Corkers Crisps up for top rural award for going 'above and beyond'
Gourmet crisp manufacturer Corkers is hoping to win a top rural award ten years after being founded by two best friends.
The business in Little Downham, near Ely, has been nominated for the Best Rural Diversification Project in the Rural Business Awards on February 27 after winning the East regional final.
The award, sponsored by property consultancy Fisher German, recognises farms that have gone "above and beyond".
And Corkers' success has also seen it nominated in the Best Food and Drink category at the awards.
Best friends Ross Taylor and Rod Garnham were inspired to set up the business in 2009 after eating bad crisps on a skiing holiday.
Having grown high-quality Naturalo potatoes - which are perfect for frying - on their farm for many years, the pair thought this was something they could turn their hands to.
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They decided to test their product by sending homemade trial versions off to crisp manufacturers, who thought they were of excellent quality.
Caroline Bosworth, head of business development at Corkers, said: "What started off as a bright idea on a ski trip has grown into a highly successful business which turns over around £10 million.
"The peaty soil of the Fens gives our potatoes a distinctive taste and crunch, making them perfect for crisps.
"We're ever hopeful we can win the national award, but even if we don't, we can't wait to meet the fellow finalists and learn about all the great things they're doing.
Corkers Crisps come in a wide variety of flavours - and even started making crisps out of vegetables like parsnip and beetroot in 2015.
Their products can be found in major outlets such as Waitrose, online on Ocado, and on trains and Easyjet flights.
Rebecca Ruck Keene, head of rural services for the South Central region at Fisher German, praised Corkers Crisps for taking what it already had and turning it into something far greater.
She said: "It's amazing how a bowl of substandard crisps on a skiing holiday resulted in a brilliant example of farm diversification."