Archive for September, 2012

Narbeth Food Festival

26 Sep

I wasn’t going to put up any more food festival posts, but many producers have said they enjoy reading them, so I’ll do my best to post a few more. Of course my other reason to resist doing festivals posts is that I’m not keen on assisting Miller, who a being paid £42,301 to attend 32 wag supported festivals. This time their role is to report back after assessing each food festival’s performance against the criteria set up for all food and drink festivals and to ensure that they are all complaint to the grant support offered by wag. A couple of producers asked me if Miller were there, but although I spent five hours at Narbeth festival, I still didn’t spot Miller anywhere. Ian did see them though and Miller seemed surprised at what they judged that I’d posted two favourable reports on Aberystwyth and Abergavenny. Well I don’t agree with that at all.  I judge festivals firstly as a journalist interested in food and then I listen and take feedback from many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers that have paid their hard-earned money to attend each festival – they make the best judges on whether a festival is good or bad. My posts are honest, they’re there to help organisers both with what I felt was good and what I also feel could be improved. These are of course my views and my opinions and I do appreciate those organisers that are working on a voluntary basis. The way I look at food festivals is the same now as it was when welshfoodbites was set up over two years ago. In that couple of years I’m pleased to report that some food festivals have improved but sadly others haven’t. But hey guys if you are looking out for Miller at any festivals, take care because they are still not badged up as Miller.  Now back to Narbeth. I didn’t get any press releases about this festival.  The AA had set up good signage going in and once again Narbeth ran a Park & Ride set up, which was much needed as Narbeth does not have plenty of parking available. It was £3.50 to enter which is something I will never agree with. £7.00 for two adults to go in could have been better spent on two pasties from the Little Welsh Deli, two coffees from Preseli Coffee Company or two ice-creams from Cowpots and with the latter two lots of change too! As last year I did speak to an elderly couple who hadn’t realised you’d to pay to enter and they refused and went home instead. They had no wish to sit and listen to the live music, good and varied that it was or to sit and watch a cookery demo of listen to a food talk – they just wanted to buy some local food. So that was sad to hear. I also felt that there were too many food-to-go stands I think there were about eight of them outside and another three inside the marquee. I feel that is over-kill bearing in mind these guys are there to earn money – it’s as simple as that.

One highlight which I’m delighted to report on is Pembrokeshire Product Direct. I’ve been harsh about this project, but with   justification. This much needed project has been badly run, no-one, from wag to Pembrokeshire Council appears to have monitored it or had alarm bells ringing years ago, despite £500k going in the pot. Whoever is responsible for this project should have the guts to stand up and be counted rather than trying to sweep it under the carpet. I was appalled at PPD’s stand at Milford Haven, at Fish Week, but it had improved at Really Wild festival. But on Saturday I couldn’t believe the transformation and more importantly how busy it was. The stand was full of the produce they had for sale, there must have been 4-5 staff manning it and not just standing there, but engaging with anyone that came near them. Literature was being given out and a raffle for a £50 hamper was a good additional draw, especially if all those leads are followed up, which I’m sure they will be. I was so impressed to see this stand buzzing and I hope that sales and contacts for both days were outstanding.

There has been a very small group of producers that have been determined that this project is worth it, and they must have literally worked their socks off, bearing in mind they all have their own businesses to run. I congratulate you for your massive efforts at getting to Narbeth and putting on such a fantastic stand. You all realise you still have much work to do, I just hope that the remainder of the producers listed on PPD have the guts and drive to get behind you and not just sit back and watch as you deserve and need their support and commitment too. It’s not fair if just a small sector tries to carry this project. With your hard work you looked to be getting the support of local people, but sad after all these years so many still hadn’t heard of PPD. Good luck guys!

