Food Writer Says Gillingham And Shaftesbury Show ‘Nailed’ Local Produce This Year

Alfred covers this year’s two-day Gillingham and Shaftesbury show. In our report, show secretary James Cox and president Matthew Price tell us they are pleased with this year’s event.

MP Simon Hoare tells us he enjoyed the show, particularly as few people were talking about covid – for a change! And Linda Young was busy, stewarding in the members’ area. She told us why it is worth upgrading next year.

What did we see, taste or drink? Alfred’s food expert and The Field columnist, Philippa Davis, visits many regional shows. She reckons the show team ‘nailed’ their local food offer. In her report she features Mere Trout, Dorset Coffee Company and Philippa chats with Steve from the Book and Bucket cheese company. She drinks different types of mead with Mike from Chalice Mead. He advises that it’s not just for Vikings. And Phillipa meets Andrew Tarling of Shaftesbury’s Ecco Gelato.

A display of steam engines

Alfred’s Keri Jones speaks with Nick Baker and learns about his vintage steam engines and Dutch street organ. Nick was the show president in 2014.

Harry Cowan of BV Dairy tells Alfred about their prize-winning stall and the most popular flavour of kefir made at their Wincombe Lane dairy. If you’re unsure what kefir is, listen to Harry.

BV Dairy’s prize-winning stand

There were some really interesting local, non-food products on sale too. Richard Taylor was selling a Dorset-born board game. ‘The Good Life’ presents a strong sustainability message and HRH Prince Charles has complemented its maker.

Alfred’s Jeanette Hardiman spoke with Mark Codling from Fire Eye Woodcraft. “Food tastes better out of a wooden bowl,” says this Dorset Coppice Group member. He explains why.

At the cattle lines, Alfred’s Marilyn Morris spoke with 14-year-old Chloe Peach, who has her own herd of cattle and won a major show award for them. Mum Liz was proud, as you’ll hear. Terry Cox spoke with Marilyn about his time in farming, rearing heifers, and his concerns about milk prices. And Marilyn chatted with Paul Tory of the Dorset & Wiltshire Poultry Society. You’ll hear how they judge the egg competition.

NFU president Minette Batters with MP Simon Hoare

NFU President Minette Batters received a warm welcome from the audience. Show president Matthew Price introduced the Wiltshire farmer as ‘one of us’. She returned the compliment, telling Alfred that the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show was her favourite.

Minette told Keri how she has been fighting for farmers in her discussions with ministers. The last year has been testing. The NFU has concerns about the impact on British farming of international trade deals. Brexit and covid have brought labour shortages too, and that could impact consumers soon – there could be too few people pluck Christmas turkeys. Minette talks about the challenges and opportunities ahead.