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Posts Tagged ‘Best Of Welsh & Border producers’

Welsh Food Pop Up Shop In Conwy Bay

08 Sep

Welsh Food Pop Up Shop In Conwy Bay

Welsh food pop up shop in Colwyn Bay  – this is such good news. I received details of this project yesterday and wanted to make sure that as many producers as possible got to hear about it. Please don’t tell me yet again that this is not my job, I know that, but if it involves Welsh food and drink then I find it hard not to share! As is our standard practice, we’ve sent a mailshot to our Best of Welsh & Border producers. We’ve also passed our favourable comments onto a few of ‘our friendly Assembly Members’ too.

Here’s the press release in full:

This could be your chance to win a shop/production area!!

Currently working from home and running out of space or your workspace is becoming a bit of a squeeze?Do you need that little helping hand in taking the next step from kitchen table top to produce/shop space? We understand that taking the next step can seem risky and daunting but in order to grow, develop and expand into a sustainable business you just need that extra space to produce, retail, export and/or sell.

After a successful pop-up food shop ‘Natural Conwy’, a project supported by Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol which celebrated and promoted food producers of Conwy in 2016.  We are now able to offer the exciting opportunity to food producers of North Wales.

Exciting Future

We have earmarked a retail unit in the heart of Colwyn Bay which can be used solely as a retail space, a production space – or both. Colwyn Bay has undergone millions of pounds worth of regeneration over the last few years and was recently named as one of the most visited beaches in the UK.  It’s not just the seaside that draws people to the town. There’s also award winning Chef Bryn Williams’ Bistro ‘Bryn Williams at Port Eirias’, the recently upgraded The Station, renowned for its good food and friendly atmosphere, Fresh Hut, a new local food initiative serving up fresh, healthy meals and snacks and The Bay Hop, a micro pub that’s become a firm hit with the local community for its range of local beers and lively music sessions. Further investment also means that in 2018 Conwy County Borough Council will be moving around 750 staff into their purpose built office building – which is located directly opposite where your retail / production unit will be.

Local Demand

With the demand for locally produced foods and edibles ever increasing we have identified that there is a need for local produce and a need for spaces for local producers to produce!

The pop-up producers project 2017 is a Welsh Government funded project that will start in September 2017 and will be funded until September 2019. The project is supported by Colwyn Bay TownScape Heritage Initiative, Amaeth Cywain Agriculture and Conwy County Borough Council.

A versatile shop space in the heart of Colwyn Bay which can be used as production space only or as production and retail space.

First 12 month rent free

Business rate relief

Year 2 half rent

Contribute to the final design of the layout of the building using their proposed plan to guide this process.

Year 3 – We know by then that you will be a sustainable business model so we will hand over the responsibility of rent and rates to you.

We are particularly keen to hear from producers who are bread makers & bakers, however, we will consider and encourage application from all food disciplines of food and drink production.

How to Enter

We ask that you download the application form (from the web page url above) and demonstrate the development of a sustainable business model over the next 3 years.

We ask that all interested parties visit the space to check the suitability of purpose. Please contact Judi Greenwood on 07717 543 304 to arrange a viewing.

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Friday, September 22, 2017

Please email your completed application form, or for any questions or enquiries please contact: Alwen Eidda: alwen.eidda@menterabusnes.co.uk or Sarah Wilkie: sarah@shcreatives.co.uk

I am so pleased that the Welsh Government has funded this project as I was interested in the initial Welsh food pop-up food shop ‘Natural Conwy’. What I’d like to know is which people are judging this competition and how they are going to assess the applications. I can only hope that it is judged purely on merit and the winner has potential for future growth and employment. This is such an exciting project for Welsh food and one I’d like to see running across Wales, not just in Conwy. But having said that, I’m impressed that Conwy has not only tried something different, but that it’s been successful and they’ve been able to move the project forward. It’s great to post a good news story on welshfoodbites……………………………

 
 

Great Taste Awards 2017

02 Aug

Great Taste organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’. Quite simply the Great Taste logo is the sign you can trust when buying food and drink in your local, quality retailer. Sadly the Welsh Government dumped our True Taste Awards so Great Taste is how many of our Welsh food and drink producers now try and get some recognition.

The highest award is 3 stars.

Three stars rates: Exquisite. Wow. Taste that.

Two stars rates: Outstanding.

One star rates: Simply delicious.

We are thrilled to its to have three of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers, BOW, get the 3 star award: Welsh Vension Centre, Monty’s Brewery and Miss Daisy’s Kitchen. Plus more of our BOW were successful in attaining one and two stars, a massive achievement in the face of such strong competition.

