Scheme to promote produce in county

From left, Coun Jim Smith, Susan Davey, from the Northumberland Tourism Board, and Val Tyler, Northumberland County Council cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, at the official launch for the scheme. Picture by Helen Smith.
From left, Coun Jim Smith, Susan Davey, from the Northumberland Tourism Board, and Val Tyler, Northumberland County Council cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, at the official launch for the scheme. Picture by Helen Smith.

A new verification scheme to celebrate and promote food and drink produced entirely in Northumberland has been officially launched.

It aims to raise the profile, value and public confidence in the county’s produce and around 20 businesses have already signed up.

Produced in Northumberland is a joint initiative between the county council, Active Northumberland and Northumberland Tourism. It recognises producers and businesses that use and promote food and drink made in the county.

The economic impact of food tourism in Northumberland is currently worth nearly £276million a year.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of the county council, said the authority hopes that by encouraging local businesses to use Northumberland produce, it will help reduce food miles, lead to increased production and sales within the local economy and ultimately create more jobs in the area.

Cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, Coun Val Tyler, added: “Not only will membership show visitors and residents that the establishment believes in quality, it will also show it is committed to promoting local produce and giving customers a true taste of Northumberland.”

The initiative was launched during the Northumberland Tourism annual conference at Kirkley Hall.

Producers will have to prove to visiting Trading Standards and Environmental Health staff that the food and drink is made in Northumberland. For butchers, checks will also be carried out on the origin of the animals from which their meat comes.

B&Bs and other hospitality businesses will have to demonstrate that a certain number of main foods being used on their menus is produced in Northumberland.

Retailers that are part of the scheme will need to ensure a proportion of their food and drink is made in the county by a range of different producers.

Businesses will then be able to display their official Produced in Northumberland certificate in their shop, restaurant or B&B and they can use the logo on their labels, websites and literature.

Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “We know that visitors to Northumberland are looking for authentic experiences that can only be found here.

“This scheme will make it easier for them to find our unique food and drink products and encourage them to choose local options, increasing the sales of participating producers.”

A bespoke website is currently being developed to enable visitors to find businesses making and selling produce from the county. It will also enable hospitality and retail businesses to source producers of Northumberland food and drink for use in their establishments.

Those interested in finding out more about the scheme can email ken.henderson@northumberland.gov.uk or dgoodwill-evans@activenorthumberland.org.uk