New Forest Marque members gathered to reflect on a year of championing local produce at our annual general meeting on Monday.

The event was hosted by Minstead Trust at the beautiful Furzey Gardens, a woodland garden with tearoom nestled in the New Forest National Park.

Minstead Trust is a charity which nurtures the unique potential of people with learning disabilities, helping them achieve greater independence and live happier and healthier lives.

Marque members heard from some of the incredibly passionate people who work for the Trust and learned how their range of successful social enterprises help promote the joy of inclusive communities and showcase the abilities and achievements of people with learning disabilities. They also heard about the Trust’s training and apprenticeship opportunities, and its aim to get more people with learning disabilities into paid employment.

Guests enjoyed a host of treats with a New Forest Marque twist including delicious sparking wine from Brook Hill Vineyard, refreshing Pig Beer, and a wonderful spread of canapes. They also tasted The Real Jam and Chutney Company‘s preserves, which are made by some of the 300 people Minstead Trust supports.

During the AGM, New Forest Marque Marque Chairman Dan Parsons reflected on a year of bringing local produce to the heart of the community in the New Forest and highlighted many of the organisation’s successful initiatives, including producer roadshows, tasting boxes delivered direct to homes, and  a partnership with the New Forest Heritage Centre offering opportunities to trade outside the Lyndhurst-based museum, gallery and library.

Members were introduced to the New Forest Marque’s new Members Manager Helen Spiller, who joins the team on a full-time basis and will be focusing on helping members get the most out of the Marque.

Join the New Forest Marque family

The New Forest Marque is a produce scheme set up to champion businesses who pride themselves on producing and providing food and drinks with clearly defined New Forest provenance.

Whether you’re a commoner, a primary producer, a processer or you offer local produce to your customers, you can apply to join the New Forest Marque.

Become a New Forest Marque member