I was pleased with some of the cookery demos, and at least they did have a saying who was working and what times. This was helpful and I did stay for a while and listen to M/s Hansen with Angela Gray. Another plus was that a leaflet was given out showing the recipe that was being cooked on it and also included the method. I have forgotten how long I have been asking chefs to do this, but maybe my ‘water on the stone technique’ is paying off!!! Well partly anyway, because what I did learn was that M/s Hansen had come up from London to be at Narbeth. She wasn’t Welsh either, but there we are. My other moan was the dish she cooked was crab although there was no Welsh fishmonger in attendance. My plea is still that all chefs would use the producers that have paid for stands at each festival and stop cooking fish unless there’s a fishmonger there. Please let’s support our producers, because isn’t that after all why we have a food festival budget?  I’m still of the opinion that using local chefs can also be very beneficial to local hotels and restaurants that are finding life tough and would highlight some of the super chefs that we have literally on our doorstep.

I’d heard beforehand of traders who’d been refused a stand even though they really couldn’t have been more local – all Pembrokeshire based, which is very annoying for them but we did have a stand from Devon there doing fish cakes I think. If there’s some logic there I think I’ve missed it. However on the outskirts of the festival there was I’ve termed the ‘Fringe’ which is for craft traders and food traders that couldn’t get into Narbeth themselves. This is a great idea and worked well the quality of stands was good and in my view often better than those in Queens Hall. It was a shame that the ‘Fringe’ couldn’t take over the Queens Hall because it would surely have worked better.


Is This Welsh Food Month?

21 Sep

A producer very kindly sent me an article from the Western Mail which was part of its focus on Welsh food and dated 18th September.

Much of the article’s focus was on food festivals, starting with Abergavenny, with much comment from Kim Waters, its Chief Executive. I was interested to learn that Mr Waters stated that Abergavenny attracts 35,000 per year, especially when I did the sums-on-the-gate working on an entrance fee of £6.50, for Sunday, bearing in mind on Saturday the entrance fee is £8.00. With 35.000 visitors at just £6.50, that’s and income of £227,500 and I think most of us are aware Sunday is very much the quieter day for visitors. This festival took £46,880 from the food festival budget, plus the support from their council and sponsorship not to mention the tradestand revenue – which is quite an income.

What I did disagree with in this feature though is the journalist saying that: Wales now has at least 15 festivals celebrating local ingredients from across the nation with numbers growing all the time. Well yes, Wales does have at least 15 festivals, in fact this year wag have managed to support financially 33 festivals. This includes Abergavenny food festival and Abergavenny’s Christmas fair which is getting £2,200. In 2011 wag supported 31 festivals but in 2010 it was 51. However the  count of food festivals on our, this year is 91 festivals.


Abergavenny Food Festival

19 Sep

I visited Abergavenny on Sunday and was delighted that the hospitality that I raved about last year was running this year too. When I signed in at 8.30 it was a huge pleasure to catch up with our super hostess in Hospitality, Suzanah from sbh events. That lady has not lost her flair for cooking and entertaining and neither have her team – it was brilliant. The selection of food and drink on offer was excellent and just what the visiting VIPS, guest speakers and media surely appreciated. A professional board gave the list of producers who donated produce and I hope that they get good feedback for their generosity. Being able to call back into the Kings Head where Hospitality was sited, is a massive bonus and Suzanah and her team should be congratulated for putting on such a professional and tasty show!! Of course in my world all the produce would have been Welsh, which goes without saying really, but no other food event that I have been to have looked after media so well and it was a real bonus. Hopefully everyone who was invited into hospitality really enjoyed it. I was also impressed to be given a goody bag which contained a super selection of productsbut sadly not all Welsh. That really was a disappointment, only because the bags in my view should serve as a reminder that they’ve been to a Welsh food festival!!!  Yet this is the first time I’ve received a goodby bag from a Welsh food festival, so it was a lovley surprise, a fantastic idea and very welcomed. I did go to Ty Gwyn Cider and Blaenafon Cheddar Co; both are with us as Best Of Welsh producers, BOW and thanked them personally as their produce were in my goody bag. Others of our BOW that also donated samples were Ralph’s Cider and Perry, Homemade Country Preserves and South Caernarfon Creameries. Fingers crossed that those companies who donated get great feedback and those very important sales.

