Business was booming over the Discover Lincolnshire weekend held recently on March 22 and 23 as the very best of Lincolnshire food was showcased in Skegness’s Hildreds Shopping Centre.
Organised by Select Lincolnshire For Food; award winning food from all over the county was able to be bought and sampled from a ‘pop-up shop’ to celebrate Lincolnshire Weekend.
Shoppers flocked in their droves to the fully functioning shop over the two days, as six Select Lincolnshire for food members; Mountain’s Boston Sausage, Spire Chocolates of Louth. Sweet Heat Chilli from Horncastle, Market Rasen’s Cote Hill Cheese, Spilsby’s Moden Plumbread and Ownsworth’s Rapeseed Oil of Fulbeck, all set up stalls in the shopping unit; the first of its kind for the Hildreds.
Executive Coun for economic development at Lincolnshire County Council, Colin Davie said: “The Lincolnshire food business is worth in excess of a billion pounds a year.
It’s important to spread awareness of what Lincolnshire food has to offer, far and wide and hopefully consumers will seek food from the county wherever they go.
I’m committed to ensure the county’s food industry grows and develops in year’s ahead, so the whole country can enjoy the fantastic food produced here.
I’m also looking to see how we can introduce local food businesses more permanently into the local shopping experience. I feel with the economy slowly improving it is the right time to do this and now, more than ever, following recent food scandals, people want more clarity about where their food comes from.”
Select Lincolnshire business development manager, Gillian Richardson said: The shop’s been extremely busy and I’m delighted the Hildreds have given us this opportunity to bring together these small Lincolnshire businesses to sell their local artisan products.”
“Select Lincolnshire is like a family network of businesses that help each other through selling a variety of foods all grown and produced in Lincolnshire.
All pur members are entered into an award scheme each year and Boston Sausage won last year,” she added.
Skegness mayor, Jim Carpenter said: “It’s great to see all the different produce that’s grown and made in Lincolnshire and it just goes to show that the area has more to offer than the bucket and spade industry.”
The businesses taking part over the weekend, were equally delighted with the success of the event.
Darren Jones from Sweet Heat Chilli said: “It’s been a lot busier than I thought it’d be. I’d definitely do it again. To have all this Lincs produce in one place is fantastic and
Lincs select do a great job promoting the county’s produce.”
Mary Davenport, of Cote Hill Cheese, said: “I’ve been a dairy farmer for forty years and diversified to make cheese nine years ago and this saved our business.
Our cheese sells nationally, but I’m finding out local’s haven’t heard of us and it’s nice to make people aware and seek out local customers.”
Cattle, pig, wheat, barley and rapeseed farmer Andrew Ownsworth said: “My versatile homegrown rapeseed oil can be used for cooking, salad dressing and frying. I sell it throughout Lincs, Yorkshire and Leicestershire. There’s been a lot of interest today, the place is buzzing.”
Gary Skipworth of Mountain’s Boston Sausage, said: “It’d be nice for it to be a permanent fixture” and Spire Chocolatier, Lindsay Gardner agreed: “It’s a brilliant idea, I hope it happen’s again. For small businesses to be able to trade in this environment is amazing.”
Martin Brown of www.visittheseaside.com, who instigated the event, to bring the County Council, Select Lincolnshire and the Hildreds together, said: “It’s great to bring the coast and the county together. This event identifies the importance of including the Lincolnshire seaside resorts with the counties rich, unique products and events and sharing them with the local communities and visitors.”
“I am looking forward to working with the Hildreds Centre and the County Council throughout the year to bring more events to the Lincolnshire seaside and achieving similar results”, he added.
Hildreds deputy manager, Steve Andrews said: “I’m blown away how busy it’s been. If it’s like this out of season, what’s it going to be like in the holiday season? We’re really proud to be able to host the event and due to it’s success, we hope to do it again in the near future.”