Ten years ago the Dawes family from Foxbury Farm proudly opened their first farm shop in West Oxfordshire.
It was created from an old farm building, large enough to contain a modern butchery as well the usual shop fittings. Despite being situated in the middle of the countryside, off the A40, where cattle and sheep graze happily on lush pastures and tubby little spotted piglets squawk around their pens, Foxbury Farm is situated just a few miles from Brize Norton. Aircraft circle over their land while visitors entering the farm gate are greeted by Marley the Cockerel, and sheep dogs who sit lazily beside the door waiting to be called to work.
During the time that their shop has been open to the public, the Dawes family has successfully managed to balance the best of the new, while honouring sound traditional farming methods that enrich the environment. They have also done a great deal to raise money for the community with their amazing and sometimes wacky fundraising ventures. Money collected from selling their manure by the barrowful and providing dog bones in return for a small donation helps the village church roof repair fund and other local charities. They have even run craft fairs, which not only raised more funds but provided gifted local craftspeople with an outlet for their talents.
Indeed, during the past ten years they have both provided a well-stocked farm shop and brought life to the area.
By 2009, their original shop proved too small to contain not just the butchers but more than 100 different local products they stocked. A larger purpose-built shop was necessary. Thanks to, the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE, run by Defra and the EU) who part-funded this enterprising venture, a new shop was built in the farmyard. It now boasts the largest display of local meat in Oxfordshire.
If you ask Colin how many awards the farm and the shops have won, he will scratch his head and, with a laugh, admit that its quite a lot. Actually, he says, there was a time when he spent more time changing into his DJ for the award ceremonies (of which there were at least 30) than his working gear.
All this sounds very positive but there comes a time when winning awards is not enough and getting up early to collect vegetables from the Vale of Evesham, and going to bed late after delivering food boxes around the county is no longer as satisfying as it was. Colin is a farmer born and bred. He is happiest striding round the farms 600 acres of grass and arable land, where 120 sucker cows graze and 450 ewes keep him busy during lambing season. Finally, there came a moment when farming won over trading and valued customers received a letter from Colin which included an invitation to the shops tenth birthday party.
It read: When I first thought about opening a farm shop my passion was to combine my love of farming with selling my own meat and local food to people across Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.My vision has always encompassed taking stock of where we are after ten years retailing. With our son Stuart just about to complete his second year at university and our daughter Rebecca returning to events management work we recently sat down as a family and had that discussion.
Colin went on to explain that as the shop was really establishing itself as a local food centre in the area, they felt it was time for the business to move into a new era, whether in food education, tourism, leisure or associations with other businesses. They are, therefore, putting the property on the market. He stresses that they will not be shutting the shop, but it is time that they move on and achieve new goals. Most of all he wants to return to being a full-time farmer and find personal time for the family and maybe get to watch a whole game of rugby during the weekend without interruption. This is why loyal customers and producers received a letter inviting them to join him tomorrow for the farm shops official tenth birthday party.
This will be followed on Sunday by the annual farm open day, with sheep shearing demonstrations, tractor and trailer rides, cookery demonstrations, tractor rides weaving and spinning demonstrations. There will also be an art and craft marquee with more than 44 stalls selling hand-crafted products, home-made cakes and jewellery. Obviously, Colin will be serving rolls filled with roast Gloucester Old Spot pork and lashings of apple sauce and crunchy crackling. The Dawes familys decision to move on now is courageous, but be assured farmers like Colin do not just vanish they have far too much to offer.
For further details about the party and the annual farm open day go to www.foxbury farm.co.uk.
By Helen Peacocke Oxford Times
It is already the countrys largest food festival, with more than 1,000 events showing off the best food and drink Norfolk has to offer.
But despite its ever-increasing popularity, the EDP Bidwells Norfolk Food Festival remains a well-kept secret outside of this county.
Now, as organisers launch the 2011 event today, they say their aim is to make it a destination festival which will show off our top-class produce to a much wider audience.
Last year the attraction, which began seven years ago, became a month-long spectacular.
From the Moveable Feast in aid of Parkinsons UK to the Big Norfolk Food Debate held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, it involved 300 companies and stretched right across the county.
It is already the biggest and best food festival in the country, said chairman Richard Woolliams, who said the festival had now been set up as a not-for-profit company.
But we only know that in this county. We want to promote it across the country and encourage people to come to Norfolk to visit during the five weekends of events weve got planned.
Although hundreds of dinners, debates and delicious activities will take place throughout the month, the festival which will run from Friday, September 2, until Sunday October 2 will be focused around five main events aimed at drawing in tourists from across the UK.Intended to show the diverse range of food and drink found around Norfolk, they will take place on successive weekends, kicking off with the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall on September 3 and 4.
That event, which will take place for the second time this year, is already expanding with an estimated 60 stallholders set to show their wares in the stately homes stunning courtyard.
The following weekend September 10 and 11 will see Norwich city centre host a number of events including a food fair, city farm and the popular Battle of the Bangers contest.
