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Hampshire Food Festival 2015

PUBLISHED: 12:37 18 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:37 18 June 2015

Discover market stalls of artisan produce. Photo: The Electric Eye

Discover market stalls of artisan produce. Photo: The Electric Eye

The Electric Eye

In celebration of the Hampshire Food Festival’s special anniversary, Hampshire Fare take us back to the beginning to find out how the county’s love for local food has grown

Champions of local food producers, Hampshire Fare are the county food group behind this month long festival being held this year from July 1 to August 2.

Starting out as a fairly small weekend festival celebrating local food and farming, the event has grown substantially in the last 15 years to include a line-up of over 70 events attracting some 295,000 visitors. Chairman of Hampshire Fare, Mike Wright commented: “With such a small infrastructure, it’s a credit to the team who organise and arrange this event every year. Due to the strong local involvement, the festival continues to gather momentum year after year.”

As Hampshire Fare’s membership grew, and with the increased interest in locally produced food and drink, the Food Festival began to attract the finest makers and producers in the county – wanting to share their wares with the general public, and open up their doors to welcome visitors in to their industry.

“There are other festivals around the country that are quite well known but have nowhere near the volume or level of activity that Hampshire does,” continues Mike. “To be able to put something on for a whole month, where you’ve got two or three events going on each day is really quite something.”

Events take place across the width and breadth of Hampshire, from the heart of The New Forest to vineyards in the South Downs and farm tours in The Test Valley. Commercial Manager, Tracy Nash, explains: “The geography of the Food Festival is really good. You can go and do a chocolate workshop in Alresford and then do a cheese and farming tour down in the New Forest. It’s great because it’s not geographically loaded in one direction of the county.”

In the past 15 years certain food trends have been gathering pace, from the popularity of English Sparkling Wine today, to locally brewed ales and Hampshire cheeses. But whether it is the latest fizz or best blue, it is the public’s continued interest in local food that enables events like this to grow.

“You have to recognise things like the horsemeat scandal, which really made people wake up and think, ‘wow what am I eating and where does it come from?’” says Mike. “Local food and the origin of what you eat was quite a thing even before that, but I think that made people stop and think.” The scandal was possibly one of the best pr stories for local producers and eating Hampshire based produce is now less fashion statement and more necessity for a growing number of people interested in their food welfare.

The Hampshire Food Festival is a great opportunity to get out and explore our local producers, trying the ingredients for yourself. In summary, Tracy explains: “The Hampshire Food Festival is beautiful at bringing people together. Hampshire Fare remains a neutral force in the middle, helping people who want to be involved put on events for the public to attend.”

For many of the local producers, this is one of the few opportunities they get to be public facing, as Mike explains: “For many of the members, they are so busy doing what they do, they don’t have time to get around and look at other things in their business. We can say to them, ‘look you could be involved in this and we can show you how and help you put this event on’”.

Not all businesses involved in the Food Festival are Hampshire Fare members, and as Mike says: “it is not an exclusive event.” So if you’re a fan of food and drink and like to enjoy good company in an unusual environment, then there is sure to be something going on next month that will tickle your tastebuds.

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Top 10 events

Sparsholt Food Festival

A celebration of local food with stalls, activities and demonstrations from top local chefs.

Saturday 4 July at Sparsholt College, Westley Lane, Sparsholt, SO21 2NF. More information available at www.sparsholt.ac.uk.

Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival

Taste a wonderful selection of wine from six Hampshire vineyards, meet the winemakers and join a guided tour of the winery.

Tickets are £5 which includes samples of all the wine. Sunday 12 July, 12-4.30pm at Hambledon Vineyard, East Street, Hambledon, PO7 4RY. Booking advisable on 02392 632358.

Lyburn Farm Cheese and Vegetable Tours

Tour the farm by tractor and trailer and discover what goes on behind the scenes. End the evening with a cheese supper back in the barn.

Tuesday 7, 14 and 21 and Wednesday 8 and 15 July, 6.30pm-9pm, Lyburn Farm, Landford, SP5 2DN. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £5, booking essential on 01794 399982, www.lyburncheese.co.uk.

Stansted Park Producers Supper

A five course dinner made from ingredients sourced within 20 miles of the farm shop, served with local beer and wine.

Saturday 11 July, 7.30pm, Stansted Park Farm Shop, Maze Courtyard, Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6DX. Tickets: £35, booking essential via www.stanstedfarmshop.co.uk.

A Celebration of English Wine and Roses

Tour the Rose Paddocks with advice from renowned expert Rosebie Morton and indulge in award winning Hattingley Valley English Sparkling Wine.

Thursday 23 July, 6pm-9.30pm, Hattingley Valley Vineyard, Sheep Dip Rose Paddock, Hinton Ampner, Nr Alresford, SO24 0LF. Tickets: £15, booking essential on 01256 389188.

Hampshire Fare Market at The Ageas Bowl

Browse local producers’ stalls including Betteridge Brewery, Hampshire Charcuterie, Loosehanger Cheese and Chalk Stream Hampshire Trout on T20 Blast Match Day. Thursday 23 July, 5pm-9pm, Botley Road, West End, Southampton, SO30 3XH. Tickets: Market open to match ticket holders, www.ageasbowl.com.

Savage Kitchen Pop-Up Restaurant

Tuck into a delicious meal served in the stunning setting of Cottonworth Vineyard.

Saturday 25 July, 7pm-11pm, Cottonworth Vineyard, Andover, SP11 7JX. Tickets: £30, booking essential on 07817 142654.

Local Produce Area at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show

This annual agricultural show makes an ideal day out for all the family. Hampshire Fare members will be selling their food and drink in the Local Produce Area where there will also be a kitchen demonstration area featuring key local chefs.

28, 29 and 30 July, 8.30am-6.30pm at The Showground, New Park, Brockenhurst, SO42 7QH. Tickets: Adults £16, Children £5.60, family tickets and discounts available from www.newforestshow.co.uk.

Ideal Collection and Sunnyfields Best of Hampshire Vegetarian Dinner

Join Ideal Collection down at Sunnyfields for a fantastic four course vegetarian dinner showcasing the very best in local and seasonal produce, including live music.

Thursday 30 July, 7pm-11pm, Sunnyfields, Jacobs Gutter Lane, Totton, Southampton, SO40 9FX. Tickets: £30, booking essential on 01489 889100, www.idealcollection.co.uk, www.sunnyfields.co.uk.

Broughton Water Buffalo

An evening ramble at the buffalo farm to see the herd and visit the wild trout stream. BBQ, beer and wine afterwards.

Friday 3 July, 6pm, Manor Farm, Broughton,Stockbridge, SO20 8AN. Tickets: Free but please book 01794 301031, www.broughtonwaterbuffalo.co.uk.

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