SOME of the region’s finest food producers packed Snape Maltings to exhibit their varied culinary talents.

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The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival this weekend saw crowds of eager visitors arrive to sample everything from artisan breads to fruit liqueurs.

The county’s outstanding array of locally-produced goods was shown off by more than 85 growers, makers, chefs and specialists.

As well as being spoilt for choice by the many inviting food stands, festival goers also got the chance to look in on workshops, demonstrations and talks by top local experts and nationally recognised names like television’s Valentine Warner and Thomasina Miers.

The event kick-started a two-week festival fringe, which takes place in the surrounding area until Sunday, October 14 and aims to promote local food and the people, animals and landscape that produced it.

Events include the Woodbridge Shuck shellfish festival, a selection of dinner experiences and numerous opportunities to meet producers where they work and trade.

Among the many exhibitors at the maltings this weekend were two Suffolk fishermen with an impassioned appeal, who both star in a Greenpeace short film, The Last Fishermen, which has been shown in cinemas across the country to highlight the plight of the UK’s inshore fishermen.

One of the men, Kirk Stribling, from Aldeburgh, “We are the pinnacle of conservation fishing, but we’re right at the bottom of the pile with everyone stamping on top of us and it’s ripping the heart out of coastal communities right around the UK.”

Mr Stribling was part of the Greenpeace Be a Fisherman’s Friend campaign to change the EU Common Fisheries Policy that the organisation says is driving small boats out of business.

Greenpeace campaigner, Alicia Craw, added: “The next two months will be a make-or-break moment for the future of small-scale fishermen in Suffolk and all along the English coast.

“The more people add their voice to the campaign, the clearer the message our local MEPs will take with them to Brussels - sustainable coastal fishermen deserve a fairer deal.”

A programme of all the events featured in this year’s festival fringe can be found online at www.aldeburghfoodanddrink.co.uk.

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