Chatting with Peter Sidwell at his Simply Good Food HQ in Keswick reminded us of all the great things that are currently happening in and around Cumbrian food.
When Peter started his cooking career in Keswick he was seen as revolutionary because he used local produce. His entrepreneurial flair continues today with his Simply Good Food TV channel looking to reach 1,000,000 download figures and clips of the channel now showing on screens on the London Underground. Just as Peter has diversified and grown his business, so the Food and Drink sector in Cumbria has evolved to include multinational food manufacturers, regional and national food producers and smaller artisanal food and drink producers with healthy export markets in place.
Local food is now not just about the local food markets, although they still play an important part in raising the profile of our awesome local food producers. Many of our larger local food retailers and hospitality businesses focus on the great food and drink producers in and around the county. Just check out some of our great local retailers such as Low Sizergh Barn in the south of the county, Westmorland on the M6 and Cranston’s in the north. Or look at the wholesalers such as Caterite and Pioneer Foodservice both of which do sterling work in supporting our burgeoning food sector, acting as a vital link between our local food and drink producers and the consumer.
Cumbrian food is getting on the map. This year’s Great Taste Awards – probably the best barometer of artisan food and drink in the UK -, were well represented in Cumbria with food and drink producers scooping 51 awards including prestigious 2 star awards for: Shed1 Distillery; Lakeland Mues; Stringers Beer; Mr Vikki’s; Peace and Loaf Bakehouse, Woodall’s Charcuterie; Bruce and Luke’s Coffee; Cranstons; Dalemain Marmalade and Hawkshead Relish and 3 stars for Grants Smokehouse and More The Artisan Bakery.
All these food businesses large and small are doing their bit to raise the standard of Cumbrian food and drinks and in doing so are creating a growing vibrant food economy for our region. They are creating new opportunities for employment in the food sector as well as the many service businesses that support it from hospitality; to accountants; to social media experts, to web designers; to photographers; to graphic designers; to packaging and box businesses to HR experts and so many more.
Food has always been an integral part of the Cumbrian economy and we as consumers have an opportunity to become part of its rebirth. So this weekend why not go and try that independent café or restaurant that you’ve always fancied visiting. If you’re not going out, why not try one of the many local ales that are now brewed in your county or one of the local jams or coffees produced here. You might just like what you try and then you too can become part of the Cumbrian food revolution.
If you’re a business looking to source more local food check out our map on https://www.thomasjardineandco.co.uk/centre-family-food-business/ and if we have missed a fab food or drink producer please let us know. Follow us on Twitter @thomasjardineco