There is no doubt that this is one of Wales’s largest food festivals and there’s also no doubt that this festival takes the largest chunk of money out of our dwindling food festival budget. This year it was to the tune of £46,800 as against £52,200 last year, a small decreases but still a very large sum of money. I’ve been told by wag for many years that food festivals are given funding if they meet wag’s criteria, but wag’s objective is that the festivals should aim to be self-funding. Maybe I should have queried what ‘aim’ means in wag terms. But congratulations to all involved, that even on Sunday, which is always the quieter day, it was still very busy. There didn’t seem to be any negative reaction to visitors being charged an entrance fee of £8.00 on Saturday and £6.50 on Sunday. Abergavenny excels at using newsletters, Facebook and Facebook, embracing PR & Social media and have proved that it really does work for them; maybe other festivals will take note and follow their lead. Another positive is the number of volunteers Abergavenny manage to attract, there were lots of young people especially, and clearly visible in t-shirts. Every volunteer I spoke to was friendly and helpful, although understandably a little tired by Sunday.

Now I must move on to the traders themselves. I didn’t talk to any that hadn’t had a good weekend and my goodness they did need it after a very difficult trading season. But the issue that constantly surfaces every year without fail is how traders get accepted or more importantly why many Welsh traders don’t! Bearing in mind over the last six years obtaining a stand, or not, is one of my most frequently asked questions. Why producers think I should know Abergavenny’s selection procedure is a puzzle, I agree, but after last year’s shambles in the Fish Market I did ask officially, in June I think, for their selection criteria. Although my request was sent through to their Chief Executive, I haven’t had a reply. Strange that, or is it? Does it go with what many producers believe that at this festival, more than any other, is a matter of ‘if your face fits, or if you happened to know, or be mates with, one of the committee’ Well I’m sure in many instances that is the case and what I would plead with ‘the committee’ is to understand that this is the way many of our Welsh producers earn their living. Staying with the Fish Market now thankfully renamed the Priory, there can be no doubt that last year it was a total shambles and a poor example of how a food festival should be run. Tentage was poor to vaguely non-existent, traders were sited there that should not have been with that poor layout Abergavenny had. I was embarrassed about it and furious on behalf of producers that had been shunted up there, especially as some were our BOW guys. Some of them spoke to the organisers before the event complaining about where they were being put, knowing as they’d been attending Abergavenny for years that it would not work for their business. Abergavenny insisted that it would and were proved wrong. Other traders spoke to the organisers on the Saturday, some tried both options. A few also wrote in after the event what they felt was wrong with the Fish Market for their stand.  Now I would have thought that those trader actions were reasonable and should have been helpful to Abergavenny. Silly me, when will I grow up and realize that some people-in-power, PIPs, don’t want any criticism? These PIPs possibly ignore most feedback, because they think their event is perfect, others because they can’t cope being told they are wrong by traders of all people – an attitude of complain if you dare but next year you might jolly well not get in at all. So that is a brief update of last year but what about 2012? Well surprise; surprise some that complained didn’t get in this year – now how grown up is that? It is totally pathetic and I sincerely wish this was not allowed to happen. Now as if that wasn’t bad enough when I went up into what was the Fish Market last year, and as already said it’s now simply the  Priory – that move alone makes much more sense. That was Abergavenny’s first smart move. Yes fish was still there, but at the back of the fish and wine stands, there was a professional marquee with lots of great stands inside. So, well done organisers, that was your second smart move. By improving the tentage there you transformed a dreadful area into a positive trading area. We again had some of our BOW in there and they’d had a very good weekend. But where you failed dear organisers is by losing the marketing promotional opportunity of turning last year’s Fish Market disaster into a Priory triumph. You could have made much of the fact that you had not only listened to the unhappy traders from last year, but actually acted on their complaints and suggestions. I cannot and will not claim any credit for this massive transformation of the Fish Market as I’m sure you would not any heed to my comments on welshfoodbites. That’s perfectly fine, as my role is to help our producers. Your final gaff in the Fish Market/Priory saga is not allowing and encouraging some of the unhappy producers from last year back in. In fairness if you’d done them a deal to return that would have been paid back in spades with their vocal positive chat about you. As it is you have some unhappy Welsh traders moaning about Abergavenny……………………………..still!!!

