A local produce scheme supporting New Forest food producers and craftspeople is heralding a new era with a funding boost and new manager in post.
The New Forest Marque has received a £25,000 grant from the New Forest National Park Authority to help manage the scheme, boost membership, and increase its profile with consumers.
The scheme currently has 135 members ranging from award-winning cheese producers to sausage makers, strawberry growers to wood turners and chocolate makers. They are backed by hotels, pubs, shops, cafes and B&Bs who take pride in selling local produce and supporting the New Forest National Park landscape.
An audited scheme, consumers can be assured that the Marque logo is the sign of true local produce.
Newly-appointed Marque Manager Claire Lee said: ‘Our members have a real passion for their products and are dedicated to their trade and this shows through in the quality of the delicious food and unique crafts from our members, which are outstanding.’
Members receive training, advice and promotional benefits for their business, as well as the chance to work with other members. The Marque scheme also has an education programme, attending events and schools to teach about local produce and promote healthy eating and cookery skills.
New Forest National Park Member and Marque Director John Sanger said: ‘It’s vital we support the New Forest Marque and these local businesses as many are small scale producers who are closely linked with the landscape. Through their husbandry and care for the environment, they ensure the New Forest National Park remains a special place into the future.
‘The directors and Marque members would like to thank Jane Overall who has been managing the scheme on a voluntary basis for the past 18 months. Jane will carry on as our Chairman as we move into an exciting new era.’
Find out where to buy Marque produce at www.newforestmarque.co.uk.