It’s no secret that we WI members like our food. So why not celebrate the best of British food and support our local farmers and growers by marking British Food Fortnight (19 September through 4 October)?
Held in the autumn at the same time as harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is the biggest annual, national celebration of British food and drink. It was established in the wake of the Foot and Mouth crisis, in response to the fact that, though there are numerous food initiatives, projects and events taking place across Britain, there was no overall flagship event to bring them to the public’s attention.
Here are some of the things you can do to help celebrate British food:
1. When you are shopping make a special effort to seek out British food. Pause when you select your food from the supermarket aisle. Look at the label. Does it tell you where the food has come from? Does it provide a description of who produced it? And if it is imported, is there a British equivalent in-season? When looking to purchase products, keep an eye out for marks such as the Red Tractor logo (right).
2. Shop at local butchers, greengrocers, farm shops and markets that source locally and will be able to tell you a little about the person who produced the food you are purchasing.
3. Seek out food in season – look for, for example, the English plum, marrow and squashes, which are in-season during British Food Fortnight.
4. Cook a British meal for friends and family. Nothing beats the old favourites like cottage pie or apple crumble, and then sharing them with your loved ones. Consider inviting friends round for a British Food Fortnight Feast or make a special effort to get the family sitting around the table.
5. Pick your own. What is better or healthier than being able to enjoy fresh fruit selected and picked by yourself? Rummage in the hedgerows for blackberries or visit a fruit and vegetable farm and then get pickling, jamming and freezing. Trevaskis Farm currently has gorgeous runner beans, cooking apples and plums.
6. Go to a food festival. This weekend from Friday through Sunday is the Great Cornish Food Festival, on Lemon Quay in Truro. Around 60 producers and 40 chefs and food experts are taking part, with an exhibitor line-up that includes everyone from household Cornish names like Rodda’s and Sharp’s Brewery, to artisan producers such as Fowey Valley Cider and Buttermilk Confectionery. Chef Nathan Outlaw will be hosting the grand finale on Sunday afternoon, following a tantalising programme of masterclasses and demonstrations across two different stages, in company with a host of Cornwall’s top chefs and food experts.