What is the ‘‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’’ event?

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‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’ is one of the many events that the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association is running for both the English and Wales Tourism Weeks 2015.

Businesses throughout the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley will be participating in the English and Wales Tourism Weeks from March 14th to March 22nd. There are many events planned, which you can see on the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association website. These include free activities, discounts and more!

Severn Cider: ne of our greatest local cider producers
Severn Cider: ne of our greatest local cider producers

 

However, this one in particular caught our eye as it’s food and drink related! It promises to be a great way to celebrate and showcase our local food and drink producers, whilst acknowledging their crucial role in our tourism industry.

This isn’t the first English and Wales Tourism Weeks. Our area is unique though, in its cross border location, and the fact that we embrace these two separate events says a great deal about how local people and visitors see the area as whole rather than just seeing the border. It will though, be the first ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’ event for local food and drink producers. So, what’s the story behind ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’?

John Theophilus takes the lead

Well, John Theophilus (a Director of the tourism association who owns and runs The Sawyers Bed and Breakfast at Lydbrook http://www.thesawyersbandb.co.uk) is taking the lead in this initiative for the Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Tourism Association. He’s excited about food and drink in the area – and rightly so!

John said, “The Association works hard to promote tourism in the area and we know that we have some world beating food and drink producers in the area. We thought it would be great to stage an event which introduced those local producers to our members, who want to buy good locally sourced ingredients to use in their tourism businesses”.

He hit upon an important point. “We want to give visitors an opportunity to taste the great produce from the area while they are staying here with us.” We agree. Just as you may have a Cornish pasty and cream tea whilst staying in Cornwall, we should actively work together to encourage visitors to the area to partake in our local food and drink!

Everyone’s welcome! So, come and meet our best food and drink producers

“This isn’t just about tourism though – our event is open to anyone to come along and meet, see, taste and buy the quality and variety our local producers can offer”.

The event is also still open to exhibitors – “We welcome enquiries from producers who want to exhibit. Places are limited so we are offering these on a first come first served basis. Producers can call us or book via our website”.

If that has whetted your appetite and you’d like to attend, ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’ will be held at the Whitemead Forest Park in Parkend on Wednesday March 18th. with doors open at 11am and it runs until 4pm.

Who’s exhibiting so far?

Well, we don’t want to give away too many spoilers. However, some of our best loved drink producers such as Severn Cider and Hillside Brewery will be showcasing their products to buyers from local restaurants, hotels and other establishments. So far, it’s looking as if there will be a good variety of cider and perry makers – and perhaps there will be other drinks on display!

Non-alcoholic beverages will also be represented in the shape of James’ Gourmet Coffee Co Ltd and fresh fruit juices from Ragmans Lane Farm.

Food producers

We should also see some big-name local food producers such as Smart’s Traditional Gloucester Cheese and Hillbrooks Luxury Ice Cream. We spoke to Jenny Jones of Hillbrooks luxury farmhouse ice creams who thought the event was a great idea – “It’s just essential that all of us, as local businesses, work together wherever we can to promote ourselves and our great products to a wider audience – it’s a great idea!”

Smart's Traditional Cheeses
Smart’s Traditional Cheeses

 

No local food & drink event would be complete without a local cider maker!

Anyone who knows this area at all can tell you that Herefordshire and Gloucestershire are two of the UK’s famous ‘cider counties’. In fact, we really are blessed with a huge amount of fantastic cider producers – and let’s not forget that other local specialty: perry.

Severn Cider is one of our most celebrated local cider and perry manufacturers and will be exhibiting at ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’ in Parkend on March 18th.

May, from the Awre based cider and perry experts, is looking forward to the event.

“We think this is a fantastic idea and we are fully behind it. Visitors to the area should make the most of the great produce on offer and sample some cider that’s come straight from the banks of the River Severn.”

Hillside Brewery’s artisan ales to make an appearance

Hillside Brewery will be showcasing their craft ales at the event. Paul Williamson is proud to take part in the first Meet the Buyer event.

“Our local food and drink producers have a large role to play in the tourism industry. Hillside Brewery is already becoming an attraction (as well as a brewery) for visitors with brewery tours and open days, and it’s great to give people a taste of locally brewed ales when they come to the area.”

Hillside Brewery's fine craft ales
Hillside Brewery’s fine craft ales

 

Ragmans Lane Farm organic produce

We were extremely pleased to note that Ragmans Farm will be exhibiting, representing the large contingency of organic and biodynamic producers in this area. Freya Davies told us how the ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’ event reflected their own spirit.

“It’s a fantastic idea to bring local suppliers and potential buyers together – it fits perfectly with our company ethos of localism and the local food economy.

“As organic producers we want our Ragmans Farm apple juices and veg to reach a wider audience and be a part of the a thriving sustainable business community. The Whitemead event is a great opportunity to bring our produce to a range of local tourism businesses.

“We are really proud of our product and the way we produce it. It’s locally grown, organic and great quality and we know from our own research that both locals and tourism visitors alike love to find and use local products that come from this fabulous area of the Forest & Wye Valley we all live in”.

We’re excited to see our best food and drink producers being celebrated during English and Wales Tourism Weeks. To find out more about what local businesses, on both sides of the border, have planned between the 14th and 22nd of March, Visit the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association website.

Apple blossom close up.
Ragmans Lane Farm, a local favourite for fresh apple juice

 

Everyone’s welcome to attend the ‘Local Produce – See, Taste, Buy’

event. So, if you’re free between 11am and 4pm on Wednesday March 18th, get on down to Whitemead Forest Park in Parkend to see the exhibitors and meet the people behind your favourite local food and drink! We’ll be there, so come and say hello.

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