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Lincolnshire Show continues today at Lincoln Showground showcasing the very best of our county’s produce to 60,000 visitors

More than 60,000 people are expected to have visited this year's Lincolnshire Show by the time it closes this evening, but why is our county’s produce considered some of the best?

The event returned yesterday for its 139th year and continues today (Thursday, June 20) until 6pm.

The show, at the Lincolnshire Showground near Lincoln is organised by the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity which aims to educate the local community about food, farming and the countryside. All profits from the show go towards supporting educational work, which engages more than 15,000 local school children each year.

Crowds at the Lincolnshire Show. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Crowds at the Lincolnshire Show. Photo: Daniel Jaines

It includes hundreds of stalls selling food, drink and other products.

With that in mind, we took to the ‘streets' of the show to ask some of the food and farming businesses that help our county stand out what they thought.

County has ‘historical significance’ as a food producing region

Lincolnshire County Councillor Colin Davie. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Lincolnshire County Councillor Colin Davie. Photo: Daniel Jaines

According to Coun Colin Davie (Con), Lincolnshire County Council's portfolio holder for the economy and environment, what makes Lincolnshire produce so great is it’s very fertile soil - some of the most fertile in the country - which is very important for growing high quality produce.

He said it had the right balance for growing high quality potatoes and was also home to small niche producers making world class cheese and other products from the local land and ingredients.

“Some of our cheesemakers are making fantastic, world class products here in Lincolnshire and we need to celebrate that and tell more people about it because these are market opportunities not just for new companies but also feeding down into the whole network such as the supply chain and the delivery, manufacturing and packaging,” he added.

The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines
The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines

“There's real opportunity still in the food sector. What we have to do going forward is to make sure the government, whoever is in charge of it, recognises the value of Lincolnshire land for food.

“That means protecting it for high quality food production. It is absolutely imperative that we grow more food here in the UK to feed our nation.”

This included, he said, protecting the land from being taken over by solar panels.

He said there is plenty of brownfield land, roof space, and other areas that can be used for solar panels instead of taking away agricultural land.

Lincolnshire is the ‘London of farming’

Richard Meredith from Dyson Farms. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Richard Meredith from Dyson Farms. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Richard Meredyth is the head of research for Dyson Farming Research which has its head office in Nocton, and other sites near Boston.

He said his best product was “the nutritious healthy food” we produce, but highlighted the company’s work with glass house produced strawberries which allow them to supply the produce for a longer season.

He said: “Lincolnshire is the London of farming. So when you think of London, you think of it being the epicentre for finance and business and for farming that’s Lincolnshire.

“We’ve got real varied soils and climate which can help us to grow any kind of nutritious crop that we’d like to. 30% of UK veg comes from Lincolnshire and we should be proud of that and invest in its future going forward.”

Lincolnshire has efficiencies, expertise and professional supply chains that are hard to replicate

Crowds attended the event today. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Crowds attended the event today. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Professor Val Braybrooks, is from the University of Lincoln National Centre for Food Manufacturing, a satellite campus based in Holbeach which has helped serve the research needs for agri-tech businesses for around 20 years.

She said: “It’s the efficiencies, the expertise and the professionalism of the supply chain.

“It's not just one operation, they're inherently linked to this very complex food supply chain and in Lincolnshire because of the agricultural history, that expertise has cemented and developed.

“Soyou've got a really efficient and effective supply chain, expertise in manufacturing, expertise in the growing, fabulous climate, fabulous soils, expertise in marketing and legislation.

“Everything that sits around it is here, well developed and will be very difficult to replicate.

“You won't get what you've got in Lincolnshire to support the food chain anywhere else in the UK.

It’s ‘all about the people’

The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines
The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Mark Wilcox is agronomy director at Branston Limited which includes three factories, a fresh potato facility and a preparation facility to the south of the county as well as other factories elsewhere nationally.

Branston began as a farmers cooperative more than 50 years ago and has grown since then, becoming the only supplier of fresh potatoes to Tesco supermarket.

“Everything is all about the people,” he said.

“We’ve got some amazing people with technologies that you wouldn’t imagine are needed for a simple potato company.

“We have people who research agronomy and understand how to grow, how to get the right feel, the right productivity and the quality for customers,” he added.

He also noted the role of data analysts as well as engineers for complex pieces of kit, especially as more work is automated in factories to replace “backbreaking” manual labour involved in packing and stacking, mashing and producing potatoes.

The company produces 25 billion individual packets a year and Mark said: “You can imagine the speed that we need to be making every packet, the expertise that’s needed and the people.”

What about smaller businesses?

It’s not just bigger businesses either, there are lots of stalls selling food and drink at the Lincolnshire Show. We took some time to wander the Lincolnshire Kitchen area of the market and ask some of them: “What makes Lincolnshire produce the best?”

Zest Brewery, Barkston

Zest Brewery. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Zest Brewery. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Owner Kathy Britton bought Zest Brewery in 2010, rebranding it in 2020. The business consists of the brewery itself which services local pubs in Grantham, Lincoln and Nottingham, as well as a mobile bar business.

Products include the Timelord, an American Pale Ale, and Miss Red, which has been brewed in commemoration of D-Day.

She said: ”It’s all locally grown, all fresh, and customers are really loyal to us. They absolutely love local products and we’re just very proud of what we produce.”

