’s 2019 Organic Market Report.