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Mayor’s Blog

Mayor’s Blog

Bridport Food and Beer Festival 2022, The Plott and Gordon Court

The fantastic Bridport Food and Beer Festival, organised by Bridport Local Food Group, is back even bigger and better on Asker Meadow this weekend. The scaled down event last year on Millenium Green was a great success but nothing beats the all singing and dancing event we will have here on Asker Meadow this weekend.

“The Bridport Food and Beer Festival is an important date for the Town.  Not only does it give Bridport residents, the wider community and our visitors the chance to try and buy fantastic local food and drink, it supports our local food and drink businesses and also provides them with the opportunity to showcase their high quality, artisan produce to existing and new customers.   We all know how drastic this past two years has been for the hospitality and food industry –   it is so important that we give them a platform for interacting, promoting and selling.” Kathy Dare, Chair, Bridport Local Food Group

In order to live we humans have three basic needs: we need air to breathe, we need water to drink and we need food to eat.

We extremely fortunate to live in an area where the air is fresh, our drinking water is clean and fantastic food is produced in abundance; Blue Vinny cheese, Denhay bacon, Black Cow vodka, Bothen Hill asparagus, Tamarisk Farm flour, beef and vegetables, Hollis Mead milk and cheese – the list is endless.

We also live in an area with an excellent range of restaurants and cafes where some of the most creative chefs in the country serve up outstanding food, the majority of which is both locally sourced and seasonal. You will have the opportunity to see some of them in action at the festival at the following times:

  • 10.00am Gill Meller, chef, award winning author and food writer will be cooking up some dishes using fresh vegetables and herbs picked from his garden that morning Gill Meller
  • 11.00am Pam Corbin (affectionately known as Pam the Jam), will be ‘In a Pickle!’ showing how easy it is to keep the crunch in pickling Pam the Jam
  • 12.00 noon Jemima Giblin, For busy people who get hungry on the move, Registered Nutritionist Jem will be making and sharing an easy new recipe for a PowerPack Protein bar. This delicious and nutrient packed bake includes whole ingredients and is a great go-to for lunchboxes, gym bags and handbags! Leakers Bakery
  • 1.00pm Mark Hix with Sally Allan from Sally’s Fish Camp: Sally will be showing how to prepare various seafoods including crab, lobster and scallops, and Mark will be cooking up a range of simple dishes The Oyster and Fish House Sally’s Fish Camp
  • 2.30pm Alden Mckechnie @ Moustachemixology and head bartender will be shaking up some Dark Bear classics from Bridport’s award-winning cocktail bar including the Bridport Dagger, Hedgerow Mojito, their unique take on the Zombie and Alden’s very own ‘The Bounty’. Dark Bear Shop
  • 3.30pm Chris Chatfield, executive chef at the award-winning Station Kitchen Restaurant in West Bay will be demonstrating some of his favourite pasta dishes The Station Kitchen

In the Children’s Marquee 2022 you will find THE BIG ‘ALL TASTE NO WASTE’ TEA PARTY being created. Inside there will be free, drop in sessions to join in making and decorating party food like:

  • Leakers biscuits decorated with edible flowers
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Liberty Farm organic milkshakes
  • Middle Eastern style savoury dips – hummus and baba ganoush plus flat breads with New House Farm
  • The Olive Tree Restaurant’s fresh pasta parcels filled with sauces
  • Balson’s cocktail sausages (plain and Marmite!)

Creative kids who can work with professional artist Aviva Halter-Hurn to design a ‘love food hate waste’ message on fabric tote bags to take home and help decorate jam jars for vases, flags, menu cards and napkins for the afternoon party.

And don’t miss a special workshop with ‘The Wild Gardener’, Charlie Ryrie from The Real Cut Flower Garden, to learn about (and taste!) edible flowers before making them into posies for the party table and using them to decorate heart-shaped biscuits from Leakers Bakery. Charlie will also be helping young gardeners to make their own mini gardens in a welly boot.

Everyone who joins in getting this spectacular spread ready can take samples of food and decorations home and/or join the special afternoon tea at 3pm.

You are going to be spoilt for choice at the Bridport Food and Beer Festival with what is on offer and if you are anything like me you will be sampling lots of amazing food, a few beers and taking home some wonderful ingredients with which to be creative with in your own kitchen.

But there is also a very strong overarching message at this years Food and Beer Festival:

Love Food – Hate Waste

I am certain that everybody going along to the Food and Beer Festival loves food and disapproves of wasting it. The finger of blame for food waste is all too often pointed at supermarkets and restaurants, yet, I suspect we are all guilty of wasting and throwing away perfectly good food at times. The big question is why we keep wasting it and how best to ideally stop wasting it or at least drastically reduce the amount we waste.

According to the UN, around 30 per cent of food produced globally — the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes — is either lost or wasted each year. At a time when hunger and malnutrition affect 1.6 billion people worldwide how is it ethical or justifiable to throw away food when so many are going hungry? The wasting of food is also an environmental and economic catastrophe in the making. Trillions of tonnes of water is used to produce food that is not eaten.

At worst discarded food ends up in landfills, where it rots and produces methane, the second most common greenhouse gas. At best our cooked food waste goes for aerobic digestion where it produces methane which is used as fuel to generate energy and compost. Ideally I hope everyone who has the space has a compost heap or bin at home where uncooked vegetable peelings can be turned into a rich soil improver and fertiliser.

In Spain proposed legislation would make it compulsory for supermarkets to donate surplus food to charities and community organisations. Fruit and vegetables that are close to their expiry date would have to be sold at reduced prices. Any business failing to comply faces fines, starting at €2,000 (£1,700); repeat offenders could be fined as much as €500,000.