I did a quick rough count of tradestands this year and got to 229 in total, with about 28 stands from the Borders, which in my book still counts as Wales, there were 18 stands that I struggled to know where they were from and 74 that were from further away in the UK or abroad. I wonder how that fits in with wags latest food festival evaluation which festivals are supposed to be looking at: Is the event considered to be an exemplar to the promotion or Welsh food to visitors.

I note that the garlic man from the Isle of Wight has been promoted from trading in the street to a prime stand spot outside the Market Hall in Brewery Yard. Not only that, but he’s been allowed to also bring his friends in so he could sell tomatoes too!! I’m sorry, but it still annoys me when such a warm welcome can be given to so many UK and foreign stands when so many genuine, professional Welsh traders are turned away. As can be seen Abergavenny Food Festival, from the man on the street’s point of view is a wonderful festival but it is the funding that is so annoying. Pembrokeshire Fish Week is supported by the Welsh Major Events Unit promoting tourism, Abergavenny is not. But Abergavenny is funded to the tune of nearly £50,000 from the Welsh Food Festival budget which aim is to promote Welsh Food and thus its producers. So with the current situation it appears many English tradestands can get help from their own regional food body to grow and attend food festivals and then be subsidised by the Welsh Government with their generous help from the festival budget.  If Abergavenny needs so much funding, but as they charge for everything I find it puzzling, why can’t their funding come from either Visit Wales directly or its offshoot the Major Events Unit. This would leave more in the food festival pot for those smaller festivals that are really supporting Welsh producers.

Congrats Abergavenny, you put on a very good festival, but there are still some wrinkles that could easily have been improved. I do hope you consider them and go from strength to strength. Every credit to all those involved in turning the Fish Market around, but as stated, and I hope clearly enough, that you could still have done better there.

For last year’s post see 19th September 2011





Aberystwyth Food & Drink Festival

17 Sep

It’s quite a few years since I paid a visit to this festival, so it was good to catch up with so many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, many trade here every year and also and regulars at their Farmers’ Market. The venue for the festival was in Baker Street, not the usual Farmers’ Market site in North Parade, that obviously didn’t cause any problems for local people, but those from outside the area where a little lost as to where Baker Street, but 10 out of 10 to Janet from the Food Centre, Horeb, who not only literally walked the streets of Aber., directing people to the festival, but also made sure everyone had a leaflet with a programme of the day and list of producers in attendance. Smart move and it worked!

It was lovely to catch up with Ceredigion’s Member Of Parliament, Mark Williams who spent many hours there with his wife and family. Mark somehow got talked into a Cook Off with Richard Fox from the Love Food – HATE Waste Campaign. Mark is a regular visitor and supporter of the Farmers’ Market which is really appreciated by the regular food producers. His four children were very patient and it certainly looked like they really enjoyed the ice-creams from Cowpots.

Thankfully Aberystwyth did get some funding of £7,418 from wag, which was down a little on last year’s amount of £8,239. That in my view is a great pity as Aberystwyth gives Welsh producers somewhere to trade when many were once again not allowed into Abergavenny. Aberystwyth does have problems with where to site a food festival and freely admit that Baker Street is not ideal as the event has to pay the Council to block the road off and for the bollards etc. that are also needed. This of course gives traders a few more headaches with off-loading and loading back up at the end of the day and maybe this is something this event could have another look at and see if there are any ways to make this necessary process any easier. Maybe a few helpers to assist with this time consuming job of loading and unloading might make the procedures quicker???? Or maybe some of the traders have better solutions…………

I would have thought that the council and the town would have been bending over backwards to support this type of event, without them having to fork out  – sorry bad pun – to bring producers and then visitors into the town. I’m sure that visitors didn’t just visit the festival, but took the opportunity to see what else Aber. has to offer and don’t the local shops and cafes need more visitors? In my book, this comes under common sense, or ‘joined up writing’, but seemingly this is not commonly available in many councils who follow the lead from our government – why make anyone’s life easier……….

