INDEPENDENT food and drink businesses are buzzing in the aftermath of the British Food Fortnight.
The two-week celebration of British grub in Emsworth expanded to include more of the town’s proudly independent high street, with activities arranged by small businesses increasing by a third.
Tuppenny Barn Organics was an integral part of the fortnight, having organised five events.
Centre manager Emma Crane-Robinson says that plenty of new customers were drawn in alongside their regular devotees.
She said: ‘We definitely became visible to a new audience during the fortnight. We got a lot of new people from our cookery demonstration, and we had a pie workshop which sold out.
‘I think the fortnight is fantastic for local, small businesses because they can get drowned out by the high street. Especially in a place like Emsworth, people are really supportive of their local artisan producers and suppliers.’
The fortnight also helped young businesses showcase products in their infancy. The newly-established Emsworth Brewhouse found promising success at the town’s first beer, wine and cider festival.
Owner and head brewer Grant Thomas said: ‘I was delighted to have all three of my beers in the top eight as a result of the public vote at the festival.
‘There were lots of people tasting the beers without realising that there is a small brewery making craft ales in Emsworth.
‘It certainly raised awareness for the brewery.’
The Brookfield Hotel encouraged the next generation of hospitality staff by letting students from Highbury, Fareham and South Downs colleges take over their restaurant and kitchen for lunch.
Manager Amanda Thomas said: ‘It’s been fantastic for the economy of the borough because people have been staying at the hotel and spending money in Emsworth.
‘This is a place of substance and there’s plenty to do and see, and the fortnight definitely promotes awareness of that and increases footfall through the borough.’
Alistair Gibson from the Emsworth Business Association says that the town has once again proved itself as a ‘real foodie destination’ this year.
He said: ‘This year, perhaps for the first time, Emsworth British Food Fortnight has achieved a reputation that attracts people from further afield than the local region, establishing itself as a event on the calendar.’