Celebrity chef promotes new store

IAN CLARKE Celebrity chef Galton Blackiston hailed the efforts a new food emporium is making in promoting local produce as he officially opened it on Saturday.

IAN CLARKE

He championed the delights of Norfolk food to a nationwide TV audience of millions as he bid to cook a meal fit for the Queen.

And celebrity chef Galton Blackiston hailed the efforts a new food emporium is making in promoting local produce as he officially opened it on Saturday.

Walsingham Farms Shop has been created in old buildings in the heart of the village and showcases a wide variety of local foods from bread to game and wine to jam.

There is a butchery and deli and pies and ready meals are cooked on the premises.

The enterprise has created 16 jobs and will soon have a fish and chip shop and restaurant opening nearby - and a hair salon and chocolate shop in neighbouring units.

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The shop is a partnership between the Walsingham Estate, its farm tenants and other local producers.

Mr Blackiston, of nearby Morston Hall, who recently appeared in the BBC TV Great British Menu show, told guests at the official opening: "It is fantastic and it needs massive support. The best advertising is word of mouth so everyone here has to go away and shout about it."

He described himself as a "champion of local produce" and hoped the Walsingham shop would be the blueprint for other enterprises to be created in the county.

"We will definitely be regulars here," said Mr Blackiston. "To have somewhere like this where you can get vegetables, fish, meat, dairy produce all under one roof and locally produced is terrific.

"It is a wonderful opportunity to buy an extensive and tempting range of the very best produce Norfolk has to offer."

Walsingham Estate partner John Downing said momentous changes in agriculture - especially falling commodity prices - had been the catalyst for the project.

Manager Giles Blatchford said the enterprise would allow customers to know where their food came from and share profits with local producers, who have suffered at the hands of big supermarket chains

An extra aspect to the project is the creation of guided walks to enable people to discover the link between food production and farming.