Here is a selection of our BOW Great Taste Award winners:

 

Product Description Rating Company Name
Rack of Welsh lamb from our own farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park 3 Welsh Venison Centre & Beacons Farm Shop
5.6% Full bodied oatmeal stout. Crafted to remove gluten to less than 20PPM. Certified by Coeliac UK. Bottle conditioned. 3 Monty’s Brewery Ltd
A spicy, dry carrot chutney that’s flavoured with Nigella seeds, Turmeric and Star Anise. Great with curries, poppadoms and cold meat platters. 3 Miss Daisy’s Kitchen
Wholemeal Spelt flour made from organic British grain. Stoneground with No additives and nothing taken away 2 Felin Talgarth Mill Ltd
This is made in small batches using the freshest brown crab from cardigan bay and is 100% brown and white crab meat with no additives. 2 Cardigan Bay Fish
Made in small batches using hand-picked fresh brown crab meat a delicious tasting (not too crabby). 2 Cardigan Bay Fish
Mild soured cream made with Welsh cream 2 Daffodil Foods Ltd.
At 5.2% ABV, this amber IPA has a twist of tangerine and citrus from US and New Zealand hops, balanced on a slightly sweet, malty body. 2 Purple Moose Brewery Ltd
Venison haunch steak cooked medium-rare, lean, low in fat, healthy from our own farm in the Brecon Beacons National Park. 2 Welsh Venison Centre & Beacons Farm Shop
100% juice cider made from single variety Yarlington Mill bittersweet apples, lightly sparkling, cold fermentation using winemakers yeast. 6.0% 2 Apple County Cider Co
Organic botanical gin. 2 Da Mhile Distillery
3.9% Alc. A chestnut coloured traditional style malty bitter. Bottle conditioned beer may have sediment. Pour gently 2 Monty’s Brewery Ltd
Raspberry preserve with crushed cardamom seeds 2 Radnor Preserves
5.0% abv. A complex red-hued IPA – Crystal and Rye malts provide the canvas for an array of US hops 2 Brecon Brewing
Raw milk washed-rind cheese. 2 Caws Teifi Cheese
Organic spread made with crunchy tigernuts, real coconut, roasted cashew nuts and sea salt. For toast, sandwiches or cooking. 1 Bim’s Kitchen
A sweet, savoury syrup made with Welsh Denbigh plums, baobab and a hint of cinnamon. For toast, ice cream, pancakes, fruit or baking 1 Bim’s Kitchen
A fiery, aromatic relish\stir-fry ingredient for seafood, meat & vegetables made with coconut, chillies and spices. 1 Bim’s Kitchen
A dark red chutney with pieces of crushed chillies and chopped tomatoes.Sweet apples blend with the spice for a chutney of medium heat. 1 Welsh Lady Preserves
Artisan gluten free hand made bread with a moist texture having sunflower and other seeds added giving a slight nutty taste 1 Welsh Gluten Free Bakery Products
Everything needed to make a delicious wholemeal loaf from flour milled at our water mill using locally grown wheat 1 Felin Talgarth Mill Ltd
Smooth mackerel pate made in small batches using fresh chives and spring onion,soft cheese great served on crackers. 1 Cardigan Bay Fish
A moist cake filled with tangy orange pieces and sweet honey to give a citrus burst to a traditional welsh cake 1 Tan Y Castell Foods Ltd
This 24 month old cheddar is made at a dairy on the Llyn Peninsula then matured 500ft underground in a slate mine – giving it great depth of flavour. 1 South Caernarfon Creameries
A smooth, soft luxury Fudge with mixed Nuts, Vine Fruits and Christmas Spices. 1 Sarah Bunton Chocolates
Chocolate Ice cream rippled with a peanut crunch paste and a chocolate & Hazelnut sauce 1 Forte’s Ice Cream
Goats’ cheese Ice cream with ginger snap biscuits rippled with Amarena cherries. 1 Forte’s Ice Cream
A traditional Italian style dairy ice cream, made using local organic Welsh dairy produce. 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Salted Caramel flavour ice cream. A traditional Italian style dairy ice cream, made using local organic Welsh dairy produce. 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Elderflower Ice Cream. Organic Elderflower cordial is added to traditional Italian style dairy ice cream base, made using local organic Welsh produce. 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Crunchy honeycomb pieces and a caramel sauce are added to a traditional Italian style dairy ice cream, made using local organic Welsh dairy produce. 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream. Frozen whole strawberries added to traditional Italian style dairy ice cream base, made using local organic Welsh dairy produce 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Raspberry sorbet made using real fruit and organic sugar. 1 Conti’s Ice Cream
Bio-Live Natural Yogurt, using whole cow’s milk and Bio-Live Cultures Lactobasillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium with added blossom Honey. 1 Llaeth Y Llan Cyf (t/a Village Dairy)
A smooth, rich, chocolate and vanilla stout with a balanced subtle bitterness. Brewed to 4.5% ABV. 1 Purple Moose Brewery Ltd
Homemade Venison Faggots. Made from our own farmed, red deer within the Brecon Beacons national park. our own recipe. Handmade 1 Welsh Venison Centre & Beacons Farm Shop
100% juice cider made from single variety Michelin bittersweet apples, infused with pure fresh pressed rhubarb juice, lightly sparkling. 4.0% 1 Apple County Cider Co
Chunks of Pork and Chorizo balanced with a vegetable, chickpea, tomato, and cider based broth. 1 Blas ar Fwyd Cyf
A thick, fresh pea soup with coarsely cut home-cooked ham. 1 Blas ar Fwyd Cyf
A couverture chocolate brownie enhanced with molasses undertones, almost fudge like in texture. 1 Blas ar Fwyd Cyf
Banana Cake, filled with pieces of cranberries, dense and flavoursome. 1 Clam’s Handmade Cakes
4.2% Alc. Golden ale with subtle floral and citrus hop characteristic. Bottle conditioned beer may have sediment. Pour gently 1 Monty’s Brewery Ltd
Blackcurrant & Vanilla Preserve 1 Radnor Preserves
Welsh Pinot Noir Précoce 2015 12% Vol 1 White Castle vineyard
3.8% abv dry & bitter golden ale, single hopped with a classic British hop and brewed with our unique Brewer’s yeast 1 Mantle Brewery Limited
The only British organic milk drink of its kind, schools approved, nothing artificial & flavoured with only the best natural vanilla & organic cocoa. 1 Daioni Organic