Then on September 17 and 18 a new event will celebrate the best of West Norfolk and Brecklands bounty.
Organised by Strattons Hotel director Vanessa Scott, the weekend will be based in Swaffham and will include a series of fun events like chicken racing and cooking competitions on the Saturday and a large food and cookery fair in the market place on Sunday.
Mrs Scott said the area was brimming with produce from game to asparagus and wild indigenous fruits. She added: Weve got a great larder out there and we want to celebrate those foods.
They havent been appreciated the way they should be. The problem is we havent really crowed about it enough but we really hope to do that at this festival.
The weekend of September 24 and 25 will see festival organisers and Produced In Norfolk encouraging visitors to get out and explore the areas many farmers markets and farm shops, with a number of PIN members holding special open farm and taster event
And the festival finale, on October 1 and 2, will once again be the annual Aylsham Food Festival which will showcase the towns slow food philosophy.
Mr Woolliams said: There is a different flavour to each of those weekends so there should be something that appeals to everyone.
Other events already confirmed include the annual Tallest Jelly Competition and the new Great Norfolk Taste Test, which will run through the summer and during the festival, giving people the chance to pit local produce against the rest of the UKs food and drink.
Organisers want to ensure there are many more events and activities for local people and visitors to explore as part of the month-long celebration and are calling on Norfolks producers, hotels, restaurants and pubs to get involved.
Mr Wooliams said he wanted even more events this year: We do this to promote Norfolk, Norfolk produce and the talent we have in the county. Every year it gets bigger and better.
To get involved:
Visit the website at www.norfolkfoodfestival.co.uk
By Victoria Leggett www.edp24.co.uk
The spring heatwave has led to an early strawberry harvest at a Kent farm.
The summer fruit has started cropping two weeks earlier than usual at Hugh Lowe Farms in Mereworth and is already being sold in supermarkets and farm shops, and served in restaurants and hotels.
"We are lucky here at Hugh Lowe Farms that we farm some of the earliest fruiting slopes in the country, so our strawberries are always among the first to hit the shelves," said farm owner Marion Regan.
"However, this year has proved to be an exceptional one, thanks to sunnier than usual months in March and April.
"If the weather stays as it is, and there are no indications of any major changes in this warm and sunny trend, then this could prove to be a bumper year."
The strawberries were also served to children at Mereworth Primary School's Royal Wedding Street party. Now the farm, sole supplier to Wimbledon for the past 20 years, is gearing up for another bumper fortnight at the world's premier grass court tournament.
Hugh Lowe Farms is a family-owned farming company established more than 115 years ago. It is now one of the largest soft fruit businesses in the UK, employing 41 full-time staff and 450 seasonal workers
Article by: www.kentonline.co.uk
MORRISONS is facing a trademark battle over the FreshDirect name after applying to register the brand for its long-awaited online food shopping business.
Earlier this year Bradford-based Morrisons paid £32m for a 10 per cent stake in New York online grocer FreshDirect, one of the few profitable online food operations in the world, with the aim of launching a similar operation in the UK.
But its plans to use the name in the UK could be scuppered after it emerged that an Oxford-based food supplier called Fresh Direct is objecting to Morrisons attempts to register the trademark.
Bicester-based Fresh Direct has been using the name since 1995 and has registered the two words within its logo. It also applied the register the name last year.
David Burns, managing director of Fresh Direct, said: “I would want to see Morrisons’ logo design first, but we would still object.”
Morrisons said no decisions have been made yet about the branding of the online business, which is still two years off launching.
While it is too early to say what name the group will use for its online food operation, Morrisons said the move to register the FreshDirect trademark was a prudent one as FreshDirect is a partner.
Fresh Direct started as a small company selling fruit and vegetables from the back of a mobile Austin 3 van in Bicester in 1966.
It is now one of the UK’s leading suppliers of fresh produce to the food service industry, selling more than 800 different types of fruit and vegetables.
New York-based FreshDirect forms part of Morrisons’ plans to catch up with its rivals with the launch of an online food operation in 2013.
The main focus will initially be on London, but if the model can work it will be extended across the country.
As part of the deal, a top team from Morrisons will work alongside the New York-based FreshDirect team learning how to run the operation.
Morrisons’ chief executive Dalton Philips said the group had decided to take this route after 17 management consultants presented their ideas on the best way to launch an online food service.
When asked if any of them had successfully launched a profitable online food operation, all 17 said no.
Morrisons then cast its net around the world and settled on FreshDirect as the most likely to match its needs. Both companies have a strong focus on fresh foods.
Mr Philips promised that Morrisons’ online food offer will be totally different to rivals such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, which he claimed are yet to make a profit.
“If you want a four-inch topside steak and your partner wants a three-inch fillet, you will be able to order it for the next day,” he said.
Morrisons’ finance director Richard Pennycook added: “Online food retail is a long and hard journey.
“We’re going to learn from FreshDirect and leapfrog all that pain that the others have been through. We don’t believe anyone in the UK has cracked it.”
