A FAMILY-run artisan sourdough bakery were ‘totally blown away’ when they discovered they'd been named Retailer of the Year at one of the country’s most prestigious food and drink awards.

Lovingly Artisan Bakery also fought off strong competition to scoop the award for Baker of the Year and North England regional winner accolades at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards, NEC Birmingham on April 29.

The award-winning bakery, founded by Aidan Monks and his wife Catherine Connor in 2009, have a shop located on Plumgarth’s, Lakeland Food Park in Kendal, as well as two other sites in Altrincham, Manchester.

They have gone from strength to strength over the years and now also offer a country-wide online service, as well as a weekly bread truck service to the Farmers Market’s in Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale every Thursday.

The duo specialise in using organic grains to produce healthy nourishing artisan sourdough bread.

“We are a humble little bakery, so to win these awards against the scope of businesses we were up against was really something else,” said Aidan.

“There’s been an enormous amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes in order for us to achieve this. It’s not just the bread that we make, it is all of the other elements of the business that we consider very carefully.

“We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the hard work and dedication of our team. They are really enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.”

A team of leading experts judged the entries online before coming together last November to shortlist the contenders. Secret visits then took place during January and February, before the winners were decided.

Mrs Connor remarked: “We’re all totally blown away! We didn’t expect to win any awards, but to come away with three demonstrates just how exceptional every member of our team is.

“These Awards are one of the biggest in the food and drink industry, so to come away with the overall title is absolutely amazing.

“For us the customer journey is extremely important. You can have the best products in the world, but if you don’t get the customer experience right from the start, people will simply vote with their feet.”

The judges praised the business highly, with comments including: “This excellent bakery has innovation with its new wood chip oven which has increased turnover, and, because of this, they have a good carbon footprint.

“It’s lovely to see crusty loaves of bread on display in their shops.”

You can purchase bread from Lovingly Artisan by clicking here - https://lovinglyartisan.com/shop/