Anyway, back to the festival itself. It was great to see and chat to so many of our Best Of Welsh and Borders, BOW producers and the good news at the end of the day that the majority of them had had a very busy time. One producer said: “A worthwhile event, it was only unloading and loading that is a problem using Baker Street. We had a steady stream of people coming through and many of them were buying too, which hasn’t always the case this year. The people I served were interested in food and hopefully will support us in the future at the Farmers’ Market”.

In my view, the quality of producers was very good. Yes ok I know I’m biased with so many of our BOW guys there, but Best of Welsh & Borders is what we are all aboput and I’ll stick up for them as I’ve not found any better producers. However a few stands didn’t have business cards, didn’t have a banner and didn’t have literature either, so they did not impress me with that, but there isn’t a way anyone can stop what I call ‘pin-money people’ ‘playing’ in the food market.

The local Co-Op branch was another supporter for this event and I’m hopefully that some producers will be taken on by this group as they look to stock more local products. I’m actually surprised that a lot of producers didn’t take the initiative to approach the Co-Op themselves, but John from Horeb Food Centre did a good job acting as as a go-between. Let’s hope that works out well for those involved an well done for the Co-op in supporting local producers if this can happen across Wales that will be very good news indeed. I was also impressed that one stand had really got their act together and whilst one of the team manned the stand the other did visit a few outlets near and around Baker Street to see if their products could be stocked. This is what more producers should be doing. I’m actually surprised that all the local eateries along North Parade where the Farmers’ Market is staged, are not overloaded by those regularly trading at the market trying to sell their produce to them. To me that makes sense but I’m not sure why it doesn’t to many producers.

Miller Research were again in attendance, but sadly not badged up as Miller Research. From what one trader told me he said the pair wandering around with a clip board had told him she was working for the government. Well of course that’s correct the government are paying them, and just to let you know the government are paying Miller research £42,301 to evaluate 32 festivals. But I just wish whoever attends takes the time to explain to producers what they are doing there.

I had received a press release about this festival from Ceredigion County Council and I did spot some banners as I drove in from Aberbanc so this was all good news. I couldn’t find a producers list before I went but not sure why this wasn’t easily findable on the web. So overall a good event. It was a pleasant change to attend a festival, especially in these tough trading times and get such positive trader feedback. I know many of you were seething and rightly angry at being bumped out of Abergavenny this year. Not sure if that’s worse worse than those of you that have never been allowed in, but this is not a pleasant situation for any trader.

Please feel free to add your comments and I can assure you you can disagree with me too if that’s how you feel. All I’m trying to do is paint the picture as I saw it on Saturday and give credit where it is due. Do be sure that you have no need to leave your true name with your comment – that is not required unless you wish to do so.



Substantial Loss At Pembrokeshire Fish Week 2011

14 Sep

Following quite a few posts during the summer on Pembrokeshire Fish Week, a producer has kindly sent through to me a cutting taken from the Western Telegraph, dated 14th January I think. I’ve posted this in full below, which I’m sure you’ll find interesting: The annual Pembrokeshire Fish Week open day hosted in Milford Haven ran at a substantial loss last year, 2011. Expenditure of running the open day on the Milford Marina last year topped £27,315 and income totalled £16,325, an overall shortfall of £10,990. In a letter to Milford Haven Town Council, the county council’s food development manager, Kate Morgan, said the £2 entry charge introduced for the first time in 2011 was a way of assisting in the shortfall caused by the ending of European funding. Ms Morgan wrote: “An entry charge is something that we have always anticipated would be necessary to introduce at some point to enable delivery of the Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival, but have avoided doing so for as long as possible.” Ms Morgan said that with no European funding organisers are now exploring avenues of funding, sponsorship and income to allow them to continue delivering the popular event. In 2011 approximately 12,000 people attended the opening day despite bad weather and the introduction of an entry fee. Over the festival week events across the county attracted a total of about 25,000 people, with more than a third visiting from outside west Wales – bringing just over £1.3m direct income into the economy. Ms Morgan concluded her letter by asking the town council to consider increasing its financial support for the festival, above the £200 it already annually donate. On Tuesday night the finance and general purpose committee recommended increasing its donation from £200 to £300 – a decision which will now go forward to full council for debate.