Morrisons recently announced plans to trial its new convenience store format “M Local” in the affluent town of Ilkley as part of a drive to attract a more upmarket audience.
The supermarket chain will open the M Local on the former Bradford College site on Bolton Bridge Road in July, the first of a three-store trial of its new convenience store format.
The decision to locate the store in Ilkley, one of Yorkshire’s most wealthy areas, is part of Morrisons’ plans to test the concept with a more upmarket audience than the average Morrisons store attracts.
Mr Philips is keen to explore a wide range of ideas. Over the past year, he has trialled a number of new innovations at three “lab” stores, in York, Kirkstall, and Shrewsbury.
These include adding a sense of theatre to the shopping experience. Fishmongers in the York store now set up their displays in front of customers rather than having it all ready when the store opens at 8am.
Mr Philips expects 2011 to remain tough for consumers.
“The consumer is feeling a real squeeze on the household budget,” he said. “Households have £100 less a month than last year, budgets are getting squeezed.”
Despite this the group estimates there are 6.8 million households, out of a total of 23 million, which do not have easy access to a Morrisons store. The group has strengthened its property acquisition team to speed up expansion.
Article from http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk
Kentish asparagus has sprouted a couple of weeks earlier this year – thanks to the warm weather the county has been enjoying.
Groombridge-based grower Stephen Barnes said the early start would prolong the season but could put the plants under more stress later in the year.
The delicious spring shoots, which are a great source of various vitamins and dietry fibre, thrive in the mild south east and are available now in farm shops and supermarkets.
Mr Barnes, of Birchden Farm, said: "It’s a very short season so people should come and get it fresh and direct from the growers because the fresher it is the better it tastes."
He said the season usually lasted about eight weeks, which usually runs from May to June. But because of the early start this year it could stretch for another week, he added: "People should not be afraid to over-indulge while it’s available."
Healthy asparagus is low in calories, fat, carbohydrate, sodium and is cholesterol free. It contains vitamins A, B1, C and E.
According to British-asparagus.co.uk our homegrown harvest is hailed by leading chefs as the best in the world. It is also known to help fight cancer, protect against heart disease and boost the immune system.
It is also said to even boost your sex drive. The vegetable was claimed to ‘stir up lust in man and woman’ by a herbalist called Nicholas Culpepper in the 1600s and debate surrounding the aphrodisiac qualities of various foods has continued ever since.
Explaining the early harvest this year, Mr Barnes said: "Asparagus responds well to temperature particularly when the soil reaches 15C – it starts to grow very quickly. Because we’ve had a run of good weather in the last two to three weeks and the sun was exceptionally hot the soil temperature rose and we started early."
He added: "It’s good because the season starts earlier and last for a longer period but it could put the plants under more stress later in the year."
Experts warn not to over-cook asparagus, which can be steamed in three to four minutes. It is traditionally eaten with your fingers.
Growers say the big freeze before Christmas and the warm, dry spring are behind the early appearance of the vegetable. Kentish asparagus is available now from farmers’ markets around the county including Tunbridge Wells, Penshurst and West Malling.
Article from www.kentnews.co.uk
LOCAL food will be firmly on the menu for shoppers in Chipping Sodbury with the news that a bigger farmers market will be held twice a month in the town.
Sodbury Town Council has granted the Chamber of Trade the licence to hold farmers markets at the Pitchings in the town with effect from Saturday, June 11.
The chamber aims to considerably increase the size of the market and hold it on the second and forth Saturday of each month.
Members of the chamber hope the market will become a thriving part of the local economy and in turn bring more people to Sodbury to shop.
Mark Lloyd, chairman of the chamber of trade, said: "It is our aim to provide more choice from quality local producers.
"We plan to increase the number of producers involved with the market and to offer shoppers regular featured demonstrations and workshops.
"The hope is obviously to increase footfall into the town, which will be good for everyone."
He said that the he had received a few comments from a minority of traders concerned about added competition, but Mr Lloyd said he believes the benefit of more people visiting the town would outweigh this issue.
"Our aim is not to swamp the market with lots of butchers or lots of vegetables stalls but to get a good mix of producers. There will always be competition but all the shops and cafes should benefit from the town having a thriving market," added Mr Lloyd.
Concerns had been raised by the current organiser of the farmers market, Jim Wilkie, who said allowing more stalls could affect the quality of the market.
However the chamber is planning to run the market as a FARMA accredited event, which involves meeting strict criteria on who can gain a stall.
by By Claire Marshall
10 years young - Lincoln Farmers' Market celebrated a decade of providing local food in the city.
The market held in medieval uphill area of Lincoln with spectacular views of both the Cathedral and Castle enjoyed beautiful April sunshine and crowds of people who were keen to buy their food in this most natural and historic way. With locally produced meats, cheeses, breads and vegetables on offer the market catered for all your needs.
Awareness of the Co-operative Movement is increasing at a rapid rate. From high profile media coverage of how community ownership holds the answer to the problem of declining rural services to primetime television adverts publicising the Co-operative Revolution, our Movement is becoming increasingly recognised as a viable answer to some of the problems posed by the current austerity measures facing communities.
