Local Produce Trade Show Highlights People, Passion & Produce
This year’s Local Produce Trade Show, held at Hilton Southampton – Utilita Bowl and organised by Business South with support from Hampshire Fare, was considered a great success by both exhibitors and visitors.
More than 60 artisan food and drink businesses from across the region showcased their produce to buyers from hospitality, leisure, and retail. Hampshire Fare has been supporting producers for over 30 years and involved in the Local Produce Trade Show since its inception 16 years ago. The Local Produce Trade Show was originally established by Business South in support of the cruise sector, however over the years the Show’s remit has broadened and now enables local produce to be showcased to a wide audience.
The Local Produce Trade Show is appreciated by producers for providing a friendly environment in which to make valuable business connections. As part of the event, Hampshire Fare helps organise the Chefs’ Panel, featuring some of the area’s top chefs who provide an insight into working with local produce, sustainable practices, and emerging dining trends.
This year Hampshire Fare was also responsible for a new feature: the Skills’ Panel. This shone a spotlight on a range of food-related experiences through the ages. The panel included Dawn Harrison, Head Teacher, St Francis CE Primary School, along with pupil Robin Ashleigh, who aspires to be a chef, a first-generation farmer, Emma Hunt of Dandys Ford Dairy, and Herbert Berger, a retired Michelin chef who had cooked for high profile guests, among them HM Queen Elizabeth II, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger!
Natasha Dochniak, commercial manager, Hampshire Fare, commented: "It was my first Local Produce Trade Show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see so many Hampshire Fare members showcasing their products and I really enjoyed hosting the Skills’ Panel. My three Ps of Hampshire Fare - people, produce and passion - shone through as a recurring theme among panellists. We are extremely lucky to have so much incredible local produce here on our doorstep and today was a shining example of that. I am looking forward to working in partnership with Business South to ensure this event goes from strength to strength.”
Tracy Thew of New Forest Shortbread said: “The Local Produce Trade Show is an excellent opportunity to meet buyers face to face and learn from them what they need. As a small producer, it is so important to get that interaction and hear what customers want.”
It was the first time Alexis Rendell of Portsmouth-based Tea Mountain had attended the Show. He commented that the Local Produce Trade Show had given him the opportunity to put forward his product to key people in hospitality, among them Andrew Cole, managing director, Cavendish Ships Stores.
Peter Morgan of The Book & Bucket Cheese Company was also exhibiting for the first time. He explained: “We are well known in the New Forest, but we want to be better known in the rest of Hampshire. Joining Hampshire Fare and attending the Local Produce Trade Show has been great for us and we have had a few very positive enquiries from the Show.”
Leigh Sara Timberlake, Business South Group CEO, said: “We really do love the Local Produce Trade Show – it is such a positive event for our region and we get to showcase truly delicious food and drink. It is so gratifying to hear from the producers how this event has led to significant orders being placed and long-lasting business relationships being formed.”
Photographs with thanks to Cath Lowe Photography