HAMPSHIRE’S food, drink and craft group is celebrating the success of the 16th Local Produce Trade Show.

More than 60 artisan food and drink businesses from across the region showcased their produce to buyers from hospitality, leisure, and retail at the Hilton at the Utilita Bowl on Tuesday, February 6.

Hampshire Fare has been supporting producers for more 30 years and involved in the Local Produce Trade Show since its inception 16 years ago. The Local Produce Trade Show was originally established by Business South in support of the cruise sector, however over the years the show’s remit has broadened and now enables local produce to be showcased to a wide audience.

As part of the event, Hampshire Fare helps organise the chefs’ panel, featuring some of the area’s top chefs who provide an insight into working with local produce, sustainable practices, and emerging dining trends.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire Fare Team (Natasha centre)Hampshire Fare Team (Natasha centre) (Image: Cath Lowe Photography)

This year Hampshire Fare was also responsible for a new feature: the skills’ panel. This shone a spotlight on a range of food-related experiences through the ages. The panel included Dawn Harrison, head teacher, St Francis CE Primary School, along with pupil Robin Ashley, who aspires to be a chef, a first-generation farmer, Emma Hunt of Dandys Ford Dairy, and Herbert Berger, a retired Michelin chef who had cooked for high profile guests, among them HM Queen Elizabeth II, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger.

Natasha Dochniak, commercial manager of Hampshire Fare, said: "It was my first Local Produce Trade Show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see so many Hampshire Fare members showcasing their products and I really enjoyed hosting the skills’ panel.

"My three Ps of Hampshire Fare - people, produce and passion - shone through as a recurring theme among panellists. We are extremely lucky to have so much incredible local produce here on our doorstep and today was a shining example of that. “I am looking forward to working in partnership with Business South to ensure this event goes from strength to strength.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Headteacher Dawn Harrison and pupil Robin on the skills panelHeadteacher Dawn Harrison and pupil Robin on the skills panel (Image: Cath Lowe Photography)

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Many of the producers, such as Blackmoor Estate and Homemade Brownie Company used the show to launch new product ranges and services.

Tracy Thew of New Forest Shortbread said: “The Local Produce Trade Show is an excellent opportunity to meet buyers face to face and learn from them what they need. As a small producer, it is so important to get that interaction and  hear what customers want.”

Leigh Sara Timberlake, Business South Group CEO, said: “We really do love the Local Produce Trade Show – it is such a positive event for our region and we get to showcase truly delicious food and drink. It is so gratifying to hear from the producers how this event has led to significant orders being placed and long-lasting business relationships being formed.”

Click on the top image to view a gallery taken by Cath Lowe Photography.