Well I find this newspaper article interesting, as I didn’t think all the Fish Week events were ticketed, unless that has now been altered. So if evry even is not ticketed, how can an a total attendance figure of 25,000 people be arrived at? I’m also puzzled that it was stated that a third of visitors were from outside west Wales. In 2010 when I went to Saundersfoot on the last day of Fish Week , I did approach some t-shirted people who were holding clip boards, curious to find out what they were doing! Well they they were supposed to be doing survey about Fish Week, but this team didn’t approach everyone around the Harbour, which would have been impossible, so I’m not clear about the accuracy of a 1/3 of visitors from outside west Wales. Of course the Welsh culture is that councils and governments have to have these types of figures to ‘tick their boxes’ but I’m only interested in figures if they are accurate and not guesstimates.

The funding quoted is also interesting and the figures I have certainly disagree with those published in the Western Telegraph cutting, but I’m sure that the WT did not make those figures up and printed in good faith.

When I asked questions about Fish Week Funding Pembrokeshire County Council told me that in 2011 Fish Week got grant funding of £55,636 from outside sources and £30,711 in support direct from the Council.

For this year (2012) I’ve shown below the two statements I received from wag in response to my many questions about Fish Week.

Spokesman for the Welsh Government said, “This year, Pembrokeshire Fish Week secured funding from our Major Events Unit as well as from our Food Festival Grant. The support from the Major Events Unit will help the festival to grow in profile and quality. The support from the Major Events Unit will help the festival to grow in profile and quality. Food Festival Grant funding is associated to Food Related costs only.

The First Minister has agreed to provide financial support up to a maximum of £75,000, for three years (2012-2014 inclusive) to support Pembrokeshire Fish Week. The First Minister has been asked to agree Welsh Government financial support for Pembrokeshire Fish Week in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

I’m horrified that a food festival alone can receive the massive sum of £31,671 from the Welsh Government food festival budget for just a one day festival, when this money is taken from an ever shrinking budget. Fish Week then also got money from the Major Events Unit too!!!! But lucky Fish Week, they have now had reassurance and full support for their financial plight from the First Minister, who has authorised financial, support of up to a maximum of £75k for the next three years.


Hybu Cig Cymru Campaign To Help Welsh Butchers?

11 Sep

I received a press release from Hybu Cig Cymru, HCC on 29th August and was thrilled to learn that HCC are spending £850k on a promotional campaign to promote Welsh lamb this autumn. I have taken the liberty to show the press release in full further down, so all our independent butchers that are with us as Best of Welsh & Border producers, BOW, can join with me in my excitement!

When we received this press release, Ian contacted Golley Slater, the Public Relations company that ‘look after’ HCC, asking when he should be talking to them about advertising, bearing in mind that at this stage Golley Slater for some reason, hadn’t already been talking to Welsh Country magazine. This press release came direct from HCC, not from Golley Slater, but stated the campaign breaks in September, so we’d no chance of HCC coming in our S/October issue, had we?

But I was told by one of our BOW butchers, that on 9th September there was a full page advert in the Mail On Sunday, MOS. Well I tracked the advert down and read it with some interest. But I’m not convinced at all that MOS readers will understand that Welsh lamb has PGI status, let alone know what PGI actually means. This is a campaign to the ordinary chap in the street, Joe Public, not to the trade, so why in an advert campaign would you use PGI instead of saying and explaining Protected Geographical Indication? I’m puzzled about that. Even having a minuscule logo next to the Welsh lamb logo totally misses the mark; it will mean very little, if anything at all, to the readers of the Sunday Mail. Maybe I’m wrong on that but I really don’t think so.

I’m also not sure that it’s motivating enough that the competition HCC are plugging with ‘quality time in a luxury Welsh farmhouse for eight guests with dinner specifically prepared by a celebrity TV chef,’ hits the mark either. Is this a Welsh TV celebrity chef or an English TV celebrity chef? Doesn’t the celebrity chef deserve a plug? Or has a celebrity chef not yet been booked yet? For goodness sake don’t lose the opportunity to name the chef, especially if he or she is Welsh. Any bets guys on the chef? Maybe it’s Dudley or Steve Terry, but perhaps HCC will use the young and talented Luke Thomas who I interviewed for  Welsh Country magazine for our J/Feb issue in 2011. Not quite sure that the lovely Luke will count with HCC as a celebrity TV chef, but he’s certainly one to watch.

