"Willow Cottage Nurseries at Eynsham & Farmoor werenamed runner-up in the first National Nursery Food Award 2007/2008 at the BBC Good Food Show.
The award, which was presented by celebrity chef, Paul Rankin, is funded by Dorset company, Organix, winner of the 2007/8 Parent-Friendly Awards. Its Organix founder, Lizzie Vann, says:"Children deserve the very best nutrition in their early years. When children are well-nourished, they have more energy and better learning ability."
According to Vann, Willow Cottage, which is committed to providing a "Second to Mum" environment for babies and toddlers, impressed the judges with its continuing commitment to providing delicious, home-cooked, well-balanced, nutritious meals."The standard is very high indeed," Vann adds.
Willow Cottage directors Neil and Valerie Grady who live in Cumnor were also congratulated by Jeanette Orrey, representing the Soil Association. Jeanette was the former dinner lady who worked with Jamie Oliver now turned school food advisor,
Since Willow Cottage set up its rural Owl’s Leat (Eynsham) and Oxley’s Farm (Farmoor) nurseries in Oxfordshire in 1987, its commitment to providing freshly-prepared, home-made meals for babies and toddlers has gone from strength to strength.
The menus at the nursery are designed and tested by Valerie , who holds a Food Science & Nutrition degree. "The children really enjoy them and are having their ‘5 a day’ and more!" she says. "We are delighted to receive recognition for promoting healthy eating habits during those early years, something we have always been passionate about," Valerie says. "We are also very pleased that Organix and The Soil Association have taken the initiative to create an award which highlights the importance of nursery meals."
Elaine Hedges and Marion Brodeur our Children’s cooks are extremely hard working and passionate about healthy eating from start to finish. They both live in Eynsham.
All Willow Cottage meals are prepared from quality ingredients, low in salt and sugar, and include quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables, home-grown and organic where possible, as well as traditional farmed, additive-free meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.
School meals have been in the spotlight since 2005 when ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair gave the thumbs up to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in his widely-publicised campaign to improve the flagging quality and nutritional value of school dinners in the UK.