A Diss cakemaker who built her home-based business from scratch over the last 15 years has earned a place on the shortlist for the East of England Co-Op’s Producer of the Year Award 2016.
Wendy’s House Cakes has been named as one of the six finalists for the Co-Op’s annual award, which aims to celebrate the best local food and drink across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, at the beginning of next year.
Wendy Baldwin, who has been supplying the Co-Op with hand-crafted cakes and biscuits since 2012, said: “Our business was born in 2000, when I was asked to bake a few cakes for a local farm shop.
“What began as a favour for a friend turned into a hobby that I loved, and as their business grew so did mine.
“For many years Wendy’s House was a project I worked on by myself, alongside raising my three children.
“Eventually, however, it became necessary to employ some help. I have a loyal and hardworking team who are as dedicated to producing high quality produce as I am.”
The business, which strives to source ingredients locally, recently brought on a third member to its team, which Mrs Baldwin says has been a direct result of increased business from its partnership with the Co-Op.
“Nothing brings me more joy than to hear that my cakes, which began as hobby 15 years ago, are now a house hold staple across Norfolk and Suffolk,” she added.
Another business in the Diss Express area - the Hoxne-based free range egg producer Havensfield Happy Hens - was also picked for the final shortlist of six.
Kevin Warden, the Local Sourcing and Fresh Product Manager at the East of England Co-op, said: “I have the privilege of working with these producers every day.
“It’s thanks to them that we’re able to offer our customers over 2,400 locally produced products,
“These awards are a wonderful way for our members and customers to tell us which great-tasting local producers they enjoyed most this year.”
The voting period for the Producer of Year Award 2016, open to the public, will commence on Monday, January 4, 2016, and runs until Sunday, January 31.
After the three county winners are voted on, an expert panel of judges will choose the overall champion, to be announced in March 2016.
To find out more about each of the producers, or to cast your vote, visit www.eastofengland.coop/poy2016