Showing 1 to 46 of 46 entries

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To see the full list of Welsh winners click here

Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for fine food and drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands. Since 1994 over 110,000 products have been assessed. During 2016, 10,000 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.

How does it all work?

In 2017 over 500 judges, including specially trained food writers inputting judges’ comments, came together at 62 judging days from March through to early July. This year the Great Taste judging roadshow took a turn at the impressive Llandrillo College, north Wales, as guests of the Welsh Government. As ever we have judged at specialist test centres for tea, filter coffee and espresso with the remainder of the judging days at Guild HQ in Dorset and our new venue and permanent home close to Borough Market, London. The judges, from all corners of the food world, blind-taste in teams of 3 or 4 ensuring we get a balance of expertise, age and gender..

What should buyers look for?

The logo. This is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.

I can only congratulate all our BOW winners – this is proof if further proof were needed that Wales has superb food and drink producers.

 
 

No Press Passes for Haverfoodfest

08 May

Over the last two years we have attended the Haverfoodfest. We’ve simply rocked up, presented our business cards, explained who we were and we’d no hassle getting in. We always saw a few of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and last year had a chat with visiting politicians including MP Steve Crabb.

For some reason this year though, after checking out their website, I used their email link which was directed to ‘admin’ and asked for 2 press tickets and a car pass. On 4th May I got notice of my email being re-directed to Lise – saying ‘think this is for you’. I’ve no idea who Lise is, or her role, but from my side it does help if there is a press contact on festival websites. Now with hindsight it seems press is not welcomed at Haverfoodfest, or maybe that’s perhaps Lise doesn’t want Welsh Country magazine to attend. I didn’t get a response, despite chasing again on 5th.

I’d actually only emailed to do my job properly, but as no hassle last year, I didn’t expect it this year, but how wrong I was. After a 90 minutes drive we got to Haverfordwest on the Saturday morning about 11.00. The event opened at 10.00 and when we drove in there were visitors going in in the bright, sunny weather. There were oodles of people milling around, all wearing the obligatory yellow vests. Ian talked to the guys on the gate and they decided they couldn’t let us in, so we were told to wait and shortly a lady called Carol came across. She said she’d replied to my email and was surprised I’d not get it, deciding it must ‘have got lost’. Well of course it must have. I explained that I was hardly going to undertake a 3 hour round trip to visit if I’d been told by email I couldn’t have press tickets. Her comment was puzzling  to me as she’d sent my initial email onto Lise and surely that meant Lise should have replied to me, doesn’t it? I thought that was strange and in my view very unprofessional, unhelpful and unwelcoming. Carol then said she’d been told ‘they’ weren’t doing anything with magazines. Again another puzzle. Not at all clear as to what that meant as Ian had been told ‘they’ weren’t going to advertise with Welsh Country magazine, but were going with a Pembrokeshire ‘magazine’ title. That’s fair enough, ‘they’ didn’t advertise with us in the previous year, so we were not going to miss something we never had!

Carol told us it we wished to attend of course we could and as it was only £3.00 each to enter, which she thought was reasonable. I didn’t think press having to pay was reasonable, so we turned around and left. We attend a huge number of events every year to work and the cost would be well in excess of £1000.00 just in entrance fees each year.  Discounting Abergavenny, this is the first time in thirteen years that Welsh Country magazine has not been allowed press tickets for an event. I’m still unsure why press, or more specifically Welsh Country magazine, was not welcomed, but there we are.

