GOURMET scotch eggs, freshly baked bread, artisan pies and local cheese are helping open people’s eyes to local food and local food producers.
The picnic favourites are just some of the things on offer at Stewart Park Farmers Market – held on the fourth Sunday every month.
The stall-holders are among an increasing number of food sector businesses signing up to support Growing Middlesbrough – a campaign to improve access to food and drink that’s been produced within a 50-mile radius of the town.
To highlight their involvement, they invited a group of youngsters to try some of the local food on offer.
Pie Jackers is one of the stalls at the market.
Julie Martin, director, said: “Quality is a cornerstone of what we do, which means we use high quality basic ingredients from local producers wherever possible and turn them into high quality handmade pies.
“The meat we use has all been reared on farms in Cleveland and North Yorkshire, the eggs in our egg wash are free range from a small-holding just outside Marske, we grow our own herbs and the butter in our all-butter pastry will soon come direct from a local dairy.
“Local often means fresher as it’s had a shorter journey from farm to fork and doing business this way means you’re dealing with the producer themselves so you can build strong relationships and be part of a fantastic network of local businesses that are creating jobs and helping grow the economy.”
Growing Middlesbrough wants to create a thriving network of producers, retailers and enthusiasts who work together to provide easier access to a wide range of locally-produced food and drink.
The network of businesses already involved can be found on the Growing Middlesbrough website.
To help spread the message further Middlesbrough is holding its first Local Food Weekend this weekend (July 29 to 31) and a growing number of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops are taking part.
They include The Curing House, The Oven, Woodlands Barbers and Coffee Shop, The Olde Young Tea House, Bedford Street Coffee House and TP Coffee House.
A second Local Food Weekend is being held in September.
Joe Dunne, from Middlesbrough Environment City, is one of those at the forefront of Growing Middlesbrough.
He said: “The aim is to encourage as many restaurants, cafes and food outlets as possible to start buying local food and making it available to their customers.
“We would urge as many people as possible to show their support by dining out at participating outlets during the Local Food Weekends and eating dishes that have been made using locally-produced ingredients – just look out for ‘local food’ on the menu or ask for local.”
To find participating food outlets and for further information on Growing Middlesbrough visit www.growingmiddlesbrough.org.uk
Participating restaurants and cafes will be provided with branded material to help promote their involvement and highlight which dishes are made with locally-produced food and drink.
Restaurants and cafes keen to get involved are asked to contact Middlesbrough Environment City on 01642 579820 or email email@example.com