Despite this increased awareness, however, there is still a long way to go in understanding the practicalities that make community enterprises work. As part of a drive to encourage more communities to embrace community ownership, the Plunkett Foundation is working with Co-operatives UK to promote best legal and governance practice as part of a national programme to support community food enterprises.
The Making Local Food Work programme has already supported over 900 community food enterprises to help over 1.4 million people gain better access to locally-produced food. In a sector that encourages enterprising and innovative approaches to community involvement, how do they work practically to become the widespread success story of the sector that they are today?
Co-operatives UK and Making Local Food Work collaborate to provide free training and advice to enterprises like Yorkshire-based community-owned shop Green Valley Grocer. Green Valley Grocer is an award-winning community shop based in the heart of the Colne Valley, near Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire. Advised by Co-operatives UK as part of Making Local Food Work, they raised funding through a community share issue to reopen their valuable rural service and provide a real hub in the community.
Community shares enable all members of the community to have a say in the running of the business, and through wider engagement of the community in this way the venture is sure to receive widespread support. After registering as Slaithwaite Co-operative Ltd, Green Valley Grocer collaborated with local artisan bakers The Handmade Bakery to share premises and extend their services to the community. They were advised throughout the process by Co-operatives UK which has provided training on issues like good governance and legal structures.
Their far-reaching success has also meant they are able to play a leading role in the development of the community food sector through Making Local Food Work’s new Local Food Systems project, which is working with food groups across the country to find the best means of providing a sustainable local food system through co-operation.
Another community to reap the benefits of good governance guidance is Gawsworth in Cheshire, which this month celebrated the official opening of their community-owned shop after a long battle to save it from closure.
After the threat of losing such a vital service, the community came together to raise the second-highest amount ever through community shares of over £60,000. They were assisted in their registration as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community (IPS BenCom) by Co-operatives UK, and in doing so made sure each member of the community had a fair and democratic say in the running of the shop.
By being a part of the Making Local Food Work programme, Co-operatives UK has played a role in helping the 900 community food enterprises across the UK that the programme has supported, and has helped increase access to local food for over 1.4 million people.
The programme, due to end in 2012, can still provide help to any community food enterprise wishing to take advantage of free help and support, from a community-owned shop to a food buying group.
Article By By Katherine Darling www.thenews.coop
AMID the whiff of honeycakes, chocolate and chilli mayonnaise, there was a delicious kind of concoction going on at York Racecourse yesterday.
It was the marriage of more than 60 buyers like supermarkets, big stores, hotels, farm shops and restaurants with more than 80 of Yorkshire’s niche food suppliers.
Clutching a bottle of Glendale Ginger Beer made in Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales, buyer Joanna Joyce-Gray said: “This has been a very happy hunting ground.”
Joanna, operations director of Weetons urban farm shop, in Harrogate, said: “It’s great to have all the Yorkshire producers in one room.
“It can take months to get around to them geographically – if you can find them at all.”
Among the producers was Simon Barratt, the Chilli Jam Man, who is moving from Leeds to Thixendale, near Stamford Bridge, next week. His collaboration with another North Yorkshire producer, Yorkshire Cold Press Rapeseed Oil, to produce Chille Jamonnaise, has proved a big hit with buyers even before it comes on to the market in June.
Event organisers, deliciouslyorkshire, had helped him to develop the dip with its blend of garlic chille and mayonnaise with rapeseed oil. “I’ve already had orders from farm shops,” he said.
Supermarkets, delicatessens and farm shops also beamed in on Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods, also of Thixendale, which specialises in raspberry gin, sloe gin and damson gin.
Managing director Julia Julia Medforth said: “We also do a blackcurrant whisky, gamekeeper’s whisky, Stirrup Cup Port and now – unique to us – sloe port and sloe sherry.
“The supermarkets seemed very interested in that.” Other North Yorkshire producers included Ampleforth Abbey Orchard; Basically Baking and Hambleton Ales of Ripon; Birchfield Family Dairies and Farmshop, of Harrogate; GF Foods, of Selby; Herbs Unlimited and Taste Tradition of Thirsk; and Holme Farmed Venison of Sherburn-in-Elmet.
Article from http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has challenged UK food producers to nominate the next 50 products to benefit from the Protected Food Name scheme.
The status identifies regional and traditional foods whose authenticity can be guaranteed, while the named product is also given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.
Last week, the traditional Cumberland sausage gained the 44th British Protected Food Name and the number is expected to hit 50 by the end of the year.
For foods which achieve the coveted stamp of approval, the scheme can turn them into a Europe-wide household name and bring commercial benefits for the producers, according to ADAS which handles all UK applications.
While the scheme, which launched in 1993, was once better known for continental produce like Parma ham and Champagne, the UK is now punching above its weight with an increasing number of foods making the list, but products from the East of England are still yet to feature.
