Rural producers and businesses in the spotlight at showcase events
"We are very excited about the opportunities these showcase events provide for rural Warwickshire businesses to connect and find out about support available to them."
A partnership between Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Rural Hub to promote rural produce and business through showcase events throughout the county is proving to be very fruitful.
The partnership, driven by WCC's Rural Policy and Commissioning Officer Abi Culley, provides opportunities to inspire, build confidence and share experiences of adding value to produce on site, at source to retail or directly to trade or consumers.
The first event, ‘Wines and Vines,’ held at Blabers Hall Wine Estate in North Warwickshire, was a great success. Around 20 farmers and landowners from all over the county enjoyed a tour of the six-acre vineyard by owners Clarke and Adele Adams, who shared their business journey and explained the challenges they have faced.
Marie Stephenson from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Chris Lawes of Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, provided presentations on the free support available for small and medium businesses in Warwickshire.
Finally, delegates were treated to taste a range of their produce, including Blabers Hall's new Hemlingford red wine. The showcase provided an opportunity for informal and quality networking, so many positive connections were made, including the unexpected outcome of a local farm-based restaurant serving Blabers Hall wines.
WCC is pleased to announce that the next showcase event will be hosted by St Maur at their farm premises near Alcester.
St Maur, a thriving new business in Warwickshire, makes small-batch elderflower liqueur, handcrafted in Alcester from responsibly sourced ingredients including elderflowers from ancient family-owned woodlands which surround the Ragley Hall Estate. Since starting in 2020, the business has received four industry awards, most recently winning the Coventry and Warwickshire’s 2022 Foodie Newcomer Award.
Dr Andrew Wells, St Maur director, said: "We want to play an active role in the community so in September we are delighted to host an opportunity for those in the retail and hospitality sectors, along with farmers and landowners, to attend a St Maur Showcase event."
At the event, Warwickshire producers will be able to pick up some tips on how to add value on site/at source to their produce by hearing about St Maur’s journey. There will also be guidance on how to encourage and build confidence in producers to sell direct to trade and customers, thus reducing food/drink miles and stimulating the local economy, sustainable action and purchasing.
The showcase will also provide opportunity for networking between hospitality providers and local producers.
Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate & Culture, Cllr Heather Timms, said: "We are very excited about the opportunities these showcase events provide for rural Warwickshire businesses to connect and find out about support available to them.
"The first, at Blabers Hall, was a great success and we are very grateful to Clarke and Adele for hosting so well. We look forward to the next event St Maur and hearing more about their journey and growth."
Representatives from Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and WCC's Business Support team will also support the St Maur event, where there will be opportunity for informal conversation.
Details and booking for the event will be posted on Warwickshire Rural Hub website https://www.ruralhub.org.uk/