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The team at Local Food Surrey were delighted to organise a royal visit to officially launch Surrey Day 2021, which took place on Saturday May 1.

With ongoing Covid restrictions and the recent passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, The Earl of Wessex’s visit to Kingfisher Farm Shop in the village of Abinger Hammer had to be arranged in super-quick time. In fact, we were given just one week’s notice that our request had been granted. So it was all hands to the proverbial pump, as not only Local Food Surrey but our marketing arm, The Market Place were suddenly gearing up for an intensely busy time. 

All the hard work paid off, however, and Local Food Surrey members Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Cookery School and Chalk Hills Bakery were all at the forefront of proceedings at the royal visit on Friday April 30.

On the day, The Earl was very relaxed and enjoyed a leisurely chat with everyone as he heard about the challenges they had faced and overcome throughout the pandemic year, as well as their hopes for Surrey food and drink in the future.

The wonder of watercress

The Earl even donned his Wellington boots to learn about watercress production and harvested a “hand” of the crop, while chatting to Kingfisher Farm Shop owners, Marion McBurney and her 82-year-old father Barrie Arminson – their family has been nurturing the quintessentially English product since 1854.

He then helped Abinger Cookery School head chef Jake Pinn prepare a watercress pesto, while hearing from owner Lizzie Marsh about the difficulties the school had faced, having taken over just before the first lockdown, as well as their Duke of Edinburgh cookery course success.

And, of course, we didn’t need to encourage the brilliant Chris and Rosie Robinson from Chalk Hills Bakery to tell His Royal Highness all about their amazing bread. 

The pair were then also able to present The Earl of Wessex, who lives in the county, with a Local Food Surrey food and drink hamper before the end of his visit.

A day of celebration in Surrey

Founded by our friends at BBC Radio Surrey, Surrey Life magazine and the Visit Surrey tourist board, Surrey Day takes place on the first Saturday in May and is a celebration of the people and places that make Surrey such a unique county, from the beautiful countryside to the world class attractions and award-winning food and drink producers.

Our involvement didn’t end with the royal visit, however, as Local Food Surrey was also involved in arranging official visits around the county on the day itself, including for the newly appointed High Sheriff of Surrey, Dr Julie Llewelyn, who met the wonderful team at the Food Float as she visited Dorking.

It was great to hear so many of our members on BBC Radio Surrey as part of their Surrey Day coverage too – and a huge well done to Laura Scott from How to Cook Good Food, in particular, who agreed to step up to the challenge of recreating a centuries-old blancmange recipe found in the archives of Loseley Park near Guildford.

Raising a glass to Surrey food and drink

One of the themes of Surrey Day this year was to raise a glass as a salute to all of the amazing people who have kept the county going during these most challenging of times – and we certainly joined them with a glass of Surrey sparkling wine once all the hard work was over.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported this year’s socially distanced celebrations and we’re pleased to be able to share that Surrey Day 2022 is already pencilled in the diary for Saturday May 7.

While Local Food Britain features independent food and drink businesses from across the south east, we started life as Local Food Surrey in 2011 and we are still based in the county, on the Priory Farm Estate in South Nutfield.

As such, we look forward to continuing to be at the heart of this beautiful county’s food and drink showcase throughout 2021 - and then when Surrey Day 2022 arrives too. 


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