I can only hope that the food & drink producers that attended did well and the purchases I’d have made weren’t missed. Never mind, I can go to St Dogmaels’ produce market tomorrow and play local food catch-up, knowing that the selection of producers there will be a good as ever and we’ll be welcomed too!

I always look for a positive in each post, it’s not always easy, when I’m discussing Welsh food and drink, but this time it is for me as I shall not have to attend this event again.

 
 

Food Festival Funding for 2017

27 Apr

Food festival funding in Wales, now let me start this post with some good news – wag food sent this to Ian today with words that we can circulate it to anyone with an interest in Welsh Food & Drink. Well that’s a good start and although for me 7 months too late to get this information – this is progress with wag food talking to us. We’ll be sending it out tonight to all our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and anyone else who has been asking/pestering us for this news! I haven’t posted the application form, but if anyone wants it, just email me and I’ll zap it over, but here’s, in full, the application guidelines:

Strategic Business Growth: Welsh Food and Drink events

Grant Scheme Application Guidelines

Before completing the application for funding form please read through guidelines below:

  1. Scheme Aims.

1.1 The evolution of food events has seen beneficial development in many directions including the creation of market development opportunities for producers beyond the festival circuit, consumer health and education initiatives, and a variety of added value to the local economy.

1.2 The aims of the Strategic Business Growth Grant scheme will be to:

  • Increase the opportunity for new and existing micro and small businesses to test trade, developing marketing/sales skills and local sales opportunities.
  • Increase local engagement in skills/healthy eating.
  • Develop sustainable local food opportunities in line with the Food Tourism Action Plan for Wales.
  • Provide a clear opportunity for locally/regionally sourced Welsh food and drink to be available.
  • Develop community links and partner organisational engagement.
  • Encourage Local Food Tourism development.

1.3 Applications will need to demonstrate that the funding will provide evident advantage to the Welsh food and drink industry, as well as incorporate defined objectives of the Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020.

1.4 Only activities that will clearly add value to the food and drink industry in Wales will be supported. Further guidance on criteria and examples of eligible activity are issued below.

  1. Who can apply?

2.1 The scheme will be open to food festivals and markets, including one off and annual events which have a defined Welsh Food and Drink offer with the activity happening within Wales.

  1. a) Representative of producers and/or Tourism organisation who have a membership of Welsh Food and/or Drink businesses.
  2. b) Not for profit agencies or voluntary associations.

Strategic Business Growth: Welsh Food and Drink events

  1. c) Joint applications from Food/Tourism groups and business agencies.
  2. d) Individuals applying for activity/ies that will promote and benefit the wider food and tourism industry.

2.2 If an application is proposing a new event/activity, organisational structure and current/future plans must be provided, underlining capacity and ability to deliver.

2.3 The scheme is discretionary and every application is judged on its own merits and the quality of the information provided.

  1. Funding Available

The Strategic Business Growth grant scheme has a budget of £100,000, with a maximum budget of up to £5,000 available per application, funded at up to 100% of the costs.

All Festivals and events should demonstrate their commitment to longer term financial security, therefore funding support will be limited to a maximum of 3 years per festival/ event, subject to annual application and budget availability.

  1. Scheme Criteria

4.1 Applications will need to demonstrate how event proposals will address one or more of the following strategic aims:

  • Providing a trading platform for new Welsh food and drink businesses that have been trading for less than 2 years.
  • Educating consumers about Welsh food and drink.
  • Promoting healthy eating.

4.2 Proposed events must have a presence of at least 25 Welsh food and drink exhibitors and minimum footfall of 2,500 visitors.

4.3 The whole cost of the event must be shown in the application form, however the following elements will be eligible for funding:

  • Cookery demonstrations – promoting local/Welsh produce and healthy eating
  • Marketing/advertising materials.
  • Subsidised or discounted stand / marquee costs for new producers (trading for less than 2 years) – maximum 5 pitches.
  • Other reasonable revenue costs (non-statutory) that are required for the proposed activity to be delivered.

Strategic Business Growth: Welsh Food and Drink events

4.4 Collaborative or joint bids are encouraged, as well as innovative and new activities. Collaborative bids, of two or more events/applicants, will be capped at £10,000.

4.5 This tier will be operated via a streamlined application process. Statutory accounts will be required for established events as well as any relevant policies, Welsh Language provision and Waste Management plans. New events will be required to supply a 12-month financial projection for the year when you will spend the grant. Please include the amount you are requesting from this grant scheme in your projection.

4.6 Any written materials (including signage and information published online), must be provided in Welsh and English, unless it would be unreasonable or disproportionate to do so. Guidance about providing services and written materials in Welsh can be obtained from the Welsh Language Commissioner by visiting www.comisiynyddygymraeg.org

  1. Scoring Criteria

5.1 The following criteria will be used when assessing ALL applicants:

  • Fit with scheme aims

Applicants are expected to demonstrate that the event will fit the aims of the Strategic Business Grant Scheme, as listed in section 1.2 above.

