More than 20 businesses have signed up to take part in a new festival that is focused on food tourism and getting more people out trying new experiences.
Provenance Festival will run for 10 days from September 24 to October 3 and will feature numerous events taking place at various food and drink businesses across the north-east.
Organised by Opportunity North East (ONE), the festival will give locals and visitors alike a unique insight into a variety of experiences which will further educate them on the field to fork and grain to glass ethos many firms boast.
It will shine a light on manufacturers, farmers, brewers and distillers to name a few.
The series of educational and engaging experiences will include everything from how cheese is made to how Deeside birch sap makes the perfect gin and more.
Businesses that have never offered tours and experiences before, including Balmoral Game, Esker Spirits and Mackie’s of Scotland, will also welcome the public to their venues for the first time.
Food firms including Forest Farm, Castleton Farm Shop, Dean’s,
Aberdeenshire Highland Cattle and Rora Dairy have all signed up to take part.
On the drinks front, expect to see Fierce Beer, Lost Loch Spirits Ltd, six˚north, The House of Botanicals, Brew Toon and The City of Aberdeen Distillery and Gin School plus more.
All of the events will be listed on VisitAberdeenshire’s website where direct links will be provided to book the experiences at their venues, some of which will be free.
Ian Booth of Balmoral Game, which is based near Kintore, is looking forward to welcoming the public to his red deer farm this September.
He said: “Offering a visitor experience that strengthens our relationship with the customer and gives them greater insight into our products is something we have been keen to do and now feels like the ideal time as things open up again.
“The festival gives us access to specialist support to tailor, develop and market the right experience and the added benefit of being part of something bigger along with many of the region’s leading food and drink brands – it’s a no-brainer.”
Become a cheesemaker for the day
And Cambus O’May Cheese Company owner, Alex Reid, has also signed up to take part. Having offered tours at their dairy in Royal Deeside since 2015, guests will be able to try out cheesemaking for the day where they will spend a day in the cheese room.
He said: “Enjoying food and drink experiences at home was vital for many over the last 18 months with keen interest from consumers to source and experience what is available on their doorstep.
“A festival that brings individuals, families and businesses together to learn about and celebrate the region’s unrivalled produce could not come at a better time.
“We know from our existing visitor experience that there’s a strong appetite to support local business and more sustainable supply chains. We can’t wait to welcome people back to the dairy and share our story with a hands-on learning experience.”
According to the Scottish Tourism Alliance, visitors currently spend almost £1 billion every year on food and drink when they holiday in Scotland.
And with more people now interested in supporting local and understanding where their food comes from, Peter Cook, ONE’s director of food, drink and agriculture, is sure the public will be keen to get involved.
“Through the pandemic people have had more time to think about their food – they are interested in where it comes from, how it’s produced and the people who make it. As lockdown ends we have a tremendous opportunity to lead the way in telling the story of food and drink and in the process create a new income stream for businesses.
“We have great family businesses, lots of natural storytellers, a tremendous heritage, systems which span from soil and sea to plate, lots of interesting new businesses and products, and great natural, sustainable production systems.”
For more information on Provenance Festival click here.