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Making eggs and bacon a Kentish affair

PUBLISHED: 09:53 13 December 2012

Liz Sibilia from Visit Kent with a selection of Kentish Breakfast Produce.  Picture: Maxim / www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Liz Sibilia from Visit Kent with a selection of Kentish Breakfast Produce. Picture: Maxim / www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Archant

Sit down to a fry up in any Kent B&B, hotel or cafe and you might be eating sausages from Cumbria, bacon from Denmark or salmon from Scotland.

But there is a burgeoning home-grown food and drink sector already here whose products are local and seasonal, which leave a minimal carbon footprint and play a huge role in the local economy.

Without a link between buyers and sellers, however, the breakfasts served up in Kent will continue to ignore the produce on our very doorstep.

That’s where the Kent Breakfast project comes in.

Launched last month, this is the first accreditation scheme of its kind to award Kent businesses for sourcing at least 60 per cent of their ingredients from within the county.

It is the brainchild of Produced in Kent, an organisation that keeps a long list of local food and drink suppliers, and Visit Kent, the county’s official tourism group, who keeps track of the businesses needing to buy in goods.

Liz Sibilia from Visit Kent launched Kent Breakfast last month by giving lessons in sourcing locally to some of the county’s B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes and anywhere else that serves up a breakfast.

She explained the thinking behind the idea.

“If we are using local suppliers we are giving them employment and business and then the hotels accredited with Kent Breakfast will pass it on to the visitors who can then go to these farm shops themselves. It is a complete chain.

“We need to make sure that hospitality businesses know where their local suppliers are and put them in touch with them.”

Businesses signing up to the free scheme which meet the criteria will receive marketing material and can promote themselves as a Kent Breakfast provider, honing in on survey results that show tourists’ preference for locally-produced foods when they visit an area.

“Fifty per cent of the visitors coming here view breakfast as one of their best dining experiences on holiday and it is a meal they look forward to.

“We want to make sure Kent benefits most from that,” Liz says.

Part of the project entails giving hotels and B&B owners ideas about alternative breakfast products, for instance fruit compote made from locally grown fruits and kedgeree made of smoked haddock from the Kentish coast.

In north Kent, Winterdale Cheese in Wrotham could be used in a European breakfast spread, and the Roundwood Orchard Pig Co in Meopham might serve up the bacon.

Beverley Brown, who owns Roundwood Orchard Pig Farm, is enthusiastic about how the scheme might help local businesses.

“It will be amazing for us. After eating at the cafes we provide bacon and ham for a lot of people come to visit our farm and become customers. This will have a knock-on effect,” she said.

So is it easy to reach the 60 per cent locally-sourced requirement?

“If they know where to go it is. One of our chefs did a demo and got 95 per cent. He couldn’t get the bicarbonate of soda and salt from Kent and that’s it,” Liz says.

While suppliers benefit from an increase in local demand, buyers get to put a Kent Breakfast logo in their premises, on their website and across their marketing.

And it isn’t a scheme reserved for Michelin-star style breakfasts…

“It could be a plain boiled egg on toast if that egg and the butter come from the local area. We’re not looking for anything fancy,” she says.

For information on Kent Breakfast go to visitkentbusiness.co.uk.

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