Sunday, October 05, 2008

Darlington Food Festival

There's plenty of time today to get yourselves down to the Market Place for the Food Festival.

Sandy, AJ and I went down yesterday - the town centre was packed, despite the Autumn chill. The food tent in the Market Place (video'd above) was heaving and trade seemed to be brisk.

The weekend is a showcase for our local and regional producers - everything from bread, cheese and pickles to dairy products and food with a more exotic touch. As my colleague Cllr. Andy Scott says in the programme introduction, the message is very much about taking a healthier and environmentally friendly approach to buying and cooking food.

Today, as well as the usual supporting acts of bands, face painters, jugglers, balloon makers and the like, Lesley Waters from Ready Steady Cook and This Morning will be giving demonstrations in the food tent at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.


miketually said...

We were down there yesterday afternoon. There's a nice selection of food; I can recommend the fudge.

It was a bit busy to have a proper look around with the two kids with us unfortunately, or we'd probably be having ostrich for tea tonight.

As we had lunch in the Dolphin Centre cafe we commented upon how the market place looks fantastic now that the building between the Pennyweight and the Bakehouse (Foffaffoffafoffanos - they could have picked an easier name to type) has been turned into a cafe.

Bel said...

Went down there today - really good festival, and we spent far too much money mainly on cheese and chilli/ginger/lime sausages!! Great to see local, fresh *real* food on offer...

so why on earth are they opening a Tesco Express in the Cornmill???? How did Tesco ever get permission for that?
It makes me so angry - tell me, what is the point of holding events like the food festival to promote local produce and the market, when supermarkets can just open up anywhere and completely destroy the market and local small businesses?

full rant on my own blog, this just makes me so cross.

Bel said...

Just noticed you are the cabinet member for "sustainable environment"! Out of interest, how does the opening of yet another corporate monopoly supermarket equate with that job?

Darlington Councillor said...

Thanks Mike and Bel.

Bel - I'll put up a link to your blog under 'Darlington sites'.

As for Tesco - well to open a store in the Cornmill the company didn't require planning permission as it constituted an existing use (ie retail). Even had the Council wanted to object, there would have been no grounds to do so.

Opinion seems to be divided on the likely effect on town centre businesses. It's a fraction of the size of the old Feethams proposal, and there is a dearth of places to buy a lot of grocery products within the town centre. I've seen some comment that it will in fact bring people into town, who may then go on to shop elsewhere.

Conversely, of course, some of those who were in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the No to Tesco group have very real fears.

I would simply say that since then, the Council has been working with traders and others to see how the Indoor Market in particular can be revitalised, with a specialist food element.

The health of the indoor market, and retail more generally in the town centre is a key Council priority.

As for my portfolio - well, a number of town centre retailers are making good progress on minimising the impact of their business on the environment - indeed the indoor market is an example of this. I attended a meeting at the beginning of the summer to discuss how the Council's waste collection from trade premises could promote recycling, and I hope to have further news on this soon.

Darlington is beginning to attract a reputation as a town where the community cares about sustainability. I am intending to explore with the supermarkets at some point in the future how we can do more as a town on this key issue.