October is Producers’ Month

1 October 2009

Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board cooks up a tasty treat for Producers’ Month

As the nights draw in and the cooler weather begins to take hold, Lancashire looks to warm our hearts with their annual October celebration – Producers’ Month.  Launched during British Food Fortnight, (the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces), Lancashire sets out to demonstrate that it is one of the country’s most successful and long-standing food-producing counties.

During the month locals and visitors alike will be encouraged to see and taste for themselves some of the delights on offer.  There are foodie events galore – Garstang Food Festival, a week-long food and drink extravaganza and Rural Rossendale Walking Festival offering Soup Loop, Fudge Trudge and the Wind Turbines Whisky Tour.  Alternatively, you can taste beautifully cooked local produce in a Taste Lancashire quality assured place to eat, follow a food trail or visit one of our food producers for a look at how fresh raw materials are made into something delicious.  There are farm shops, specialist retailers and stores to choose from – many that have been farming and selling their produce in Lancashire for generations.  The field to fork message is a way of life here.

Lancashire producers are diverse – our landscape is prime for dairy, pork, beef, lamb and ostrich farming as well as root and beet vegetables even chillis.  We’ve got breweries, traditional drinks such as Sarsaparilla, cheese, ice cream, fish, sweets, fudge, Black Puddings, honey, herbs, preserves – the list is endless.  Trusted Lancashire brands include Johnson & Swarbrick, H & P Ascroft and J Atkinsons & Co, Mrs Kirkham’s Cheese to name but a few.

The statistics speak for themselves with the regional food and drink market growing at 5% year on year and 70% of British consumers wanting to buy local and regional foods – MINTEL’s 2005 British Lifestyle report notes that “consumers are adopting a more traditional approach to grocery shopping” and the ‘Which Good Food Guide 2006’ claims ‘Food Britannia’ and states: “More than ever before, chefs are using local and seasonal produce and boasting about it.”  Producers are not walking in the shadows of celebrity chefs but indeed stepping right alongside them.

Those looking for a ‘foodie’ short-break in Lancashire have plenty to choose from in terms of accommodation – everything from romantic inns with log fires and luxury self-catering cottages through to restaurants with rooms, boutique hotels with fine dining and cosy B&Bs. Whether you choose a rural retreat, coastal resort or city break – food is at the heart of a great stay.

The multi-award winning Ribble Valley Food Trail is certainly not one to be missed and there are also three Lancashire Cheese Trails to enjoy. 4-6 mile easy walks through the fields known as ‘The Lancashire Milk Fields’ by Lancashire’s Artisan Cheesemakers.  You can easily come up with your own foodie trail too, perhaps visit Lancashire’s famous Panopticons, country parks, Pendle Hill or the Forest of Bowland AONB, and take along a tasty Lancashire picnic.

Two fun foodie itineraries include The Dairy Dander (taking in a visit to cheese producer Dewlay and Hawkshaw Farm for Mrs. Dowson’s Ice Cream) with lunch at the Clog and Billycock, one of three Ribble Valley Inns in Lancashire, a company which prides itself on using local producers and fresh seasonal produce.  In the afternoon, set off to Wallings Farm that offers a mix of working farm, coffee shop, ice cream parlour, local food shop and traditional breeds butchery. The ice cream is produced using the farm’s own cows’ milk and is available in over 40 flavours from the ice cream parlour.

The Sweet Treats Tour is designed for those of you who have cast calorie-counting to the wind!  The day embraces fudge, rock, soft drinks and a trip to see the largest pear drop in the world!  Visit Britain’s last original temperance bar, Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar in Rawtenstall and take a pint of dandelion and burdock or black beer and raisin, then move on to the Fudge Village in Whitworth. Take a tour and enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of fudge-making.  Stay and have lunch in Bistro Fudge within the Fudge Village. In the afternoon it’s off to Stockley’s Sweets within Oswaldtwistle Mills where you can watch sweets being made and see the largest pear drop in the world! If you’ve still got the time (and the room!) rock up to Blackpool and pop into Rock Candy Kingdom one of the last places where you can watch traditional rock being made.

Bashall Barn, this year’s location for the launch of Producers’ Month, is situated in the heart of the Ribble Valley that is home to Bowland Brewery and its handcrafted real ales, Bowland Outdoor and its home-reared meats with onsite butchery and Ribblesdale Honey with onsite extraction bee-keeping training and bees.  Bashall Barn Café is a treat for lovers of home-made meals, cakes and scones – all made onsite by expert bakers.

Historic Clitheroe is not to be missed with its vast array of retailers such as Cowmans of Clitheroe, producing award-winning sausages, some with surprising ingredients from their aptly named Famous Sausage Shop, D Byrne and Co, a multi-award winning independent wine merchant with labyrinthine cellars and Cheesie Tchaikovsky, a specialist cheese shop and delicatessen. A tour of Moorhouses Brewery will not only show you how the beer is made but give you the chance to sample some of these fantastic ales, such as Pendle Witches Brew and Pride of Pendle, followed by a traditional Lancashire supper. Tours can be arranged for groups of 15-30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

For more information on Producers Month and the various itineraries and trails outlined go to www.visitlancashire.com

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