  • Meet with strategic aims

Applicants are expected to demonstrate that the event will address one or more of the Strategic Business Grant Scheme strategic aims, as listed in section 4.1 above.

  • Value for money

Applications are expected to demonstrate that the proposal is good value for money. Further information is noted in section 7 below.

  • Innovation

An economically vibrant and forward thinking industry must be innovative to capture markets and move forwards. Applications need to demonstrate a level of innovation, as noted in section 4.4 above.

  • Defined clear outputs and objectives

Applicants need to demonstrate the funding will provide evident advantage to the food and drink industry in Wales. Event outputs and objectives are an efficient way of measuring its success.

Strategic Business Growth: Welsh Food and Drink events

  • Capacity and ability to deliver.

 Applicants must demonstrate the capacity and the ability to deliver. New applicants must provide evidence, as noted in section 2.2 above. Financial statements from existing events will also be taken into consideration.

  • Collaborative delivery

Collaborations or partnerships with one or more applicants could improve project efficiency, the use of funds and the better delivery of activities to beneficiaries. Collaborative delivery is encouraged and noted in section 4.4 above.

6. Timescales Date
27th April 2017 Strategic Business Growth grant scheme launch
27th April 2017 First grant scheme application window opens
18th May 2017 First grant scheme application window closes
9th June 2017 All successful applicants to receive written confirmation
1st June 2017 Second grant scheme application window opens
1st July 2017 Second grant scheme application window closes
1st August 2017 All successful applicants to receive written confirmation
1st March 2018 All claims to be received no later than this date

Well I hope you find this of interest and it does show you as producers the paperwork our organisers have to complete, the boxes they have to tick and all this for £5k maximum. What has horrified me is that this year’s budget is just £100k and I look back just to 2008 when the budget was £376,786.99 when 43 festivals were funded when the ‘big boys’, Cardiff, Abergavenny and Mold had roughly £30k each and Conwy at £16k. I am seriously struggling with only £100k for 2017 when the government have set their stake high to achieve 30%??? growth through their Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020. If food and drink is so important to Wales, to our food and drink producers and our visitors why is this budget constantly being cut? Not sure what I’m missing here, but I’m obviously missing something………………….

Those festivals running early I’m told, their applications will be fast tracked.Well that’s something but in my opinion, still not good enough.

I’m concerned too about 2,500 visitors, wag food require. How can those festivals running in towns, do a visitor count that is worth wag box ticking? That to me is ridiculous and I’ve forgotten how many festival press releases have been sent to me claiming they’ve had 10,000 people through a one day festival that is held in a town that not only hasn’t got car parking for 1,000 cars it doesn’t run a park & ride either! Another concern is that wag insist on 25 Welsh food and drink stands which on the face of it sounds fine but not if the festival has 200 stands there! I get very cross with wag food putting forward their criteria when I can’t see how much of it will work or be of benefit. Festival funding is usually evaluated, but I just hope it is evaluated by a Quango with a common sense attitude, but please don’t ask me to name one, as I think I’d struggle – but unless it is done in that manner it will be no help to our organisers or wag food. So my view is that these are often pointless, a waste of time and money. Our festivals have had so many evaluations done and I for one can’t see them being very beneficial.

 

 
 

Food Festival Funding

06 Feb

Food Festival Funding, as happens each year, I’m getting asked what’s happening about Welsh Government food festival funding. Sadly, as always, I haven’t a clue. I’ve heard many rumours, but can assure you when wag food tell me – which hopefully they will – our Best Of Welsh & Border producers will be the first to know. Plus then it will be posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

One producer suggested I ask the Welsh Government’s press office, which certainly made me chuckle as seemingly he’s been reading welshfoodbites otherwise he’s know that for the second time the wag press office have refused to answer any questions from me, as Welsh Country magazine. Apparently we posted on welshcountry.co.uk a press release from Open Spaces Group, but wag press office, as so many people do, visited our welshcountry website and spotted the Open Spaces post. We were then in trouble because we as Welsh Country hadn’t gone back to the press office to give them a right of reply! Apparently the press office expects a right of reply on issues/articles that relate to the Welsh Government, which they say they get from all other Welsh media. So the Welsh Government press office now class welshcountry.co.uk as ‘merely a depository for unchallenged press releases’ and believe we should make that clear on our site. I’m perfectly happy with welshcountry.co.uk, I’m thrilled with visitor numbers we get on our site and the positve feedback we get from it too! If we had the time and the staff to read through in detail every press release we post and thenh if wag was mentioned I might consider doing just that, but it seems they are ok with my chasing them up three times for a question I wanted answered. The press office appear unconcerned that we do not post any Welsh Government press releases on welshcountry.co.uk  or in Welsh Country magazine, not sure why that is……..

