THE Best Dairy Producer category celebrates those who make cheese, milk, yoghurt or cream.

All entries had to use Herefordshire produce.

The three finalists are: Kelsmor Dairy, Monkland Cheese Dairy and Rowlestone Farmhouse Ice cream.

Kelsmor Dairy in Garway produces delicious ice cream.

Adam Jones, from the dairy, said: "As proponents of high animal welfare and responsible farming practices we believe we are a good representation of modern British dairy farming.

"The Jones family has believed in providing top quality dairy products for generations by putting our trust in traditional Guernsey cows, who create the rich and creamy milk that makes Kelsmor Ice Cream so uniquely delicious."

They are one of the few ice cream companies who use milk and cream produced entirely by their own herd of cows.

They were also the first in the world to make an ice cream using chuckleberries, a new breed of berry developed and grown in Kington. All of the fresh fruit they put in their ice creams is from Herefordshire; strawberries and raspberries from Windmill Hill Farm, plums and damsons from Little Verzons Farm and blackberries from their own hedgerows.

Monkland Cheese Dairy near Leominster is open to the public so visitors can watch Little Hereford cheese being made traditionally by hand.

Mark Hindle, from the dairy, said: "We revived Ellen Yeld's (chief dairy instructress for the county circa 1918) original Herefordshire cheese recipe in May 1996 and have gone on to develop a further six different cheeses."

They buy their unpasteurised milk from Cawley Farms near Brimfield, six miles from their dairy.

They farm a traditional low input/ low output grass fed system using cross-bred cows who produce great milk for cheese from grass.

Their starter cultures and rennet come from Orchard Dairy in Tenbury Wells.

Their cheeses are pressed using original cast iron presses and then they mature the cheeses on wooden shelves at around 13 degrees Celcius for four to six months.

Rowlestone Farmhouse Ice cream is made in the southwest of the county.

Mark Williams, from the farm, said: "Products embody absolute freshness and provenance with that morning's milk and cream from our cows becoming the main components in that afternoon's ice cream."

Strawberries and raspberries used both in ice cream and sorbet are sourced from Windmill Hill Fruit Farm, blackberries are picked from the farm hedgerows and rhubarb is often sourced from local gardens.

They also use chuckleberries grown in Kington and Crickhowell.

Mark said: "Recipes are weighed out to the nearest gram ensuring consistency then 'blitzed' (with a hand held blender)."

A day's production starts with the simple flavour such as vanilla working through to the more complex.