Big crowds at Elveden Estate’s Big Onion Food Festival

Hundreds of mouths were left watering yesterday as the best of Norfolk and Suffolk produce was placed on display during an inaugural all-day food festival.

Elveden Estate hosted its first ever Big Onion Food and Drink Festival which boasted an impressive line-up of 50 local producers, as well as demonstrations from top chefs including Richard Bainbridge of Morston Hall and Masterchef 2010 finalist Tim Kinnaird.

The event, which had sold 700 tickets in advance, was officially opened by Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food.

He said: 'I'm very happy to officially open this event because I feel very passionately about local food and all the stands here are local, they have mainly come from Norfolk and Suffolk, and they demonstrate a range a different products and drinks that people have used their skills and innovation to develop for the local market.

'It's an increasing part of the market with consumers being more selective, wanting to know where things come from and how it's produced.'

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Elveden Estate is one of the country's leading vegetable growers and produces 20,000 tonnes of onions every year.

Lord Iveagh, who runs the family estate near Thetford, added that the festival was a continuation of the support the extensive farm shows for local producers through its own shop and restaurant.

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'We have got a lot to offer and as a region we have wonderful local range of producers who are showing great enterprise and providing great variety. It's great as a local farm to be promoting this,' he said.

Producers with stalls at the event included Breckland Orchard from Watton, Moove Over Dairy from Taverham, Norwich, the Bhaji Man from Great Hockham, and Wolf Brewery from Besthorpe.

Brendan Playford, from Crush Foods in Worthing which produces cold pressed rapeseed oil, said: 'It's fantastic for local producers. Almost everyone here is from Norfolk and Suffolk, which is not always the case at some events, so they've shown a really strong commitment to promoting our local food.'

Throughout the day, crowds were also entertained with children's rides, a crafts tent, tractor and trailer rides, a barbecue and live music, including acoustic singer/songwriter Max Luck and tribute act Class of '87.

Lord Iveagh said he hoped to bring back the festival next year.

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