I find this attitude petty and pointless and achieves nothing apart from the press office trying to stamp their influence on Welsh Country magazine. This is the second occasion the wag press office have refused to answer my questions, I find it simply annoying and frustrating. So no questions answered through the press office but thank goodness the Freedom Of Information Act, (FOI), is still an option open to me,  albeit it takes 20 days to achieve that. Perhaps if wag press office were funding their own office and staff and were not being paid for by the tax payer, they’d realised how expensive and time consuming the FOI is. Yes I realise I’m being harsh and unfair as it’s unrealistic for me to expect civil servants to understand the difference between civil servants and those running businesses.

Anyway the latest news on food festival funding for 2017 is there isn’t any. Food festivals that are advertising this year will of course get our support in Welsh Country magazine, on our website and of course on social media too but if/when a list of Welsh Government funded food festivals is ‘sent’ through to me it will as always be sent around our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and then posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

Sorry I can’t give you the information you are asking me for but that’s the situation we are in.

 
 

BOW Winners At Dairy Exhibitor Awards AT RWAS

21 Jul

Good news in that a number of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers were scooping the honours in the Dairy Produce Awards held at the Royal Welsh Show this week. Well done guys. Here they are just some of them as there were such a lot:

The Aeron Valley Cheese Masters Perpetual Trophy Awarded for Supreme Champion Cheese.

Caws Cenarth

The Eurwen Richards Award For The Best Produced Cheese.

Caws Cenarth

The Marks & Spencer Perpetual Trophy for The Best Regional Cheese.

Caws Cenarth

Special RWAS Prize Card & Rosette Awarded To President’s Preference In Cheese Section.

Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

The Caws Cenarth Perpetual Trophy Awarded For Excellence In Cheese Making HNOP.

Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Farmhouse Classes.

Traditional Welsh Caerphilly.

Place   Exhibitor     

1.  Caws Cenarth

2.  Caws Teifi Cheese

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Farmhouse Hard Pressed Cheese (excluding Caerphilly).

  1. Caws Teifi Cheese

2. Caws Teifi Cheese

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Farmhouse Smoked Cheese, Hard Pressed.

  1. Caws Teifi Cheese
  2. Caws Cenarth
  3. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Tonnes/Week, Any Variety, Cow’s Milk.

  1. Caws Cenarth
  2. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company
  3. Caws Teifi Cheese

Cheese, Any Variety, Not Cow’s Milk.

  1. Caws Cenarth
  2. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Cheese, Any Variety Not To Exceed 0.5kg, Any Milk.

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company
  2. Caws Cenarth
  3. Caws Teifi Cheese

New Cheese Not Previously Exhibited At RWAS, Any Variety, Any Milk.

  1. Caws Cenarth
  2. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Hard Cheese, Savoury Additive.

  1. Caws Teifi Cheese
  2. South Caernarfon Creameries
  3. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Hard Cheese, Sweet Additive.

  1. Caws Cenarth

Any Other Named Variety.

  1. Caws Cenarth

Soft Cheese, Any Variety, Natural (No Additives).

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company
  2. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Organic Cheese, Hard Variety.

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company

Organic Cheese, Soft Variety.

  1. Carmarthenshire Cheese Company
  2. Caws Cenarth

One 250g Pack Of Salted Farm Butter, Any Milk.

  1. Bodnant Welsh Food

 

Best Of Welsh & Borders producers were awarded prizes in the yogurt classes prizes including: Village Dairy, Hufenfa’r Castell and Trioni Ltd.

 
 

Where’s This Year’s Food Festival Funding?

05 Apr

I was not going to post about food festival funding again, as since 2011 this has been a regular post and achieved nothing apart from highlighting wag foods lack of concern for the food festival organisers that work so hard for Welsh food and drink. Well that was my plan but after being asked constantly by food and drink producers and some organisers – this ongoing problem needs airing yet again.

However despite my best intnetions to get wag foo to recognise this is a serious problem, raising this issue doesn’t hit home with wag food. Them not knowing about food festival funding doesn’t lower their monthly pay packet, it doesn’t cause them any stress or worry and ‘should’ they attend any farmers’ markets, our Welsh food and drink producers will not know them, so no questions will be asked of them. Perhaps that explains wag foods’ apathy on this issue.

Over the last weeks I’ve attended Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth farmers’ markets and at both of those markets I was asked what was happening about food festivals, were festivals being funded this year as I’d not sent them a list of which festivals were being funded. So you see producers think it is down to me to send them a list of festivals that are being funded, it’s not wag food’s job to tell producers what’s happening regarding funding. I’m really not sure whether to be angry or sad as it seems to me our producers just don’t expect wag food to communicate to them – it’s still apprently down to me. It’s a pity  some of our producers haven’t grasped that wag food tell me nothing and the press office tell me very little either. Just because I publish Welsh Country magazine that covers the whole of Wales and focuses heavily on Welsh food and drink, why should wag food tell me what’s happening and keep me in the proverbial Welsh food and drink loop? Answers on a postcard on that one guys.

