Now in its 19th year, British Food Fortnight, which is taking place from 19th September to 4th October, has been the catalyst for small and large organisations and community groups across the nation to shout about the importance of buying British to protect our farmers, food producers and countryside. With many of us having recently rediscovered the joys of buying from and supporting local producers, this year British Food Fortnight is taking things virtual. Open to all, from Saturday 19th September you can meet producers and hear first-hand about the food they make, watch culinary experts take to the cookery theatre with delicious British ingredients and hear about key issues including sustainability, why you should buy British and the nutritional benefits of different foods.
Here are a few of our favourite local producers to support now and always, in celebration of British Food Fortnight...
Geordie Banger Company
For a Geordie take on traditional, hand-crafted sausages visit these sausage-wizards. They’ll be more than happy to introduce you to their newest and most popular examples, including the pork with leek sausage, the Wor Cumberland and, of course, the Geordie Banger itself.
This group of shops is beloved of Michelin-starred chefs including Tommy Banks and James Mackenzie as well as discerning seafood fans generally, and small wonder: every morning its own fleet of boats plucks fish from the icy waters of the North Sea and has them in the shops by 9am. They’re an institution.
Ridley’s Fish and Game
Here you’ll find a great selection of meat from land-based animals including cock pheasant, red grouse and even wild Cheviot kid goat meat – we kid you not. If you’re in the mood for fish, their selection of produce from the sea – including cod, haddock and catfish – might just whet your appetite.
Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes
Whether you’re boiling them, mashing them, frying them or chipping them, potatoes are important. That’s why the folks at Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes take them so seriously, and produce a staggering 17 different varieties. Check out their website and send off for your spuds online.
It’s been a tough old time for those in the dairy industry, with milk prices dropping and margins being squeezed into non-existence, which is why we’re thankful for businesses like Davidson’s Dairy. Since 1981 it has supplied fresh cream, milk, butter and cheese throughout Northumberland.
Depending on the season, you’ll find traditional herbs like chives, coriander, dill, parsley and the like alongside more niche, Brönte-sounding stuff like hyssop, English mace and bronze fennel. They’re not limiting themselves to herbs here either; you can pick up edible flowers and salad leaves as well.
While arguably the greatest combination of crustacean and deep-fried casing yet devised, all too often scampi is relegated to the indignity of the children’s menu. Whitby Seafoods treat them with the appropriate respect: made from langoustines caught in British waters and prepared in Whitby itself, the spiritual home of scampi.
By heck, they’re tasty. This Bedale-based business has flourished from its porcine products, ended up on the shelves of your local supermarket. But it keeps its roots in the region, working with farms and factories to produce fantastically- flavoured sausages.
Herb Fed Poultry
Fed up of tasteless poultry stacked high and sold for a song in supermarkets? So are Herb Fed Poultry, who take pride in producing birds with taste. Being hand-fed and kept in small flocks – and crucially, allowed to snaffle a selection of herbs in the hedgerows – gives these birds big flavour.