No products specifically linked to Norfolk are even currently going through the two-year application process, although Fenland celery and the Newmarket sausage are awaiting the accreditation.
However, traditional farm fresh turkey and the traditionally farmed Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, both familiar sights in Norfolk, have already been recognised in terms of their rearing methods and not their geographic origin, while cask conditioned ale, British free range goose, traditional pasture reared beef and watercress are among others still at the application stage.
In a bid to spur more nominations, Caroline Spelman, secretary of state for the environment, called on Eastern growers and rearers to put their beloved products on the European food map.
“The foods of Britain are strongly representative of their local areas – we don’t think of a British pork pie, but one from Melton Mowbray. These regional identities have been built over generations of painstaking dedication to producing iconic foods, and they deserve to be celebrated and protected,” she said.
“Nearly 40 more British foods are in the process of applying but we know that there are many distinctive local foods out there which may benefit from protection. So it’s time to look for the next 50 products.
“In the East of England, there aren’t any foods which have won this protection yet – but I know there are lots of fantastic local foods including Maldon sea salt, Norfolk black turkey and Cromer crab. These local foods deserve recognition.”
The status is open to foods produced, processed and prepared within a named geographical area and with features linked to that area. It is also open to foods that are produced with traditional methods and have unique features which distinguish them from other similar products but does not have to be tied down to a specific location.
But the criteria used to protect names has come into criticism, famously with the case of Stilton blue cheese when dairies applied that it had to be made with pasteurised milk. So when a cheesemaker started making it with raw milk, as was the original way, he was barred from calling it Stilton.
There was further furore when a cheesemaker named their cheese Yorkshire feta after the Greeks had claimed the name as their own. The maker was forced to change the cheese’s name to Fine Fettle Yorkshire Cheese.
Despite the occasional controversy, those who work to promote Norfolk’s independent food producers have thrown their backing behind the scheme.
With the county’s vast collection of cheeses, renowned sea food and real ales, they said there are many opportunities for Norfolk to make its presence known on the protected name list.
Jane Miller, managing director of Produced in Norfolk, a producer’s co-operative which works to promote the distinctiveness of the area, said: “I think it’s excellent. Anything that helps the public to recognise where the product genuinely comes from is a good thing.”
She added: “We get a lot of people pretend their product is made in Norfolk through some really tenuous links, like just bottling it in Norfolk and then using the word Norfolk to sell it.
“The public genuinely believe these products are made within Norfolk.”
The scheme has also been endorsed by Tastes of Anglia, the region’s food and drink marketing group, which has been actively encouraging its members to submit nominations.
Pat Graham, of Peele’s Norfolk Black Turkeys, at Thuxton, which has traditionally reared the revered turkeys for more than 130 years, said she supported anything that recognised the true characteristics of the unique breed and promoted its survival.
“What’s now happening is that the birds are being crossed with the white birds because the Black itself is slightly smaller. The birds have been crossed but it’s still sold with the Norfolk Black label on it. It dilutes its (the Black) various characteristics,” she said.
“A true Norfolk Black has its own flavour, it’s a kind of a nutty flavour. It’s pipe grained to give a moist meat and doesn’t break away and dry up like other birds.”
Cromer crab fisherman John Davies said recognition for the emblematic north Norfolk food would help local businesses.“You do get times when we haven’t started fishing at Cromer and you will see a sign somewhere for fresh Cromer crab. Especially when it says fresh, that’s when it makes your blood boil,” he said.
“I’m sure the Cromer crab name does help sell crabs and Cromer as a whole. It doesn’t matter who you speak to, you say Cromer and they will say Cromer crab. It’s something everyone knows and it definitely helps the industry and even Norfolk as a whole.”
To suggest local foods you think worthy of a Protected Food Name, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Local food- the next 50’.Article from www.edp24.co.uk
A guide is being launched in Hawick providing information on where to buy and eat food produced in the Borders.
The booklet, aimed at getting people to use local produce, is published by the group A Greener Hawick with backing from the Climate Challenge Fund.
The guide features details of businesses in the Hawick area and beyond which focus on Borders goods.
Danielle Grunberg, of A Greener Hawick, said using local food was good for everyone involved.
"With local food you are actually celebrating the bounty we have on our doorstep," she said.
"We do have these local shops and it's really important to support the shops and support the local economy."
Ms Grunberg said recent bad weather had shown just how quickly supermarket shelves could be emptied.
"If we can actually produce food locally, in small shops and with people growing their own in allotments it would be fantastic because then we are sure we have enough to eat," she added.
Article from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-12803863
WELL-travelled Worcester News readers can help ensure the county’s finest food champions get their just desserts.
In arguably the most eagerly contested category in this year’s Worcestershire Welcome Awards, readers are being urged to vote for the individual or businesses working with food and drink who they believe is a champion of local produce.
This can range from restaurants and roadside cafes to the county’s long tradition of farm shops, often to be found dotted along the highways running the length of the Vale of Evesham.
The category is tailored to firms which have not only managed to source, and advertise Worcestershire-grown produce, but to make it pay as a successful business.
