The superb food and drink produced in the South Downs region has never been easier to find and enjoy thanks to a new web portal called www.southdownsfood.org launched this week.
Including hundreds of local food and farm shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés, vineyards, breweries and food producers who sell directly to the public, the unique website showcases the extraordinary range of produce grown, reared, caught and made in the area, with a clever interactive ‘food finder’ to help locate it.
Created by Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company with support from the South Downs National Park Authority and The Southern Co-operative, the website was launched at Cowdray Farm Shop and Café at the Cowdray Estate, situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, near Midhurst in West Sussex, on June 22 2015.
Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said:”From artisan cheese, wild venison, micro-breweries and some of the best sparkling wines in the world, the South Downs should be recognized for high-quality, sustainable food almost as much as its spectacular beauty and tranquil spaces.
“These are working landscapes which have been shaped by farmers and food production for thousands of years. Helping people find and appreciate this wonderful produce will make sure these businesses benefit from being part of the South Downs National Park.”
Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability for The Southern Co-operative, said: “As an independent regional retailer across southern England, it’s vital that we play a pivotal role in supporting local food producers and a sustainable rural economy; this is very much part of our business ethos as a co-operative.
“We have a close working relationship with the local food producers who supply our popular Local Flavours range, available in an increasing number of our stores. Supporting Southdownsfood.org is a natural extension of The Southern Co-operative’s commitment to championing local food and drink and the people who produce this.”
Any food business within a ten-mile radius of the National Park – from country pubs and farm shops to farmers markets and wine tasting – can register their business at southdownsfood.org for free and add to the calendar of upcoming foodie events for tourists and locals to plan their leisure time. There is also a business interface to join up the local food and drink food chain and help them link and work together.
The South Downs region is home to English sparkling wine with over 20 vineyards and more than 50 breweries. Its exquisite dairies create over 80 regional cheeses and artisan makers have won national and international awards for their creative products, from ice cream to charcuterie and from pies to pickles. Southdown Lamb, Sussex Beef and superb fish from the Sussex and Hampshire coastal waters all help make the area a true foodie haven.
Its rolling hills run from the heritage coast at Beachy Head in East Sussex to Winchester in Hampshire brushing alongside the fun seaside towns of Brighton, Eastbourne and Worthing and surrounding beautiful historic towns, including Lewes, Arundel, Petersfield and Midhurst.
Said Paula Seager, who co-directs Natural Partnerships CIC with Hilary Knight, “Our goal is to create something quite unique, which benefits the local food and drink industry and helps local people and visitors in the South Downs area to enjoy the incredible larder that we are blessed with here.”
Media enquiries: Kate Howard, Tel: 01273 857242, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
Food and drink producers showcased their wares at the launch event, including:
Borde Hill Gardens
Cocoa Loco (chocolate)
Cowdray Park (meat)
High Weald Dairy (cheeses)
Hungry Guest (artisan breads & pesto)
Mud Foods (pies)
Plumpton College (rapeseed oil and cheeses)
Rushfields Farm Shop (pies & scotch eggs)
South Downs Water
Wobblegate (apple juice & cider)