For those organisers running early in the year, it’s vital for them to know if they are getting funding and how much. I don’t think asking about food festival funding is unreasonable questions, but the problem is they are asking the wrong person. But in fairness I don’t know any food producer who is brave enough to ask wag food themselves? Makes me think of don’t disturb the sleeping giant! If I was dishing out food festival money, festivals would have been told what was happening at the end of last year. There has to be a way to plan ahead, even with budgets I cannot accept that wag food make no effort to do that. Wag food’s lack of concern and understanding for food festival organisers, is beyond belief. Without food festival organisers, we’d have no food festivals and they would not stand a hope of making the targets set for them by this government. So it’s way past time that wag food treated our organisers with some respect.

So feeling pushed into tackling this old problem once again, on 22nd March I emailed the wag press office as I’m now allowed to contact them. I was then told that they weren’t sure about timings on food festival funding, but they will make sure that Welsh Country will receive any press release ‘when/if it is issued’. I was also told that wag will be entering the pre-election period from early April and the press office will be unable to issue press releases during the run up to the National Assembly elections on May 5th.

On being told this I went back to the press office as they’d obviously not realised that if they can’t answer my question by return, I need to know when they can do so. But I was told once again that they can’t issue press releases during the pre-election period, perhaps that was necessary in case I hadn’t understood that the first time. My point remains that even if they can’t issue a press release until after the elections, why can’t wag food tell the organisers NOW how much funding they’ll get? I cannot believe that wag food haven’t got that information sorted yet, but as it’s wag food, maybe they haven’t. But seriously what’s so difficult about doing that? We have festivals running in May and June, it’s now April and organsiers don’t know if they are getting any funding. If festivals didn’t need funding, I doubt very much they’d bother jumping through wag food’s many hoops, but they’ve done their paperwork, it’s been completed and all they can do is wait and wait and wait………………………………………..

I was promised they’d find out some more information for me timing wise, but nothing through so far, despite a further reminder to the press office on 30/3.

How this system or lack of a system gets changed, I no longer know. I’ve always thought my views and comments about food festivals and their funding has been constructive and helpful, but wag food can’t agree as no changes have really been made. After five years of trying, perhaps the sensible option is to accept that I’ve been wasting my time and wag food are too stuck in a rut to imporve their system of funding. Wag’s solutions looks to be doing endless surveys through Wavehill, but that’s gone nowhere, just cost us more money and annoys producers.

For those of us that care about food festivals and in theory that should include wag food, letting organisers know about funding early on is vital. I believe we lost 2 good, early running festivals over the years in huge part because of this problem. I totally despair of this department’s failure to let festivals know whether they’ve got funding from wag or not. It is simply not acceptable. This department never seems to learn anything. Goodness knows for sure how many surveys wag food have paid for and how mnay times this issue of not knowing about funding has been raised, but nothing changes. Which makes me ask about surveys, why do them when wag food seem to ignore them?

When wag food have the time and inclination to reveal which festivals have been funded, I shall as always email the list to our Best Of Welsh & Border producers – as it will save wag food a job – sorry poor joke we know wag food don’t do that!

 

 
 

Fish Week Cancelled

10 Feb

Today I’ve received the sad news about Fish Week. Follows is the press releases in full:

Pembrokeshire County Council has announced with regret that it has cancelled this year’s Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival although it will return in 2016.

Kate Morgan, the County Council’s Food Development Manager who organises the event, has health problems which will necessitate her absence from work for some months and put a considerable strain on resources.

Cabinet Member, Councillor Keith Lewis, said: “We feel that to go ahead and try to run with what would be a much scaled-down festival could be very damaging to the its current profile and detrimental to its future, as well as disappointing to its attendees. However, looking at it positively, we are in the middle of planning a structural change to the festival to move it to a social enterprise model, and a break for one year will give us a great opportunity to move towards this successfully. It will give us more time to plan for the new structure, looking at fresh ideas and at income streams which can assist in the growth and sustainability of the festival, and allow us to come back revitalised and better in 2016.”

This is another blow for Welsh food and drink and a further disappointment for some of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers, as this is yet another food festival that’s not running this year.

 
 

Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme

06 Feb

Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme has been a regular post over the last few years, through the interest and puzzlement from our Best Of Welsh & Border producers. I have posted about two schemes in particular, Fork2Fork and Pembrokeshire Produce Direct. I’d like to say I’d investigated both these, but not sure that is an accurate description as I’ve been blocked all the way on trying to find out what benefit, if any, has been generated by these two projects.

