CLA comment: CLA revives its Foodie Showcase to show off county’s talented producers

A chef from the Suffolk Food Hall give a hands-on demonstration of how to make barbecue food for chi

A chef from the Suffolk Food Hall give a hands-on demonstration of how to make barbecue food for children as part of the CLAs Foodie Showcase at The Suffolk Show in 2014. - Credit: Archant

The CLA is giving some of the county’s best local food and drink producers the opportunity to showcase their talents at this month’s Suffolk Show, as part of a drive to get more people to support local businesses, writes Martin Betts of CLA East.

Following on from its success at last year’s show, we will again host our ‘Foodie Showcase’ in our marquee (stand 160 on the Grand Ring) on the first day.

These free, interactive tasting sessions will allow visitors to the show to sample a diverse range of local food and drink, meet the CLA members who have created it, and understand the produce’s provenance.

A huge variety of food and drink is produced in Suffolk by various businesses, including farm diversifications, and we believe it is important people understand the diversity and the quality is extremely high.

The range of events we have planned will not only give the public the chance to sample excellent food and drink, but also introduce them to the people and the businesses behind the produce.

We want people to understand that by buying local and supporting these businesses, they can play a large part in keeping communities viable and help to maintaining the health of the rural economy.

On the first day of the show, Marybelle Pur Natur will be showing off their award-winning dairy products at 11.30am, while Suffolk Food Hall will give a cookery demonstration highlighting a range ‘Cookhouse classics’ themed dishes at 2pm. Finally, DJ Wines will be giving people the chance to take part in a tasting of its range of fruit-based wines and liquors at 3.30pm.

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Based in Walpole, the heart of the Suffolk countryside, Marybelle was established in 2002 by the Strachan family with three aims in mind: to protect and improve the British Dairy Farming industry; produce high-quality products through simple processes; and create a sustainable and responsible business.

A Supreme Champion in the Fine Foods Great Taste Awards, the dairy sources all of its milk from local, family farms and produces milk, cream, yoghurts, and crème fraiche.

The Suffolk Food Hall, recently judged to be the best local food venue in the UK and Ireland by the Countryside Alliance, prides itself on offering quality, local, food.

The focus of its hour session will be the Cookhouse Restaurant, judged to be the best on-farm restaurant in Britain for 2014, and its best-selling dishes.

While DJ Wines will be offering tasters of its range of natural fruit wines and liqueurs handmade by owner Derek Jones in his small Monk Soham winery.

Derek use local fruit wherever possible, with most bought from East Anglian producers and elderflowers gathered from Suffolk hedgerows.

The CLA will also be hosting a number of invitational events: a breakfast created by a local catering company using local produce is to be served each morning, while a ‘Celebration of Suffolk Food and Drink’ lunch event will feature dishes and products from the likes of The Artisan Smokehouse, Alder Tree Ice Cream, Pump Street Bakery, Scarlett & Mustard, and more.

The marquee will also be decorated with flower arrangements created by Frances Boscawen of Moat Farm Flowers in Woodbridge.

She is a member of the Flowers from the Farm network, a group of flower growers who have come together to promote locally grown flowers and to support one another in their endeavours.

These events would not be possible without help and support of the food and drink producers involved, nor without our sponsors Lovewell Blake, Birketts, Ensors, Robinson & Hall, and Carter Jonas, who share our passion for supporting Suffolk businesses and the regional economy as a whole.