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Bergh Apton garden centre Green Pastures bags two coveted awards

PUBLISHED: 16:25 25 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:25 25 February 2017

James Debbage and Michelle Evans in their restaurant, Gardeners Kitchen, at Green Pastures, their farm shop and garden centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

James Debbage and Michelle Evans in their restaurant, Gardeners Kitchen, at Green Pastures, their farm shop and garden centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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It’s double celebrations at a Norfolk garden centre after scooping two national awards at the Garden Retail Awards in London this week.

Michelle Evans, James Debbage and their son Harry. Photo: Jeremy Durkin/PA WireMichelle Evans, James Debbage and their son Harry. Photo: Jeremy Durkin/PA Wire

Green Pastures, based in Bergh Apton, near Norwich, have been crowned Garden Centre Outlet of the Year (medium-sized centre category) as well as bagging the Catering Excellence award for the best garden centre based restaurant.

James Debbage, who owns Green Pastures Plant Centre and Farm Shop, along with partner Michelle Evans, was presented with both awards at a glittering awards dinner at Covent Garden in London - which was attended by a whole host of leaders from the gardening industry.

The awards were open to all UK garden centres, nursery growers and garden equipment manufacturers with fellow award winners including well-known names such as Hilliers, Notcutts and Hozelock.

The medium-sized garden centre category was open to garden centres with a turnover between £0.5m and £1.5m.

Judges were wowed by how Green Pastures have braided together their garden centre, farm shop, restaurant and post office. The awards judges cited the business’s recent expansion as a great example to others in the industry.

Ms Evans said: “As most garden centres have a café or restaurant of some kind these days, the catering award was a very highly-contested category and we’re just over the moon to have beaten off some really fierce competition. The judges commented that our restaurant, which we call the Gardeners Kitchen, is ‘just brilliant’, so we’re just bowled over!”

Mr Debbage added: “It’s fantastic to have Green Pastures put so firmly on the UK garden centre map and it’s such a credit to our wonderful hard working team”.

The couple took over Green Pastures in 2009 from Ms Evans’ parents who built the original nursery from scratch.

In 2015 a major building project was completed, transforming their small plant centre and adding a 100 seater restaurant.

Green Pastures is one of the first garden centres in the country to include a Post Office, which serves over 100 customers every day.

A number of crops are grown on the family farm and in the garden centre itself which they use to supply both the farm shop and the restaurant with fresh home grown produce.

The business also supports over 70 different Norfolk and Suffolk based suppliers and has also recently been listed as a national finalist for the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscar awards for farm enterprise.

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