Last year’s winner, Guy Ward, of the Orchard Cafe in Wildwood Drive, Worcester, said sticking with local produce had kept customers coming back.
“Out of all the things we do; organic, free range, homemade and locally produced, the local produce element is the closest to my heart,” he said.
“We’ve got fantastic resources here and are really lucky where we live that there is so much great stuff out there.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to have a business in this area, to support local produce with such great suppliers.”
He said customers were more concerned than ever about where produce came from, and he was often able to point them to suppliers based within a few miles of the cafe.
“We didn’t do it because it became fashionable with chefs like Jamie Oliver going on about knowing where food comes from,” he said.
“We did it because we knew we had great produce, and people were willing to pay for it.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Elspeth Robertson runs the Wayside Farm Shop at Wickhamford, near Evesham. She gives suppliers and producers a forum in which to sell their produce, and runs a successful chutney and preserves business alngside.
“We buy from local growers, and people keep coming back – we’ve been here 12 years,” she said.
“We stock local soft fruit and vegetables, dairy – milk, cheese and eggs, and also cakes. It is very much about buying locally and supporting those growers.”
For details on how to vote visit visitworcestershire.org or submit the voting form found in the link below.
RAIL passengers on the scenic Weymouth to Bristol line will get a treat when they are served free food and drink on the train today.
In a change to the rail buffet, volunteers from the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership will be handing out samples of local produce including Fudges biscuits, House of Dorchester chocolates and cheeses from the county town’s Fridge delicatessen.
The Heart of Wessex’s Local Food Train is part of a nationwide event organised by the Department for Transport and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACORP).
Community rail supporters Andy Hutchings of Weymouth and Terry Putnam and Peter Meech of Upwey will be among the volunteers handing out the food on the 8.47am First Great Western from Weymouth to Bristol Temple Meads and the 11.49am train from Bristol to Dorset.
Article from www.dorsetecho.co.uk
People all over Bradford will be donning red noses and doing something funny for money tomorrow in support of Comic Relief.
Events are planned at schools, community centres and workplaces across the district in aid of the campaign, which helps transform the lives of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.
An all-day pyjama party will take place at Keelham Farm Shop in Thornton, with customers bold enough to arrive in their nightwear offered a discount on their shopping.
Victoria Robertshaw, a partner and director at shop, said: “Customers need not worry about feeling out of place, as our managers are themselves donning ‘onesies,’ the latest all-in-one sleep- wear craze. It promises to be great fun – perhaps with one or two red faces as well as red noses!”
Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley is investing 3m to expand its business, creating 80 new jobs.
The farm, which has welcomed visitors since 1989, is hoping to invest in new attractions which include a children's high ropes course, drop slides and a restaurant.
The money has been raised from a bank loan and the sale of matured assets.
Managing Director Robert Nicholson said: "We already employ around 120 staff and I'm confident that will eventually increase to roughly 200 and will hopefully mean we can offer more professional jobs within the range.
"Although we know there are challenges ahead, it's a very exciting time in the history of our business."
The farm is also hoping to build on its award winning butchers by building a new farm shop which will incorporate a new bakery and smoke house. Plans are also in place for a new gift shop, restaurant and farm entrance.
Each year the farm rears over 750 lambs, produces 400 ewes and 800 piglets. However, the farm puts down its success and longevity to the tourist attractions which bring people to the estate:
"Without that we wouldn't be here today," said Mr Nicholson.
"Our brief and aim is to make this the very best farm shop in England."Article from BBC Local News
TV stars the Hairy Bikers say making sausages at a farm shop in the Teesdale area was a highlight if their food tour of Britain.
Simon King and Dave Myers, from the BBC show The Hairy Bikers, filmed at Mainsgill Farm Shop and Tea Room in April for their new series, called The Food Tour of Britain.
Andrew Henshaw, who runs the business with wife Maria, said the Hairy Bikers tried their hand at making the farms popular Black Porkie sausages pork sausages mixed with black pudding.
Mr Henshaw said: They were absolutely marvellous and truly crackers. We taught them how to make sausages, but we turned up the machine so when they tried it theirs came out more like black pudding.
It took them a while to see what was happening but they had a good laugh.
The Hairy Bikers have been on the road for two years, touring the world in search of culinary delights. They have returned to the UK for the latest series.
The shows producer contacted Mainsgill after hearing about the farms award-winning sausages.
They were meant to come for just a few hours, but ended up staying all day. They looked around the farm, asked about our exotic animals and had lunch here. We were chuffed to bits.
On their website, they said the visit was the climax of the tour. To have a remark like that is just wonderful. We cant wait to watch it on TV, said Mr Henshaw.
The Black Porkie sausages contain a secret ingredient, but it wasnt revealed on the programme.
The Hairy Bikers could smell it and knew what it was, but the secret is staying under wraps, said Mr Henshaw.
The bikers have said they want to return to Mainsgill to refine their butchery skills.
