Hairy Biker Si King - Banging the drum for North East food and drink producers
PUBLISHED: 20:18 12 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:21 20 February 2013
Our star columnist takes a break from his tour to bang the drum for producers of food and drink around the North East
In times of recession artisan food producers tend to suffer but it would be a mistake not to invest in the local food economy. It is true that food produced by local artisan producers can be a bit more expensive and that money can add up, but Id far rather spend that money with someone near me who produces great food and employs people from the community than give it to a multi-national.
During times of strife its always a good idea to look back at who we are and where we came from. The North East has always been under some form of pressure, so were no strangers to dealing with adversity. Perhaps because of that it has always been a dynamic and resilient part of the country and its important that in a world of continued homogenisation, that we continue to stand up and be counted. We need to carry on going our own way and be focused on our area and what we can do to help each other.
We always get it worst in the North East, were always under more pressure than most parts of the country, particularly the South East. The recession is affecting everybody, other than the top ten per cent the government seem to be looking after.
What we fundamentally need in this area is a cohesive strategy across the board because it is very difficult to get the message across. Its not the people who already do it we need to get the message across to, its those who dont. We dont do nearly enough shouting about what we do and as a result we have been left behind other parts of the country.
But we cant do as some other areas do and have Made in the North East stickers on everything unless it all is. We are proud of our area and everything it has produced but that can not stop with the industrial generation, it has to continue.
Its not the fault of any one person or group, but at present there is no facility for getting the message out there I dont know what the answer is but I do know that since World War Two there has been a cheap food policy in the UK.
At the end of the war our nation was virtually starving and I think its interesting to look back and take lessons from that time using of cheaper cuts of meat and vegetables which are still reasonably cheap, can help make money go that little bit further and allow us to spend that little bit more with our wonderful local producers.
Dave and I are on tour now and its going well so far. Its a good show, an ambitious show all eclectic and high octane. Someone described it as like Crackerjack for grown-ups. You know what the two of us are like, we just segue one bit of madness in to the next. There has been a terrific response so far its all been a bit mad recently, the Hairy Dieters book being top of the charts and the tour going so well. Dave and I dont over-analyse things too much, we know there will come a time when people stop enjoying what were doing, so well just keep pottering along and having fun together while we can.
* The tour comes to Newcastle in November and Sunderland in February for tickets and more information, log on to hairybikers.com.