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Members were treated to a sumptuous lunch of local produce, which included roast rose veal and Sussex cheeses washed down with award winning Ridgeview Estate wine.
The past 12 months have been extremely busy for A Taste of Sussex members who continue to expand their ranges at Budgens, Waitrose and Asda. The first Sussex Food and Drink Awards in association with The Priory Partnership, resulted in a wonderful response from the general public, generating over 2,500 votes. A Taste of Sussex members won awards in numerous categories including Best Sussex Food Shop; Sussex and the City, Meeting House Lane, Brighton, Best Sussex Food Producer; Cocoaloco, Partridge Green (artisan chocolate) and Best Sussex Drink Producer; Fallen Angel Brewery, Battle.
“I am delighted to announce that we have secured SEEDA (South East England Development Agency) funding, which will secure our future until 2010,” said Hilary Knight, co-ordinator of A Taste of Sussex. “We now have 140 members, all producing the highest quality local produce. Our aims for the next three years include raising the profile of rural food retailing, by highlighting to tourists and locals alike the opportunities to buy local produce locally. The food is not only fresher but also creates a sense of community as it helps everyone to become more involved in their local area.”
The guest speaker at the lunch was Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate, who spoke about her new venture, Judges Bakery in Hastings. “These days I have a new crusade – against the ‘clone town’,” said Jo Fairley “Against clone food and shops, and high streets. We had an opportunity to build a business with one of the most talented bakers in Britain and we wanted a gentler, friendlier pace of life. The opportunity to open an artisan bakery in Hastings was just too good to miss. Two years later, the pavement outside the bakery throngs with locals who’ve bumped into each other for a chat. We now turn over a staggering £1800 per square foot – hopefully a source of great inspiration to A Taste of Sussex members, especially when considering Sainsbury’s feel they are doing well if they manage £900 per square foot.”