Plans for a major Orkney food festival, aimed at celebrating and rewarding the very best of local produce, have been unveiled.

The festival – expected to be launched around the end of March – will run over several months, with Orkney residents and visitors to the County voting for their favourite food, drink or business, ahead of a gala awards event later this year.

OFD finaldfdffdOrganised by Orkney Food and Drink, the festival will be supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney Islands Council and the LEADER programme.

“Whilst Orkney’s food and drink already enjoys an excellent reputation, there’s always more that can be done to promote produce from the County,” said Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts. “There have been food festivals in the past, but we wanted to take a fresh approach and re-energise the format.

“Rather than have, say, a week-long food festival, we decided it would be more effective to run the event over a longer period, tying in with key dates on the Orkney calendar – from the Folk Festival and St Magnus Festival, to the Science Festival and the agricultural shows. Having a food and drink presence at important local events will help get the message about our wonderful produce out to as wide an audience as possible.”

Nominations for a range of food and drink awards will open at the end of next month, with people encouraged to vote for their favourite product or business, either by post or via the new Orkney Food and Drink website – www.orkneyfoodanddrink.com – which is currently under development.

“We’re particularly keen for visitors to Orkney to nominate local businesses and products for the awards and will include a voting form within a special feature in this year’s edition of tourist newspaper, The Islander. We’ll also be distributing voting forms to food and drink businesses to allow customers to give instant feedback. In addition, people will be able to vote online at our new website, even before it goes fully live.”

According to Mr Balfour, the festival will culminate in a prestigious awards ceremony at the end of the summer.

“We’re at a very early stage in the planning for the festival and the awards ceremony, but our desire is to make this an exciting, fun and valuable event, both for lovers of fine food and drink and our local producers. Ultimately, the aim is to further boost the profile of the fantastic produce we have here in Orkney and ensure the islands’ reputation for quality and variety is strengthened.”

To take part in the food festival and qualify for entry into the awards, businesses will have to be members of Orkney Food and Drink.  Further details on the food festival and awards process will be released over the coming weeks.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Edgar Balfour, Development Manager,

Orkney Food, Drink and Crafts.

Tel: 01856 761430

 

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