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Eden’s food festival week is ready for the off

[T]he annual Eden Food and Farming Festival gets under way on Saturday 15 July with a week of events and activities for fans of quality local foods, quirky entertainment and getting up close and personal with farming life in the district.

Festival-goers can choose from more than a dozen opportunities to try Eden’s artisan products, meet the people who’ve made them, and find out more about how they reach the plate.

New for this year is the festival wristband scheme, serving up tasty offers in and around Penrith. More than a dozen food outlets are giving discounts and specials to wristband holders, with more savings to be had at activities and merchandise at Penrith on a Plate and discounted entry to other festival events. The wristbands are now on sale at participating outlets around the town, priced at £2.

“With money off and special offers, now’s a fantastic time to get out and try some of Penrith’s quality cafes, restaurants and independent food stores,” Richard said. “Not only that, anyone buying a wristband is also supporting this community-led festival.”

The festival kicks off with its signature event, Penrith on a Plate.

“People come back year after year for this friendly, rustic celebration of all the great foods we have in the district and further afield,” said festival organizer Richard Utting, from Penrith Chamber of Trade.

“Visitors will find quite a few new producers at our artisan market this year, giving the dedicated foodie the chance to try products like a freshly-launched range of healthy treats and hot food that vegans and vegetarians can tuck into.”

Anyone hoping to pick up some new ideas they can try in their own kitchen won’t be disappointed. Cumbria’s celebrity chef John Crouch will run cookery demonstrations throughout the day. As well as showcasing recipes for a wide range of different foods – including produce supplied by Cranstons – John’s theme for the day is helping food waste, passing on tips for using up leftovers and cooking on a budget.

There’s a feast of entertainment on offer at this year’s event. The ever-popular Farm to Fork Roadshow by the Westmorland County Agricultural Society returns, giving festival-goers the chance to talk to farmers and meet their animals. There’s another fix of farm life with a display of vehicles by the Eden Valley Vintage Tractor Club.

“There’s a lot of family entertainment on the menu this year,” Richard said. “We’ve decided to be brave and welcome back Mr Punch and Judy, whose comedy chaos always goes down a storm, and there’ll be street-theatre entertainers, face painting and balloon modelling, along with a ride for children.”

Festival goers can also enjoy the Eden Valley Artistic Network’s art trail around town and take the food trail challenge for a chance to win a prize.

It promises to be a great day out for music fans, too, with three bands, solo artists and an 80-strong group of young musicians from Ullswater Community College and Appleby Grammar School.

“The day is packed full of entertainment, and the list of activities and timings is now on the festival website to help people plan their visit,” Richard said.

As the week goes on, llamas, bees, dairy cows and even vegetables all take their turn in the spotlight, as the festival explores food production around the district – from a tasting tour and lunch at Cranstons, to the new Taste Appleby food festival day and even a world music and food night.

There are full details of all the festival events and wristband deals at edenfoodfestival.org.

Eden Food & Farming Festival is funded by Eden District Council, Penrith Town Council, Penrith Business Improvement District and the Pride in Penrith Lottery, with support from Discover Penrith and Jim Walton Toyota.

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