Festival Boost For Local Food and Drink Industry.

Forth Valley Food Festival provided a welcome boost for local food and drink businesses during the school October break (10- 25 October).

The fortnight-long festival, organised by Forth Valley Food and Drink network, and supported by Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, showcased local eateries, organisations and attractions with a daily programme of online and socially distant events: from foodie podcasts with Forth Environment Link and pumpkin picking at Arnprior Farm to online kitchen medicine workshops with Trossachs Wild Apothecary and family-friendly cook-alongs’, including meatball-making with Stirling’s Mamma Mia restaurant.

Festival co-ordinator Carolyn McGill said: “Our local food and drink businesses need our support now more than ever and the festival is one of the ways we’re encouraging people to shop local. Despite the restrictions this year, local families were still able to enjoy a host of festival activities from finding the perfect pumpkin from the 10,000 on offer at Arnprior Farm and meeting the goats at Achray Farm, to Camphill Blair Drummond Bakery’s fantastic rainbow bread making session and a novel naan bread-making workshop by Turnip the Beet.  Fallen Tree Coffee also gave us their insight into local roasters and with the pubs closed, we even managed to organise a virtual food and drink themed pub quiz at the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle.”

During the festival, over 2300 people tuned into two cook-alongs broadcast live on Facebook from Bannockburn House, led by head gardener Kate White and Chef Sara MacMillan from the Kitchen at 44 King Street.

Bannockburn House Events Manager, Ross Caldwell said: “Thanks to funding from Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise we were able to deliver ingredient packs to 60 local families to allow them to join in at home, using produce from our own kitchen garden where possible and local suppliers such as Egglicious Eggs. This was our first time running live cook-alongs and given how well they were received by the local community we can’t wait to run more sessions with Sara.”

Transition Stirling also ran workshops offering seed saving and foraging advice, for those looking to grow or forage for their own food, and Food Train used the festival to appeal for volunteer shoppers for the new connects service.

The festival even had rainy days covered, with a home cinema mini-series of food documentaries for local foodies to enjoy.

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