Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


Eat Dorset Food Fair (Oct08)

Another sunny weekend for the Eat Dorset Food Fair. Set in the magnificent park at Parnham House near Beaminster, this is an annual event I really enjoy.

The last couple of years I spent some time over the weekend selling books with Sara Villiers from the Bailey Hill Book Shop in Castle Cary. It’s one of the few independent book shops left – and is well worth a visit if you want to browse, talk about books and find out about what’s new.

Sara was pretty knowledgeable about cookery books too. I repeated her anecdotes when she wasn’t there to potential customers because I wasn’t up to speed my self. Did you know that ‘Dirty Nails’ is a well known Dorset Columnist? Or that Elizabeth Blashford-Snell has written a large cookery book without putting her name on the front? Or that Charles Dowding has not only written about ‘No Dig Organic Gardening’ but about salads too….

What I enjoy about events like this is that you can taste much of what’s on offer. Little bits of cheese, smoked salmon, olive oil and granola style snacks. Not free but also not over-priced were delicious fresh oysters, pints of prawns and lamb burgers. I had venison from the Parnham park for lunch – you can’t get much more local than that.

Another treat for Food Fair visitors is that you can look around the gardens at Parnham. And I forgot to mention the demonstrations – Leslie Waters, Mark Hix and sessions about making chocolate and bread, as well as lots for children. I’ll be going next year too…

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