I can now report back on several hours working the Food Festival in Castle Street on Saturday.
I distributed leaflets about Slow Food to a variety of food stalls, mostly those directly associated with Farnham. I had a useful discussion with Cllr. Stephen O’Grady who holds the tourism portfolio, also discussed with Mayor Lucinda Fleming – very keen on Slow Food and knows all about it, so it seems – and some of the invited chefs doing the demos. Mike Causey, whose firm are sponsors for the event, was especially interested to hear about Slow Food which was new to him.
I must say Castle Street rejoiced to be doing what it was created to do, ie. bringing the people of Farnham together in one place of exchange and interaction. Beautiful to behold! Mike said that he’d had many people say how much they enjoyed experiencing Castle Street in this way. If only the council would have the nerve to close Castle Street each month for the Farmers Market!
As for the Feast of Food Treasure Trail Quiz, I failed miserably! I couldn’t even find the first place – Obolensky’s in Downing Street!
However I did pop into the Loch Fyne restaurant and interested the management in Slow Food, then moved on to Borelli’s where I had a chat with the owner, Richard Brassington-Burt, who was very interested in the Slow Food idea for Farnham.
So, all in all, a useful few hours testing the reception of a Farnham Slow Food initiative. I would say pretty positive and it looks like the independent restauranteurs and food retailers would support this.
Mr Hone, the greengrocer, in Downing Street was especially supportive and he took a dozen leaflets to give to selected customers whom he felt would warm to the idea of Slow Food. Oh, and while I was in the Loch Fyne place two customers overheard my conversation and asked me for leaflets to give to friends; it turned out that they had heard about Slow Food in Italy, were very keen – thought Farnham would be receptive to a Slow Food initiative – and said that they would canvas the Farnham Wine Society to which they belong.
In talking I floated the idea of a meeting, perhaps in the Garden Room at Farnham Museum, with interested local restauranteurs/chefs and food retailers/producers along with other “co-producers” of local food culture, ie; us lot – les consumateurs! Perhaps I could invite the new director (very dynamic!) of Slow Food UK to come and talk at the meeting. But before then there is still quite a lot more legwork: I need to do my own Farnham Food Crawl and visit the establishments that participated in the event last week. I’ll have further talks with Catherine Cooper at FTC and with the Mayor, and follow up with a letter in The Herald suggesting the timelinesss of a Farnham Slow Food initiative.
It’ quite useful that I’ve covered this ground before when launching what became FLFI.
To be continued!