Prime Minister Visits North Devon+ At North Devon Show

7th August, 2013
Prime Minister David Cameron and Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, showed their support for the work of North Devon+ today with a visit to the Delicious North Devon Marquee at the North Devon Show.

Mr Cameron and Mr Patterson spent around 20 minutes talking to several of the local food and drink businesses who are part of North Devon+ Delicious North Devon dedicated marquee at the Show.  This area showcases 19 local food and drink businesses – exhibitors are selling direct to the public and offering tastings to visitors.

Delicious North Devon is the name for the pioneering North Devon+ project that has helped to put local food and drink businesses on the map, providing bespoke support, mentoring and learning opportunities.  Since launch, the project has assisted 123 businesses, 160 individuals and delivered the annual North Devon FoodFest event, which in 2012 attracted 13,900 visitors.

First to be approached by Mr Cameron was Elisabeth Tubby and Amanda Hancock of Handmade By Moo who produce chutneys and relishes using locally sourced produce.  Mr Cameron tried the Chilli Relish and the Chilli Paste before purchasing a jar of the former. Elisabeth Tubby said: “It’s nice to think that a jar of Handmade by Moo relish will be sitting in the Prime Minister’s kitchen.”

Mr Cameron then visited Tom’s Cakes Tonia Sears  of Tom’s Cakes said: “The Prime Minister seemed genuinely interested in our business story and asked how North Devon+ had helped us.  I explained how, as the Economic Regeneration company for North Devon and Torridge, North Devon+ had provided us with business support and start up guidance.” 

Obviously working up a thirst, Mr Cameron next sampled some Hancocks Devon Cider, Helen Hancock and her young daughter Kate, delighted Mr Cameron and Mr Patterson with a sample of their Dry Cider which is traditionally made just outside South Molton.

Next Mr Cameron visited the Hallwood Fresh Veg  stand, proud winners of the best in show for their stand display. “Mr Cameron asked us how the bad weather last year had affected our crops” explained owner Ruth Kelsey.  “I told him that our sun loving produce was the hardest hit, that we average around 700 pumpkins a year and last year produced just 50”.  

“Being part of the North Devon+ Delicious North Devon presence at the North Devon Show is great for business especially as the sun is shining and people tend to spend a bit more money when the weather is good!”

Rik Pedick of Big Bellies makes delicious tarts using locally sourced ingredients.  “Mr Cameron was interested to discover that we source our chorizo from Cornwall and that it’s made using Devon pork.” Rik went on to explain how Mr Cameron asked how North Devon+ had helped her business. “I told Mr Cameron how North Devon+ had been instrumental in helping me to establish my business, providing support, training, funding and advice. He was clearly interested to find out how, through North Devon+, Defra funding has helped rural businesses to develop and grow.”

Mr Cameron then moved on to visit the Barton Farm Dairy stand.  Barton Farm produce local organic dairy products from the heart of Exmoor.  Linda and Gary Wright said “Mr Cameron was particularly taken with the Barton Blue and asked where he could buy it.”

Isaballe Bromham, Food and Drink Project Manager at North Devon+ said: “The North Devon Show is all about showcasing North Devon, and the North Devon+ Delicious marquee has brought together some great local food and drink producers.  We’re thrilled that the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should single us out and show their support for local businesses by spending time with us today.”