Food festival puts the focus on fresh produce

With public attention strongly focused on clean eating, organisers of Berwick Food & Beer Festival point out it's one of the best places to buy fresh, local, seasonal produce.

Sunday, 17th July 2016, 7:20 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:36 pm
Berwick Food Festival. Bread stall.

Organised by the town’s Slow Food Group on September 3 and 4, the ninth annual festival sponsored by Simpsons Malt, will showcase the region’s thriving food and drink scene from both sides of the border.

Whether visitors are looking to follow a strict Paleo diet or simply cut down on processed food, they are being invited to ‘connect to clean’.

And from sourdough to seaweed, from organic beef to berries and yoghurt – the festival highlights the fact that healthy eating needn’t be restricted to supermarket shelves and health food stores.

Ruth McNeely, joint festival director, explains: “This year, we very much want to emphasise that if you want to eat healthily then going local can be a very good place to start

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“ At the festival, shoppers will find a whole host of fresh produce from our abundant regional larder.”

The Producers’ Market will boast more than 40 stalls of local produce.

Organisers are delighted that as the festival continues to grow, stallholders are a mix of regular and new faces.

They include Jimmy Bell, known locally as The Lamb Man, who has supported the event for several years.

He rears and butchers traditional Northumbrian hill lamb at the family farm near Longhorsley. Like many of the stall holders, Jimmy will be happy to answer questions about how the lamb is raised as well as cooking tips for the different cuts of meat.

Visitors can enjoy lamb from Texel-cross lambs bred on a farm which minimises its use of chemicals, pesticides and medicines, preferring non-intensive farming methods and traditional butchery methods, such as hanging lamb for 10 days.

Also present will be Doddington Dairy where over 20 years ago, the Maxwell family started producing cheese then ice cream to add value to the milk from their dairy herd. This year will be a chance to try their new range of artisan yoghurts made from fresh milk, British fruit and the simplest of ingredients.

Nut butters are now renowned for their heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and The Nut Roaster from near Morpeth will return with their range of nut butters.

New this year is Scotland’s Poporopo who make gourmet popcorns in flavours including chili and lime, sweet ginger, Isle of Skye sea-salted caramel and peanut butter.

Recently set up by Daman Bush, the company produces its popcorn using high grade corn kernels that are popped using hot air rather than in oil creating a delicious snack.

Shaped by the region’s unique heritage and landscape, thousands of visitors from the UK and overseas will also enjoy beef, pork, goat, fish and seafood.

For those eating with health in mind, in addition to yoghurts and nut butters, there will be fresh vegetables, rye bread, honey, seaweed, rapeseed oil and much more.

But even the proponents of the clean living trend emphasise that a little treat is good for the soul.

At the festival, shoppers will find plenty of treats freshly made with local ingredients, even the coffee is ground locally.

Other festival highlights will include the beer festival with up to 10 local artisan brewers, a street food area, demonstration kitchen, children’s activities and more.

The Berwick Food and Beer Festival, takes place at The Barracks from 10am to 5pm on both days, with the beer marquee opening into the evenings.