Glorious harvest is brought Emsworth for start of food festival

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A BEAUTIFUL town square was filled with a bountiful crop to mark the start of a fortnight-long festival of food.

The Emsworth British Food Fortnight got under way in St Peter’s Square on Saturday and family-owned farming business Barfoots was on hand to show off some of its current produce.

Jeffrey Screen, three, looks at the pumpkins at the festival ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151612-3)

Jeffrey Screen, three, looks at the pumpkins at the festival ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151612-3)

The company, which covers the area from Romsey to Pagham in West Sussex, brought along sweetcorn, peas, beans, chillies, rhubarb, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus, squashes and sweet potatoes.

Dan Grover, business director from Barfoots, was in charge of a team from the farm telling curious visitors about how the fruit and vegetables are produced.

He said: ‘As local producers we want to support our local community and by exhibiting today we have been able to show our support.’

The fortnight has been organised by Emsworth Business Association to coincide with British Food Fortnight.

Giles Babb, chairman of the association, said: ‘It’s only just started but it is a fantastic event. The whole idea is to support our high street and to raise awareness of local food and the importance of shopping locally.’ One of the organisers, Alistair Gibson, said: ‘We wanted to bring the harvest to Emsworth so we teamed up with Barfoots, who are big farmers in this area, and they very kindly put on this fantastic farm and scarecrow and brought all this fantastic produce to the village.’

Lois O’Connell, from Westbourne, has been interning with the association and helping to organise the event.

The 23-year-old had the job of dressing the scarecrow.

She said: ‘We brought down all the bits and bobs for scarecrow but we had to make a dash to the charity shop to get some last-minute additions, but we’ve spruced him up and the children of Emsworth have named him Curly Top Gum Boot.’

Mr Gibson said there are a wide range of activities taking place for the next fortnight, from apple pressing, farmers’ markets, an open-air harvest festival, and food tastings, but he said he was particularly looking forward to the gin-tasting day

The first day attracted not only villagers, but tourists, too, with some travelling miles to visit the pretty village.

Phil Mead, from Oxfordshire, was at the day with his friends Martin and Carrie Whitworth. He said: ‘It is a lovely idea and it is delightful. Things like this should happen more often.’

For more on the fortnight’s events go to emsworth.org.uk