Real Food Festival Delivers the Real Thing from Small Producers


Photo: B. Alter

The Real Food Festival is a chance to meet the small, artisanal producers of some of the food that we love to buy. They are the little guys who are trying to create a revolution in packaged food.

They want to use pure, sometimes organic, ingredients but still sell to a larger market. And they are here to meet that public. Their stories are inspirational and all of them include a big serving of hard work to make a buck.In addition to the over 400 hundred stalls at the Real Food Festival, there was a full roster of chefs talking about their work. Fergus Henderson, who is a national treasure, was one of many offering their skills and comments to the audience. He created the "nose to toe" philosophy, making use of every part of the animals that he cooks. At his unique restaurants he serves offal and other neglected cuts of meat, whilst deriving his recipes from traditional British cuisine. There is often squirrel on the menu, pigeon, or braised rabbit. Not for the vegetarians or faint-hearted.


Photo: B. Alter
Vegware has been making biodegradable and compostable containers and cutlery for a few years now and they are still introducing new lines. Not to miss out on the wedding market, they have a commemorative wedding cup which is fully compostable when the thrill wears off.

Womersley fruit vinegars were a delicious and tasty surprise. It's a family business; the vinegars and jellies are made from the fruits and herbs grown on the family farm. With a sweet delicate taste they are great for cooking meat and fish.


Photo: B. Alter

We couldn't resist the OSOJuicy ready-made breakfasts in a little pot. This small company, started up 18 months ago, began with smoothies which they sold from a converted camper van at summer music festivals and a stand near a busy subway stop. Then they saw a niche: people are in too much of a hurry to make their own breakfasts. Every take-away sandwich place was selling fast breakfasts--why not do a fast and healthy one? The "convenience breakfast" has only 137 calories, isn't sweet at all, and since it has oats is filling. Just the thing to have in the fridge for a really rushed morning.


Photo: B. Alter

The EFJ (Environmental Justice Foundation) was there, with a new campaign on sustainable fishing. Loved the apron.


Photo: B. Alter

The Youth Food Movement is a community of young people working to raise awareness of "good,clean and fair" food for all. They had activities and cooking classes and a catchy canoe and tipi, to promote their group. Kid's Taste Adventure in the tipi included butter churning and apple pressing. It's an off-shoot of the Slow Food Movement.

Their goals are admirable: "Our generation realises that the current food system has come to a point where drastic
 change is needed in order to protect our future. The current food system is 
exploitative, unhealthy and unsustainable. Though the effects differ from country to country
, the Youth Food Movement connects 
projects across the world, creating a stronger, unified voice able to promote the ideals of Slow Food 
and change the future of our food and farming."


Photo: big barn

The last word goes to the farmers; looking for ways to enable people to shop direct, get fresh food and avoid the high costs of super markets. Big Barn is a virtual farmers market and a social enterprise, where foodies can find a close-by farm and order local, seasonal and fresh vegetables and meat directly from them. Going for 11 years now, it is an important way to help farmers remain independent.

More on Real Food Festivals

Organic Planet Festival : Transforming Harmful to Healthful
Slow Food Comes to the UK, Finally
Slow Food Market is Slow Good

Tags: Farmers Markets | Food Miles | Food Safety | Local Food | Organic Agriculture | Recipes

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