Gelston Lamb, Gelston

Gelston Lamb. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Gelston Lamb. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Gelston Lamb is a family-farm based between Grantham and Sleaford and run by husband and wife team Chris and Louise Elkington. The farm has a clock of more than 400 breeding ewes grazing in Lincolnshire fields and sustainable farmed.

Rachael Mival, one of the employees on the company’s stall, said their lamb burgers were their best product at cooking shows, though the company sells fresh meat.

She said: “Apart from the abattoir work, we do everything from lambing straight through to butchery, making the burgers and cooking it straight from the farm.

“Anything arable-wise there is really good soil for crops to grow in. The county is a very foodie area and everyone’s quite proud of what we do.”

Mountain’s Boston Sausage, Boston

Dan Mountain of Boston Sausage. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Dan Mountain of Boston Sausage. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Mountain’s Boston Sausage was set up in 1852, coming into the Mountain’s name in 1904. The business is fourth generation run and produces fresh meat and meat produce, often selling on London’s markets.

The family is proud of their Boston Sausage namesake and director Dan Mountain highlighted that it was the “most renowned”.

However, asked why Lincolnshire produce was the best he said: ““Who says its the best? It’s very good and one of the best I would say.

“I think the quality and the sustainability of it all [is what makes it],” he added and said there was a great selection of products on offer pointing as well to other businesses in the area including Bateman’s Brewery and…

Myers Bakery, Horncastle

Myers Bakery. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Myers Bakery. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Myers first began making plum bread in 1901 and still uses the same traditional family recipe today.

That plum bread is their signature product but also has a variety of others including the Lincolnshire Tea Loaf, a sweeter cake mixture.

“It’s all the hand-made, good quality ingredients that are used,” said owner Marie Broughton-Myers.

““There’s a lot of farmers in the area and it’s good quality grub made with traditional recipes.”

Homemade Sweetness, Ruskington

Homemade Sweetness. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Homemade Sweetness. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Yvonne Brammer began her business as a hobby a few years ago and it grew from there. In 2019 she left her full-time job to concentrate on running her business.

Despite covid being just around the corner, Yvonne says her business came out “bigger and better”.

Her best product at the minute is cherry jam.

“We are the agricultural area,” she said. “There is lots and lots of local produce to find and buy.”

Welbourne’s Bakery, Navenby

Welbourne's Bakery. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Welbourne's Bakery. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Welbourne’s Bakery began in 1896 and saw three generations of the Welbourne family manage it. Despite changing hands a couple of times over the years, now being run by Wild Jacks of Lincolnshire, it still sells some of the original products but with minor updated recipe changes.

Jane Francis, manager said the company was “famous” for its plumbread, which still used the recipe dating back to the business opening, but was also renowned for its Lincolnshire Sausage rolls, for which the company makes its own sausage meat.

“[Lincolnshire produce] has got quite a lot of history to it,” she said.

“We’re proud in Lincolnshire to make something that’s individual and famous - you can go to Scotland and buy Lincolnshire Plumbread so it’s nice to have that bit of history.”

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, Alford

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese was started by Simon Jones, the fourth generation to be running the farm since 1917.

The farm began dairying in 1970 under Simon’s father Richard but it wasn’t until his son came back from agricultural college that they began making cheese. Since then, the product has grown so much that the vast majority of the farm’s milk is turned into cheese.

Tim Jones, one of the owners, was in the stall and said his favourite was the vintage version which had been aged for 18 months.

He said: “It’s an amazing agricultural county. We have fantastic land, fantastic knowledge, fantastic people and we produce some incredible products that go all over the world.”

Huntsman’s Game, Saundby

Hunstman's Game. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Hunstman's Game. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Huntsman’s Game was set up by husband and wife director team Rebecca and Lee Steele during lockdown. Lee had been in the pest control industry but his business had started to steer towards wildlife control instead.

Unable to eat all the game meat themselves, the due decided to try and get other people to try it and so set up the company with Lee taking on the shooting, the butchery and the bakery.

Rebecca said they had received positive comments about products including their venison red wine pie.

“As a small business, we want to keep the highest quality of produce going out,” said Rebecca.

“We want nice food where we know where it’s all coming from and everything else so this is the best way.”

The Edward Potato Vodka Company, off the A15 near Brigg

Edward Potato Vodka. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Edward Potato Vodka. Photo: Daniel Jaines

The Edward Potato Vodka company is an independent distillery which champions local farming. The Elsham Wold Distillery, which is where the products are made is located just a few miles from where its ingredients are cultivated, with the families who own the business having a history in potato farming.

Patrick Byrne, assistant distiller said his personal favourite product was the classic vodka, but the company also produces rhubarb vodka as well as coffee, elderflower and mulled sloe liqueurs.

In October they launched their first whiskey, with the hope to launch another one later this year.

“We are a family-run business, he said. “It’s all about being as local as we can and keeping it working with the land.

“We watch them grow, we know what’s been planted, we harvest them, we process them and anything that doesn’t make the cut for market we use into our vodkas.”

The show was busy today. Photo: Daniel Jaines
The show was busy today. Photo: Daniel Jaines
The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines
The Young Farmers Parade. Photo: Daniel Jaines

More details about the event can be found by visiting www.lincolnshireshow.co.uk.

Have you visited Lincolnshire Show and what do you think of Lincolnshire produce? Let us know in the comments below.

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