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Meet the Greater Manchester producer
Visit Manchester recently showcased some of our finest producers and introduced them to potential buyers. Where better to host an event like this but on a barge cruise on the River Irwell, from the renowned Mark Addy on the riverside in Salford.
Executive chef Robert Owen Brown is a long standing supporter of local produce, so was happy to rustle up some dishes using local ingredients brought by the producers.
Pies are a stereotypical Manchester foodstuff, and rightly so, as we're actually really good at making them. Three different pie makers came along to prove it. Bradley's Bakery in Ashton aka 'The Home of the Best Pork Pie' is a second generation bakery that has been making hundreds of pies every week for over 50 years. They sell them in their shop along with a range of freshly prepared hot and cold sandwiches and cakes which have all been made using locally sourced ingredients. Bradley's have recently launched an online delivery service ensuring your pies reach you by overnight courier if you can't make it to the shop.
Ex-policeman turned award winning pie maker Neil Broomfield from The Great North Pie Company brought along some goat's cheese, red pepper, beetroot and hazelnut pies from the summer menu, along with his classic award winning Lancashire cheese and onion. He makes his range of top quality artisan pies by hand and currently sells them at local farmers markets and events, as well as to a number of quality farm shops and delicatessens.
Peter and Christine from Mrs Love-itt's (Tel. 01706 849852) wowed everyone with their amazing range of scotch eggs. They only started the business 18 months ago from their kitchen in Newhey but have had such an amazing response from customers that they've had to invest in a new floor and more equipment. As well as making Scotch eggs including black pudding, chilli, olives and even a vegetarian one with couscous instead of sausage meat, they also produce an astounding and imaginative range of handmade pies which they sell at local farmers markets. They source most ingredients from within 5 miles, including excellent meat from Bobby's Bangers.
Many producers use local black pudding in their recipes and Debbie Pierce from Bury Black Pudding Co was on board to tell us why theirs are so good. They sell their high quality, award winning black puddings online, through supermarkets, on their stall on Bury market, and also supply wholesale to restaurants, pubs, hotels, butchers and farm shops. Over the past few years, chefs have recognised how versatile this delicious ingredient can be and sales have increased all over the country rather than just in the North.
Many producers have to source their raw ingredients from further afield but then process them in Greater Manchester. Oliviccio import olives from Greece but then stuff and marinate them in lots of delicious ways from their base in Saddleworth. They were especially thrilled to meet Manchester Veg People who represent many growers in the region. It is possible to source herbs and garlic as well as a wide variety of fruit and vegetables grown on farms right here in Greater Manchester. Alan brought along some fresh herbs and salad leaves picked earlier in the day at Glebelands City Growers in Sale which Robert Owen Brown turned into a light summer salad using Burt's Blue Cheese made in Altrincham.
Paul Morris runs The Chocolate Cafe in Ramsbottom and although they import the raw chocolate, they produce their own chocolate bars and truffles using cream specially blended for them by a local dairy farm. Their chocolate is available from their shop and cafe but customers can also buy online or at Booth's supermarkets.
Also from Ramsbottom was Peter Booth from Irwell Works Brewery who recently launched the bi-annual Ramsbottom beer festival. Beer is another product Greater Manchester excels at with over 20 local independent breweries in the region. Irwell Works make a range of traditional bitters, ales and stouts sold by cask and bottles to pubs and retailers throughout the region. They also run brewery tours where people can sample some great dishes made using their own beer.
Paulina and Peter, artisan bakers from 'Of Crust and Crumb' came along to tell us about their wonderful selection of bread. They're in the process of moving from premises in Delph to Tameside so once they're settled they'll be keen to start selling to cafes and delicatessens as well as through the local farmers markets they regularly attend.
Prominent restaurants and retailers such as Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie want to maintain a regional identity and help the economy by sourcing local ingredients, so it was great to see them at our event. Many cafes at our top tourist attractions like the People's History Museum and Manchester Museum are also really keen to support local producers, so they came along to find out what else was on offer.
Many of these producers will be involved in the Manchester Food and Drink festival in September where Visit Manchester will be showing a food film they commissioned featuring even more wonderful local producers like Falshaw's Farm Shop in Bury and many restaurants and chefs that support our local producers.
We look forward to seeing you there and please look out for our wonderful local produce at your local farmers market or take some time to pay them a visit.
Find out more about local produce in Greater Manchester at visitmanchester.com/food.