For the first time, this year saw a Dorset Farmers Market marquee with several of the best-known market members selling their wares to crowds who were clearly enjoying what they were seeing and spending their money.
Producers in the tent included Lizzie Crow, the Baking Bird, (pictured) with her array of home-made cakes, savouries and sweet delights, Caroline Drever of Dorset Shellfish with a mouthwatering display of sustainably caught fresh seafood, the Dorset Pie Company, Gemma Lewis with her Dark Matters brownies and Winterbourne Game.
In the Food Hall, there were demonstrations all day by Shaftesbury chef David Shepherd of Le Fleur de Lys, and Mark Hartstone, chef-proprietor of La Fosse at Cranborne. The two began with breakfast and kept cooking throughout the day, offering a wide range of dishes from seasonal and local produce.
Regional products in the Food Hall included cheese, cider, wild game, ice cream and more, and there were delights from further afield, including exceptional single estate teas, and Mediterranean tastes from Gastro Nick’s and Eat Like A Greek.
Tim Edwards (pictured) of Somerset Distillery – makers of the famous Somerset Cider Brandy – was in the Food Hall offering tastings of the delicious range of aperitifs, ciders and cider brandies made by Julian Temperley at the Burrow Hill Distillery on the Somerset Levels.
Michelle Comins (pictured) runs Comins Tea House at Sturminster Newton with her husband Rob. The couple met at university and married in 2003. Michelle was a life-long tea lover, Rob a sceptic, but a visit to a tea plantation at Darjeeling on a visit to India changed all that and set the wheels in motion for the couple to set up their tea house, where you can learn about, try and buy some of the world’s finest teas, and also enjoy exquisite cakes and savouries, washed down by tea (of course).
Lagan Farm Shop, at Orchard Park Garden Centre, is just a (long) stone’s throw from the Turnpike showground. The farm shop is renowned for the native and rare breed beef and lamb which travels just food yards (not miles) from adjoining Park Farm – Dave the butcher and Gemma the farm shop manager, are pictured on the stand in the food hall.