My other worry with this national campaign, is that one of the constant queries I get asked, is where Welsh people can buy Welsh meat. In a way it’s an easy one for me to answer, as I know we have a superb selection of local butchers with us on our Best Of Welsh & Borders listing, so I can direct people there. But I hate to hear of people living here in Wales struggling to find Welsh meat, be it lamb, beef or pork. When I have no option but to visit a supermarket in Wales, I often find it difficult to find Welsh meat. Following a meeting I went to some time ago about the Cambrian Mountain initiative I visited a Co-Op store after being assured their meat was readily available there, but I couldn’t find any Welsh meat at all, I asked a member of staff to be told she didn’t think they had any! Now that was here in Wales, so I am concerned how much Welsh meat is readily available across all UK supermarkets and if it really is not just easy to find but more ‘right-in-your face’ when you get to the meat counter and is clearly marked on their shelves. Cynical journalist I might be, but my concern is totally and utterly for not only our BOW butchers, who of course are my priority, but also for all independent butchers who are having a very tough time as they continue to compete against the powerful supermarkets and the downward trend of our High Streets.

£850,000 promotional campaign for Welsh Lamb launches this autumn

 A major £850,000 advertising campaign gets underway in September which aims to make Welsh Lamb the first choice meat on Britain’s plates.

The campaign includes television, online, billboard poster and magazine advertising as well as an on-pack competition for shoppers to win a luxury break which includes being treated to a top class meal cooked by an up-and-coming young chef.

New recipe booklets will be distributed to butchers across the land to hand out to shoppers.

“This is one of the most comprehensive advertising campaigns we have ever undertaken, driven by our desire to see Welsh Lamb installed as the number one choice on dinner tables,” said Laura Dodds, Market Development Manager with red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru.

“Our advertising campaign covers all media, while both independent butchers and supermarkets that sell Welsh Lamb will be supplied with posters and recipe booklets that consumers will be able to take home with them to try out.”



The Hive, Aberaeron, Ceredigion

10 Sep

After a walk on Sunday, Ian and I called into The Hive for coffee. The Hive, I must admit is one of my favourite places to visit. The coffee and choice of teas is excellent, as is the food on offer. What really though does make the difference to me is the staff that work there. They are all, without exception, friendly, efficient and helpful. That’s down to good training which certainly has been worth the effort.

As I put our pages together for our November/December issue I was convinced it was only me thinking about Christmas but how wrong I was. The well organised team at The Hive had their Christmas and New Year brochures, planned, printed and up for grabs when we were there. Their Christmas brochure not only gave details of how to order your fish for the festive period, but gave their Christmas menu and a pre-order form for group bookings. Well done guys!

I was delighted to see this great venue doing their marketing so well and so early. Their brochure was easy to follow and will certaily make bookings easier. I hope that their marketing pays off and bookings come in swiftly. The team certainly deserve their success.

But if you’ve not yet planned your New Year’s Eve celebrations then The Hive is requesting any Cowboys and Indians to join them for what sounds like a very exciting party night. Live music, bubbles at midnight and rewards for the best costumes, sounds like huge fun. Just a reminder though entrance is by ticket only so plan early and get your tickets booked before you are too late.



Abergavenny Food Festival & Royal Welsh Show – Changes At The Top

04 Sep

Things are certainly up for change in the Welsh food world. As Wynfford James leaves FFMDD, along come two posts that will also have a big effect on the Welsh rural and food scene.

It was announced last month that the chief executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, David Walters, is to leave the organisation next year when he reaches retirement age next May.

Now a Chief Executive is required for Abergavenny Food Festival following Kim Waters who is leaving the festival after 14 years in post. So if you are a person with good corporate, management, marketing and financial skills, can work from Abergavenny and would like the post of part-time Chief Executive, then get your CV in before 23rd September.