Emsworth British Food Fortnight off to a flying start

Members of Havant Rotary Club helping out on the day. (L-r) Jenny Edgell, Vicki King and Mike Coombe
Members of Havant Rotary Club helping out on the day. (L-r) Jenny Edgell, Vicki King and Mike Coombe
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MAYORS often have plenty of pressing political issues and engagements to tackle.

But for Havant’s own first lady, Councillor Faith Ponsonby, the chance to press home her civic role by crushing gallons of tasty apples was a first that she simply could not refuse.

A festival like this is the perfect chance to show off Emsworth’s foodie traditions and foodie heritage

Alistair Gibson

Wearing her golden chain, the mayor got her hands on a large apple press in Emsworth town centre yesterday.

It was all part of the opening weekend of the British Food Fortnight, which will see the town celebrating everything food and drink.

Watched by dozens of people in St Peter’s Square, the mayor tried her hands at apple pressing and using the large mulching machine to crush the fruit into pulp – a physical task which proved tricky.

‘That was really tough,’ she admitted. ‘I had to let my husband Michael take over for me on that one.’

Hundreds of apples were donated by locals to be crushed down into homemade juice, in aid of the Chichester-based homelessness charity Stonepillow.

The spectacle was staged by the Emsworth Business Association and supported by Havant Rotary Club, whose army of volunteers helped to pour the juice into bottles.

It followed on from Saturday’s packed Hampshire Farmers’ Market in the South Street car park.

Alistair Gibson, of Emsworth Business Association, is one of the organisers of the two-week festival.

He said it was the perfect chance to showcase the area’s rich food heritage and the companies and people who support the industry locally.

He said: ‘Everybody is interested in food – it’s an international language, we all speak food.

‘So a festival like this is the perfect chance to show off Emsworth’s foodie traditions and foodie heritage.’

Cllr Ponsonby said the festival helped to boost trade in the town and that she was looking forward to the next week of events.

She added: ‘It’s going to be marvellous.’

The festival is running every day until Sunday, October 2 where it will end with the A Boost of Kindness Harvest Festival service in St Peter’s Square, from 11.30am.