Amazing Success for Slow Foods from the North West
A team of North West food and drink producers recently got together and took their wares on the road south. When long time Slow Food supporter and original founder member of Slow Food Cumbria, Peter Gott was invited to book a space at this year’s inaugural Countryfile Live event, at Blenheim Palace, he wasn’t quite sure what he could pull together. However, after a little pestering, he decided he’d give it a go and set out to make a good show of things.
Slow Food on Tour
Wondering what heading Peter could give to his food and drink roadshow, it was during a meeting with me, in my capacity as Slow Food Lancashire leader, where he got his inspiration. I suggested, if we could get the right selection of producers on board, it would be good to use ‘Slow Foods from the North West’ and, so, we did. However, Peter said “there’s a condition” and it was that I had to go with them, and provide Slow Food support!
Needless to say, given the huge popularity of the Countryfile programme on BBC TV, this first Countryfile Live event was a massive success and saw upwards of 80,000 people enjoying the experience over the four days, and the Slow Foods from the North West producers enjoyed a fair share of this success too! Occupying a prime position on the showground, thousands of visitors passed through the marquee enjoying free samples of our fine North west produce: Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese, Baxters Morecambe Bay Potted Shrimps, St James Cheese, Sillfield Farm, Reedy’s Naturally, and Kendal Mint Cake Liqueur, all of whom enjoyed very satisfying sales.
The producers all agreed that the presence of a Slow Food stand in the marquee certainly appeared to contribute to the overall success of the event, bringing an extra level of authenticity and meaning to the value of their produce. Hundreds of visitors went away with Slow Food materials and dozens stopped to hear more about the many Slow Food initiatives, most of them being interested to find out more and perhaps with a view to getting involved and subscribing to a Slow Food membership.
Although it may not be possible to rely on the volunteers from any one group to do too many of this type of event, I certainly think that it’s something that’s worth doing, from time to time, and would definitely help to provide valuable exposure for Slow Food, its initiatives and supporters, and a great opportunity to boost membership.