We're keeping it local in Northumberland
There has been a huge increase in interest in a scheme that champions local produce.
Produced in Northumberland (PiN) is a programme run by the county council that verifies the source of food and drink products.
The council rubber-stamps the produce with a PiN logo to make it clear to consumers exactly what they are buying.
There are currently 83 PiN members, two pending and 40 more businesses interested in the scheme. Hotels, restaurant, B&Bs and the like can also join the initiative.
A new website – www.prod ucedinnorthumberland.co.uk – has a wealth of information and videos of Si King, The Hairy Biker, local producers, and local chef Martin Charlton with his tour of Northumberland’s culinary delights.
A parliamentary showcase in June was a real catalyst for local producers, retailers and hospitality premises, with a big increase in inquiries and web hits, be it people interested in joining or businesses and the public just querying where they can buy some of the amazing products from Northumberland.
A PiN members focus group met last month at Amble, with a large turnout of 23 attendees discussing potential opportunities, including attending a national trade food and drink fair in 2019 and the development of Produced in Northumberland markets.
There will also be events promoting the scheme and its members at Alnwick and Morpeth Food and Drink Festivals.
Neill Maxwell, of Doddington Dairy, a member of the scheme, said: “We have more first class food products in Northumberland than you might appreciate and many of them are up here in north of the county. The chance to take some of them to Westminster was a great opportunity to showcase these products.
“I think that we are in the process of changing hearts and minds in our county to want to use more of our own produce in food service and retail.
“PiN is a great initiative to prompt this change and the website helps to facilitate it’s growth.
“We are seeing lots of interest in the scheme.”