In France it is now illegal for supermarkets to dump surplus food, a move that has led to retailers donating approximately 100,000 tonnes of produce to food charities. Italy has introduced similar measures and China, which wastes enough food annually to feed 50 million people, has legislated to allow restaurants to fine customers for leaving leftovers.

But is legislation the answer?

In reality the answer is pretty simple:

  • We need to eat more locally grown food
  • We need to eat seasonally
  • We need to Shop Locally
  • We need to purchase what we need not what we think we might need.

The Food and Beer Festival is one of Bridport’s great social occasions and a great showcase for locally produced food and drink. When there I encourage you to sample as much as you can, and walk away laden with as much fantastic local produce as you can carry to consume later. I know I will be.

In addition I encourage you to try your hardest to reduce the amount of food you waste for the sake of the planet.

To find out more anout the 2022 Bridport Food and Beer Festival click HERE

I will be at the Food and Beer Festival with my camera and my next Blog will include my attempt to capture the day.

The Plott

The Plott was an event organised by young people for young people held on the Plottingham Field Play Area and what a great occasion it was.

On arrival I was greeted and shown around by event organisers Alani Cook and Amber ????. who have been working alongside Rosie Russell from the Lyric Theatre, Bridport and others to give the young people of our town a space to creatively express themselves and what they would love Bridport to become in the future as a rights respecting town.

When Alani invited me to the event she told me that, “As a young person, I am really proud to have been given an opportunity such as this to create an event for others and the steering group would greatly appreciate it if you attended the event because it’s a day for everyone to enjoy themselves.”

I take my hat off the Alani, Amber and all the other members of the steering group for putting together such an inspiring event and hope that it will be the first of many.

The lively event was well attended and included street dance sessions, open mic and jam sessions, banner making, DJ’ing, podcasting, street art plus free food and light refreshments.

The street art workshop led by Jo Burlington was working on ideas for a mural that will soon enhance an imposing blank wall adjacent to the site. I was very impressed by the care and thought that the young people engaging with Jo on this project were putting into it and look forward to seeing the finished mural.

Funded by the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund and led by the Lyric Theatre, the aim of the event was to build on the Rights Respecting Town Charter principles for young people where their rights to be creative and express themselves are promoted and championed.

Thanks go to the Bridport Youth and Community Centre, Arts Council England, Opera Circus, Dorset Community Foundation, the Lyric Theatre, Rosie Russell, Dave Dixon, Alani, Amber, Emily, Rosie, Jo, Eileen and all the other young people involved, and of course Town Surveyor, Daryl Chambers and the BTC Grounds Team for making it happen.

Gordon Court Opens

Over the past 12 months the former Mountjoy School site on Flood Lane has been transformed into a new McCarthy and Stone independent retirement living development. The yellow crane which towered over the site for months and was used as a weather vane by many local people is no more, the hoardings are coming down and the landscaping is almost complete.

I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon (with the largest pair of scissors I have ever seen) to officially open the building on the occasion of its first open day.

After cutting the ribbon and a celebratory glass of bubbly Anne and I were shown round the accommodation by Kate Patton who showed us examples of the 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and the residents lounge. I must say we were impressed by what we saw. The rooms are of a good size and the bathrooms and kitchens are well planned and appointed.

Kate told me that over 50% of the 37 apartments have already been taken and I was pleased to hear that 95% of those have been by local people, an indication that despite fears by some that it would encourage even more retired people to move to Bridport. Whilst there we met several people who have already committed to moving in and others, including some very familiar faces, who are considering Gordon Court as their future home. To take a virtual look round click HERE.

Why is the development called Gordon Court? We have Sheila Meany to thank for proposing that it should be named after a brave son of Bridport who was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme July 1 1916.

2nd. Lieutenant COLIN GRAHAM GORDON, 3rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, was born in Bridport in 1889, the youngest of four children born to Henry and Bessie Gordon. He was their only son and he had three sisters Mabel, Agnes and Gladys.

His father was a civil engineer and acted as Secretary and Manager to the Water Works Company in Bridport. The family was comfortably off, and they were helped in their home at 48 West Bay Road, which is directly opposite Gordon Court, by a servant, Ada Biles and a housemaid Nora Biles.

Colin spent the first twenty years of his life in the family home, but in his early twenties he moved to London, where he started training as a Law Student/Solicitor. Around this time, he met and married his future wife – Dorothy Damar and they made their married home in Ramsgate in Kent.

 

With the outbreak of war, Colin enlisted with the London Regiment and was promoted to Lance Corporal in this unit. He was wounded in the knee in the Battle of Messines Ridge and was sent home for treatment.When he recovered, he returned to the Somme sector and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the Gordon Highlanders. He had been in France only a few weeks with his new regiment when the Somme Offensive started on July 1st, 1916. Colin was killed in action on the first day of that battle.

In a letter to his widow Dorothy, his commanding officer wrote; “He was shot through the head, leading his men gallantly – a fearless soldier, whose loss we all mourn.” He was just 25.

And Finally – The Household Support Fund

The Dorset Council Household Support Fund Round 2 opened on 6 June. The £200 vouchers for use in supermarkets can be applied for by people who meet the criteria, I believe the target groups are:

  • Pensioners in receipt of Pension Credit
  • People of working age and in receipt of a means tested benefit or
  • A pensioner or working age resident not in receipt of a means tested benefit who is in fuel poverty.

Click HERE for details and the application form..

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