We set up a pre-festival photo shoot for Moretonhampstead Festival of Food, Drink and the Arts, this week and managed to get on the front page of the regional paper. We wanted to stress the continuity of good local food being sold in Moretonhampstead, which was a Drovers town with 32 alehouses and a vibrant annual fair, so we persuaded the organisers to dress up to create some atmospheric pictures at the local hotel, The White Hart.
Three newspaper photographers came to the launch, one of them being Matt Austin – have a look at his site and make sure you scroll down to see his beautiful ‘old master’ pictures
Matt Austin Images – http://wp.me/p29IjA-Ky
Su Carrol, of the Western Morning News wrote an excellent article (below) which summed up exactly how we all feel, in these days when British people discover that the food trail of their ready meals leads to dubious horrors (click food trail to see the map of how far and long the meat was moved around! And God knows what else is shoved in along the way, I believe rats are plentiful) Actually, I’ve eaten rat and it’s not bad when barbecued.
Moving on, here are Su’s words
Western Morning News Article by Su Carroll
The Dartmoor town of Moretonhampstead gets together once a year to stage a food festival which celebrates the local producers and farmers, as well as the businesses in this vibrant community.
Although last year’s event attracted a modest 6,000 visitors, a launch for this year’s festival underlines why this kind of shop window for local producers is vital.Food festivals like ours in Moretonhampstead encourage shoppers to buy local, to source meat bought directly from the farmer and producer,” said Alastair Wimberley, who farms welfare-friendly Red Ruby beef a mile from the town and is one of the festival’s organisers.
“Meat products such as pies, pates and sausages are made responsibly from meat bought from a reliable local source where its origins are known.
“As a farmer and a butcher I am horrified by the behaviour of processed food producers in purchasing horse meat as a beef substitute and the distance it had travelled.”
Mr Wimberley also criticised supermarkets for encouraging the sale of ready-made meals, hoping that consumers would now turn away from that kind of product.
One of four main organisers of the festival, which is aided by over 60 volunteers, Mr Wimberley said the event was important in helping to educate the public about the provenance of food and the value of quality.
“Our food producers tend to be ethically responsible people on a mission to make the best product they can,” he said.
“With our cooking demos we hope to inspire people to go home with local produce and cook themselves a delicious healthy meal.”
This year’s food festival, on Saturday, March 9, will reflect the area’s food heritage.
Drovers would herd thousands of Ruby Reds and other cattle to moorland grazing in summer – known as the “red tide”.
At the height of this trade, there were 32 ale houses in Moretonhampstead and the local serving ladies who kept them in check were renowned for their Amazonian attributes, according to local legend.
The food festival will have cookery demonstrations, a market, bread-baking workshops, a cookery trail, kitchen jumble and a local artists trail. There’s also a festival drover’s pie, made with Alastair Wimberley’s beef and ale from Hunter’s Brewery in Ipplepen, lovingly cooked by Matthew King, head chef at Moretonhampstead’s White Hart Hotel.