A SOMERSET mum has won a prestigious food award for making one of Britain's best jams - using fruit and veg rejected by supermarkets for being "too ripe".

Kerry Dodd, 52, began her preserves business Hembridge Organics as a commercial fruit grower - selling customers organic produce grown locally.

But Kerry soon realised that farmers selling their produce to supermarkets would have much of their fruit and veg discarded - for being too ripe or too large for their shelves.

The determined mum-of-one took it upon herself to prove that delicious food can be made from produce discarded by supermarkets as imperfect.

And, three years on, Hembridge Organics boasts nine different flavours of jams and chutneys.

Kerry has now just beaten supermarket competition to win an award for her raspberry jam.

Mum-of-one Kerry, of East Pennard, said: "Growers were having to throw away perfectly good food.

It's called Class 2 fruit and veg - if growers have a product that's too purple, or too large, or a bit mis-shapen, to go in their boxes, they'll sell it to me.

"I buy their excess produce, give the growers extra money, and get good quality ingredients.

"I use only Soil Association certificated produce in our preserves, and everything I do in the kitchen is approved by them.

"For example, they only let us use sugar or lemons to preserve with.

"It can take a lot longer, as we don't use the thickeners or pectin that you sometimes see in the list of ingredients on jam or chutney jars, to produce it quickly.

"I have to boil it all down myself - and with the chutneys it takes ages."

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HARD AT WORK: Kerry in the kitchen. PICTURE: SWNS

She added: "I am not a natural cook - so I turned to my other half for help.

"He had always made his own cider, beer and mead, and I thought, surely making jams and chutneys was not that much different? Well, maybe.

"After much alchemy, tweaking tastings, tears, and tantrums, Hembridge Organics now boasts nine delicious flavours.''

The jam-maker, who lives with husband Jay, a gardener, and their 14-year-old son, has a background in retail as a sales and marketing manager.

Kerry runs the jam-making business from her own kitchen, and buys from organic producers across Somerset - importing only oranges for her marmalade.

But it is Kerry's delicious raspberry jam that has won her the Soil Association's Boom Award for Best Sweet Preserve, and for Best of Organic Pantry.

The awards were held earlier this month, and Kerry said: "I was at the awards in London thinking what am I doing here with all these big boys?

"I was really just there as a chance to network with other names I know from the organic industry.

"When they announced the winner, Hembridge Organics, my brother had to prompt me to go up.

"He said 'that's you you silly mare, get up'. I couldn't believe we'd won."

Other flavours created by Hembridge Organics are: gooseberry jam, plum and brandy jam, Seville Marmalade, Whisky Marmalade, Autumn chutney, Alehouse chutney, and Somerset salsa.

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