Review: Hampshire Local Produce Trade Show

Review: Hampshire Local Produce Trade Show

by Joy McKay.

The Hampshire Local Produce Trade Show is in it’s 10th year and showcases produce and food related services based in Hampshire and the surrounding areas. I went along to the Hilton Hotel at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl see what delicious new food and drinks were being produced and sold for us in and around Southampton. There were about 60 exhibitors but these are the people and products who stood out to me. 


New Forest Tea Company

I love a good cuppa and so was delighted to be able to talk to Ian about his tea. He’s enthusiastic about his product but also the environmental and ethical impact of the business. The tea bags are made from corn starch with no glues, no plastic and are fully compostable. I was told with great excitement how they had tested them by burying in the mother-in-law’s compost heap and then going back to check they had fully broken down and all of the packaging is fully recyclable. They partner with an organisation to ensure their farmers are treated and paid well and the plantations are checked annually to ensure standards don’t slip. 

They sell both bagged and loose leaf tea in 11 varieties and the ones I have tried so far are delicious. ‘The Brockenhurst Breakfast’ makes a proper ‘builder’s brew’, nice and strong but if you don’t want the caffeine “The Minty One’ and ‘The Peachy One’ are both flavourful brews. 


Bek Sourdough Bakery

Looking at all of the beautiful bread and pastries on offer I was very pleasantly surprised to discover this Eastleigh based bakery is 100% vegan! Sundried tomato bread, croissants, focaccia and a plethora of pastries were on offer, I’m already planning a trip so I can try everything. The pastries are very generously sized and so fresh. I tried the cinnamon roll and a pastry filled with custard and topped with fresh blueberries. 


Spice Island Chilli Sauce

I’m a big fan of dips and chilli so eagerly headed towards Liam’s stand to try the range, produced in small batches in Portsmouth. There are five sauces available to suit everyone’s palate from the mild but tasty Hardy’s Kiss, made  with jalapeno and lime through to the hottest in the range Ghost Ship, made with Ghost Chilli and Garlic. I really enjoyed all them as there is a great balance between chilli and flavour, not heat just for the sake of it. This means that the sauces will be a great addition to many meals as a marinade in addition to a dip for snacks or (as I had for lunch) falafel. Most surprising of the range though is Drake’s Gold made with Habanero and, as I was informed, 60% pineapple. The combination of heat and sweet is absolutely moreish and I can see me being a regular customer for myself but also as presents. 


Pig Beer

You can barely move for microbreweries and craft ales at the moment, something I’m definitely in favour of, but these guys have something which makes them really stand out for me; they grow their own hops. The name comes from the old pig farm in which they are based, in Brockenhurst and they have a taproom/ beer garden here where you can go to try their beers. Again they have a focus on sustainability, aware of the amount of water required by their hops they have installed a 20,000 litre tank to collect rain and wash water. Currently selling in glass bottles they are conscious of the energy required for recycling and are weighing up the pros and cons of alternatives. 

Portsmouth Distillery

I was aware of our locally produced run from seeing it in the gift shop at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard but I wasn’t aware of how many products they offer. From the 1968 white rum, the 1812 3 year old aged rum and the Cinnabar aged rim through to the intriguing Forum, a rum which is made like gin. 


Gorilla Spirits

It was great to talk to another producer with a focus on sustainability and ethics. They make regular contributions to a gorilla conservation programme with their Silverback range of gins, and are careful to buy coffee ethically from female famers in Rwanda for their Maraba liqueurs through a partnership which helps women build businesses and support their families. 

The sprits they create are interesting too including a higher ABV Silverback Mountain Strength gin which is jammed packed with botanicals and the Silverback VSOG aged which is aged in sherry casks, with just 1000 bottle being made and numbered by hand these are really are something special. 


Moody Cow Gelato

Honestly ‘Vegan Biscoff Gelato’ has to be one of my favourite combinations of words. Another company based in the New Forest, they produce an impressive selection of vegan gelato including Oreo, wild strawberry and chocolate orange in addition to creamy sorbets including elderflower and dark chocolate. It seems needless to say the Biscoff flavour was amazing and I enjoyed that it was a vanilla base swirled with Biscoff spread but also including the biscuit crumb. 



It was really interesting to meet and talk to all of these passionate local producers to hear their stories, learn about their delicious food and drink but most importantly see how sustainability and ethics are really at the heart of so many of these businesses. It’s significant that despite the cost of living crisis affecting these people, no multinational corporations here, they can see that investing in people and our planet is the key to a better future. 




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