Perhaps thats just as well their heavy-handed approach raised a few eyebrows, and smiles, at the farm.
Mr Henshaw laughed: They came on a Monday, when we were absolutely snowed under with work.
My wife, Maria, was busy and they grabbed hold of her, saying Oo-er, missus and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She went bright red.
Presenter Dave said filming the series has been great fun. What weve found is that food in Britain is going bonkers. People are more concerned now with what theyre eating, he said.
Fellow biker Simon added: Weve spent two-and-a-half years going around the world investigating other peoples cultures. We wanted to get back to our roots and celebrate the food culture we have in Britain.
Its just as much an exploration of wonderment for us as it is for the viewers to discover all these local foods. The presenter hopes the series will give local producers a well-deserved boost and convince shoppers there is good value to be found outside major supermarkets.
He said: Its a simple equation. The more we buy from local producers, the more successful they will be. We need more market-places and they can be in supermarkets where artisan producers can sell.
Thats how it should be, with your local supermarket selling local farmers meat, dairy produce, eggs and bread. And if the producer can produce more it will get cheaper.
David added: The British can and do produce some of the best products in the world.
We hope that the series will be really inspirational for anyone remotely interested in food lets get out there and feast!Article from Teesdale Mercury
Farmshop.uk.com enjoyed a very successful week at this years BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham. The show was well attended with an incredible amount of interest being shown in the newly launched farm shop web site. The comments received were all very positive and the general view was the site was both informative and easy to navigate around.
The show had something for everybody with the BBC Theatre proving to be very popular with demonstrations from Gordon Ramsay, James Martin, John Torode and the Hairy Bikers to mention just a few.
The interest in locally produced food continues to grow which has increased farmshop.uk.coms determination to make sure people can find the nearest supplier of quality, local produce by typing in their postcode.
A big thank you to everybody to visited us on our stand and if you entered the Free Prize Draw may we wish you luck when it is drawn on the 30th June 2008.
Pick-your-own strawberry farms are under threat because customers eat much more than they pay for. Farmers say customers spend hours in the fields but ask to pay for just a handful of fruit. Eating had always been part of the fun but growers said over-indulgence was now costing them up to 10,000 per season.
Some owners have planted fruits such as redcurrent and blackcurrant that do not attract the same level of testing.
Mark Spight, who owns Hacker's Fruit Farm in Dry Drayton, Cambs said "One woman came up to the counter covered in juice but handed over a punnet with four strawberries in"
Jane Willmot 51, the owner of Soft Fruit Farm in Hardwick, Northhants, said "It is as if the public read 'something-for-nothing' instead of 'pick-your-own'."
Kate Gooding, of Fosseway Fruits, near Bath, said "It's as though some people don't know how to behave at a pick-your-own farm any more."
Article by Lucy Cockcroft and Andy Bloxham. Provided by The Daily Telegraph
The latest health news suggests you really should have your grape and eat it.
Studies show that flavanoids found in the skin and seeds of dark and purple grapes can have serious health benefits in both their grape and wine form.
Red and dark grapes can lower your risk of developing the blood clots that lead to heart attacks, reduce bad cholesterol, prevent damage to blood vessels in the heart and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
But before you start guzzling the merlot guilt-free, remember that grapes are best in their raw form as too much alcohol can damage your liver, pancreas and nerve cells and has been linked with many other serious illnesses like breast cancer.
Grapes are a great snack instead of fatty chocolate bars, and are sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving says Amanda Ursell, our resident nutritionist.
For the summer, grapes can be freeze-dried and eaten as a snack and they make a lovely accompaniment to a small block of cheese for a treat.
Some grape juices contain lots of sugar, so always choose lighter options - or eat the fruit fresh for full benefits.
Article from The Sun
Farmshop.uk.com are proud to announce that we are sponsoring the Great British Food Festival at this years BBC Good Food Summer Show at the NEC from Wednesday 11th through to the Sunday 15th of June 2008.
At the Great British Food Festival you’ll discover producers that you probably wouldn’t know about – even if they are right on your doorstep! So if you’re a food lover and keen to support independent producers, make the Great British Food Festival a ‘must see’ feature for your day at the show.
Elsewhere at the show, you can see some of TV’s top celebrity chefs including Gordon Ramsay, James Martin and Simon Rimmer show off their skills in the summer kitchen. Pick up tips, find inspiration or just enjoy the lively entertainment. They’ll work their magic with a selection of summer food in these unmissable shows that are always a sell-out.
Please visit us on our stand F116 to have your chance of winning one of three great prizes! More information on these prizes coming soon.
More Information on the BBC Good Food Show.
Drinking organic milk is better for you than drinking normal milk, according to a new study.
Scientists found that it offered far greater health benifits because it contained higher levels of vitamins and antioxidents. They claimed that swapping ordinary milk for the organic version could even protect against cancer and heart disease.
The researchers found that levels of healthy fatty acids and antioxidents in organic milk rose in the summer, when cows ate fresh grass and clover. Organically reared cows get more than 80 per cent of their diet from grazing on grass. Grazing on conventional farms makes up 37 per cent of the diet.
