A campaign that aims to put local food and drink on the menu of every restaurant in Middlesbrough has won the backing of a hotel giant.
Jurys Inn Middlesbrough – the largest hotel in the Tees Valley – has pledged its support for the Growing Middlesbrough Local Food Network, after teaming up with local food producer Rosalind Waugh.
The fruit-packed preserves produced by Rosalind – owner of Rosalind’s Larder – impressed head chef Martin Moore so much he’s added them to the breakfast buffet at the 132-bedroom hotel.
It’s the latest success story to be celebrated by Growing Middlesbrough, a campaign to improve access to food and drink which has been grown or produced within 50 miles of the town, helping to create jobs and support the local economy.
The campaign features a series of Local Food Weekends – the next takes place this weekend, from Friday (March 3) to Sunday (March 5).
A growing number of restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops are taking part, by offering at least one dish that’s made using a minimum of two locally-produced ingredients.
Those venues include Jurys Inn Middlesbrough, The Curing House, The Fork in the Road, Bedford Street Coffee House, Fellini’s, Sticky Fingers Café Bar, The Oven, Al Forno, The Olde Young Tea House, Eliano’s, The Garden at Teesside University, Goodbody’s Eaterie, The Dovecot, Zakoumas Grill, The Smeltery at Mima and Mohujos Burrito Bar.
Diners can show their support by eating at one of the participating venues and entering a competition to win a voucher for a meal for two.
Joe Dunne, from Middlesbrough Environment City, is one of those at the forefront of the Growing Middlesbrough Local Food Network.
He said: “The interest in Growing Middlesbrough is increasing all the time – we’re talking to a growing number of producers, retailers, caterers and consumers who know that their involvement is helping to support the local economy by securing jobs and helping to create new ones.
“Buying locally produced food and drink also helps the environment as it’s travelled a shorter distance, which often also means it’s fresher.”
The distance travelled by Rosalind’s preserves to Jurys Inn Middlesbrough – formerly the Thistle Hotel – is just a few miles.
The former consultant radiographer and her husband Alan grow fruit and vegetables on their allotment in Middlesbrough, and thanks to their green fingers they reap a harvest of apples, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries, tomatoes and courgettes.
Rosalind then transforms the fruits of their labour into a range of quality products including preserves, and since 2014 has been selling them at food festivals and farmers markets.
She was contacted by head chef Martin after he found details of her company on the Growing Middlesbrough Local Food Directory – the directory highlights farmers, producers, wholesalers, retailers and food outlets that champion locally grown and produced food and drink.
Rosalind said: “I’m delighted to be working with Martin and the rest of the team at Jurys Inn and I’m hoping it might encourage more food outlets to get involved with Growing Middlesbrough.”
Martin said: “Using high quality local produce is a must for any good chef which is why we had no hesitation in supporting Growing Middlesbrough and Rosalind’s jams, made using locally grown fruit, are exactly what we wanted.”
For further information about Growing Middlesbrough and to find Local Food Weekend participating food outlets visit www.growingmiddlesbrough.org.uk
• Restaurants and cafes keen to get involved in Local Food Weekend are asked to contact Joe Dunne on 01642 579820 or email email@example.com.