Well today another comment arrived by post from a helpful person called Anon. I can understand some people wishing to mail me a comment and other useful information. But although I promise everyone that comments left on welshfoodbites.co.uk, will not reveal who you are – hence the number of comments from: BOW, producer, trader and foodie, the only info you must supply is an email address. I can assure you that email is only seen by me. If you then think that your email will be sent elsewhere, you do not know me very well! I refused to reveal my sources to our Rural Food Minister – back in the day when we had a Welsh Food Minister – and NO-ONE will get such information out of me, even if that marks me once more as a trouble-maker.   

But back to my SCES post which promoted the sender to communicate with me after reading it. The sender was expressing concern at the PPD project, wondering why I’d not mentioned Pembrokeshire County Council’s, (PCC), involvement. Well in my many posts about this topic, I most certainly have because PCC loaned PPD money to get this project off the ground before the SCES funding came through. PCC’s food officer, was I think also on the board at one stage. But when I put up a new post I cannot cover the whole story from the beginning as it would just take too long and then I’m at risk at boring my regular readers. However if SCES were paying me a yearly fee of £43k to keep my website updated, as they did with fork2fork, then I’m sure could afford the time to do that!!!

When PPD was set up, I as a journalist was sent very little information and precious little detail. Actually if I think back, I don’t actually think I was sent any information at all, but as I can’t be sure, I’ll try to be fair. I was told by the SCES team that it was up to each project to do promotion or not, they didn’t have too! My updates/complaints came from producers, as we had some of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers in the Pembrokeshire area.  

I’m aware that PPD scheme won some awards, but let’s be honest, can anyone remember what they were? Being the cynical journalist, unless I rate who is judging, I find many awards meaningless, but lest we forget, that does of course tick another box on the wag/SCES sheets. I’m told a review is underway, but we’ll not get sight of this until the end of this year. We’ve not been given a final date for publication, but then I wouldn’t have, because this after all is wag in control. The final crunch is I guess, we’ll not believe much of it. Yet some company will have been paid a fortune to collate this report, and that is important so wag can tick yet another box. Then will anyone be able to find this report? Maybe not – as I suspect it will be buried somewhere on wag’s website. I’ve asked wag if they’ll send me a copy when published, but not holding my breath on that one!

The crunch for me is why were these two projects given the go-ahead initially? Was the reason they got their cash because they could ‘talk-a-good game?’ Both these projects got start-off funding of £800k each with Fork2Fork getting much, much more as time has gone on. (The total cost of the PPD project was £789,660 and received £469,596 from SCES and the remainder from other sources. My sender thinks that PPD got the green light because of the strong link between PCC and PPD but that doesn’t apply for Fork2Fork scheme, the strong link there is the person who headed the Fork2Fork scheme, had strong connections with wag food.    

I don’t lay any blame at all with the food producers, my gossip is PCC wanted their own producer scheme and of course they got it. But a lot of egg has been left on a lot of faces, but we need to know who has got an eggy face! PCC got what they wanted at huge cost to the Welsh tax-payer and now it bites the dust and there’ no explanation as far as I know from PCC. I’m told as PPD was heading downwards, they backed away, but sadly that is only hearsay. I’m not convinced that PCC will explain any clearer than Wag will and just feel this can of worms will remain unopened. 

I’d be a total idiot if I couldn’t work out that I’m being blocked and fobbed off trying to understand what was the thinking behind these two projects. What was achieved and if the taxpayer has actually seen any value in the money that has been spent on their behalf. Or perhaps an easier way is to ask our Welsh food and drink producers what value they’ve seen from these two projects. ……………………………….

The other important thing to remember is these are only two of the schemes from a whole string of projects that received funding under the SCES. So how much money has proved worthwhile and how much has simply been wasted? We’ll just never be told the truth from what purports to be an open government.        

 

 
 

New Date For Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival

09 Dec

Sunday 24th – Monday 25th May 2015.

Many of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers are regulars at the Cowbridge Food & Drink festival and I can understand why as it is such a good festival. Cowbridge have changed their date for next year, instead of running in October, I think a reminder is in order as the closing date for tradestand applications is the 31st December.

To help, we are emailing all our BOW producers with Cowbridge’s Expressions of Interest Form but it is important you get that completed as soon as possible. I appreciate at this busy time of year many of you might just forget to apply, but I’m hoping our reminder will secure you a stand at this brilliant festival. Do bear in mind though that this festival is so popular they are always oversubscribed for stands. So my suggestion would be to fill in your form carefully and don’t expect the committee to remember who you are and what you sell!!!!

Cowbridge is one of my favourite festivals and I love working with their PR guru Polly Wilson. Many of you will already be aware of the change of date to the May Bank holiday and if they get the better weather that they deserve it will be another great and profitable festival for our BOW producers.