Article by Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent. Provided by The Daily Telegraph
Carrots came out as kids favourites in the poll, which revealed they now prefer traditional greens to modern trendy varieties. Many hate ALL veg and scheme to avoid eating them while millions of parents fib to get them to scoff them.
Food giant Heinz found seven in ten kids hide veg around the house a quarter sneaking it on a siblings plate and many feeding it to a pet. More than a third complain of a tummy-ache to escape veg.
One in three parents lie about whats on a plate while others try to hide veg beneath a thick layer of cheese sauce. A third promise kids treats to eat up.
Heinz marketing manager Dan Winslet said: Getting children to eat vegetables is a daunting task for any parent.
The Heinz poll of 2,300 parents found aubergines are least popular in Reading, Berks. Youngsters in Edinburgh and Bristol least like celeriac. Fourth least popular overall is cabbage (16 per cent) while mangetout is fifth (12 per cent).
Source : The Sun
Farmshop are sponsoring the Local Food Producer of the Year Award at this years Farmers Weekly Awards in October. The Farmers Weekly 2008 awards recognise the individual achievements, skill and vision of young farmers to managers and advisers. Categories in this year's farming awards include outstanding young farmers, contractors and local food producers.
The Awards Night brings together the whole farming industry to celebrate all that is good about British farming. The theme of the night and entertainment, which includes a champagne reception, four-course meal with wine, various artistes and a BBC presenter, will leave you feeling proud to be British – and proud to be a farmer.
Farmshop.uk.com are proud to sponsor the Local Local Food Farmer of the Year award at the Awards - a category that captures the very essence of what we believe in. We will soon be judging this years 3 local food finalists, and wish these producers the best of luck at the awards. We hope to see you all there.
Visit a farmers' market and you'll be treated to some of the freshest, tastiest food around - and all of it grown or produced virtually on the doorstep. Top quality meat, succulent sausages, free range eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious local honey, jams, and chutneys, and freshly-baked bread, pastries and cakes are just some of the items you're likely to discover as you browse around a farmers' market.And with the farmer, producer or grower manning the stall, it's the chance to find out exactly where your food comes from and the ingredients it contains!
The popularity of farmers' markets has soared in recent years as more and more customers opt to choose food with provenance. It's also given farmers and other producers a welcome chance to sell direct to the public.
And with what's on offer varying depending on the season, you can be sure of an ever-changing spread at your local farmers' market. If you want to get to the heart of rural life, there's no better place than a county show with its exciting mix of displays, stands and competitions.
From countryside crafts and rural pursuits to delicious food and magnificent animal displays, county shows offer something for everyone…..even the very youngest of visitors.
A window on rural life, county shows bring together those who work in the agricultural and rural community - giving them the chance to share their experiences and what they produce.
Many shows are steeped in tradition, having been a highlight of the annual agricultural calendar for decades.
And even today they're a great recipe for a fabulous day out!
John Geldard holds up his gold trophy, flanked by Simon Whitton representing farmshop.uk.com the sponsor of 'Local Food Farmer' and awards presenter Jon Culshaw (right) and Jane King, Editor of Farmers Weekly. The farmer and creator of the Plumgarth’s brand, John Geldard, has been crowned the 2007 Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year.
Mr Geldard, who farms at Low Foulshaw near Kendal, received a standing ovation from the 950 guests at the London Grosvenor House Hotel. In 2001 Mr Geldard set up the Plumgarths hub to market his own beef, sheep and free-range eggs along with that of other local producers. The net result is that he and his Cumbrian farmer neighbours are capturing and sharing added value by pooling their products and supplying local customers and retailers direct.
Sheila Dillon, the BBC radio 4s Food programme presenter says: “John is an inspiration. He is putting farmers back into the driving seat of the food system, showing how they can deal with supermarkets as equals.”
The Plumgarth group now supply more than local 100 hotels and restaurants, 18 Asda stores and Penrith Center Parc with high quality locally reared, and branded, beef and sheep. He was the winner of the Local Food Farmer of the Year sponsored by Farmshop.uk.com, and along with 11 other category winners, went through in the shortlist for the coveted title of Farmer of the Year. His vision and leadership has had such a powerful impact on his own business, and that of so many others that he was clear the winner. Farm Facts210ha grassland 1,000 pure Lleyn ewes 120 pedigree Charolais ewes 130 suckler cows 39,000 free-range hens.
Plumgarth hub set up in 2001 with England Rural Development Grants Plumgarth Farm Shop launched for consumers to experience `real meat’ hung to ensure maximum taste and texture Plumgarths Asda local sourcing marketing 80 different local brands in 12 stores Plumgarths Center Parcs providing the Penrith site with 30 different branded products from 12 local producers.
Plumgarths Food Service supplies 100 local hotels and restaurants Lakelands Food Park offers local farmers food processing, marketing and technical support Westmorland Pudding Company produces traditional recipes using local ingredients.