Food festival a real grower

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SHEFFIELD’S Food Festival is back for another year to promote local growers and producers - and is expected to attract 40,000 visitors to the city centre.

The event is being held between Monday July 4 and Sunday July 10 and will also involve a range of events around the suburbs.

The full programme, set to include demonstrations and tasting sessions, is to be made public in the coming weeks.

But some of the details have already been revealed.

A city centre farmyard is to be created, complete with DIY milking parlour, pop up restaurants, and community picnics in the city’s parks.

Meanwhile, a ‘gorilla gardener’ will be bringing the sights, smells and tastes of real food growing and production to streets and land all over the city.

Tony Carroll, founder of Garden Gorilla, uses places that you’d never imagine to grow food, just about anywhere he can.

He said: “Garden Gorilla originally came about because of the long waiting list for allotments. We started growing food in any old land.

“We’re now creating instant allotments free of charge around the region, for schools, on vacant land, and in community spaces. We don’t talk about doing things, we just do them, and there is obviously a huge market out there for these as we are oversubscribed at the moment with requests, particularly from schools.”

Tony will be holding growing classes at the food festival on 4-10 July, where people can learn how to grow their own on everything from roundabouts to back gardens.

Eddie Andrew, from Our Cow Molly ice cream, based at Dungworth, hosted the successful Sheffield University World Record attempt to make the fastest ice cream at the Sheffield Food Festival 2010. Eddie will be bringing one of his diary cows and two calves into Sheffield city centre as part of the festival this year.

He said: “We want people to be able to see for themselves how their food is produced. We will be bringing the actual cow ‘Molly’ into the city centre and doing ice cream making demonstrations with liquid nitrogen. Because of the very small ice crystals it produces, we know it makes exceptional quality ice cream.

“We are also very excited about the section of the festival market dedicated to food grown and produced in Sheffield itself. Everything from honey made in urban hives, to cupcakes and quality meat is produced in the city, and people will be able to see and buy this produce. The term ‘local food’ has become meaningless now, and with these products people can have real confidence about where they come from.”

Sheffield Council said the 2011 Food Festival is expected to bring in 40,000 visitors to the city centre.

Chris Shaw, the council’s director of health improvement, said: “From cows in the city’s busiest shopping area, to food growing in unexpected places, this is a food festival with a difference. We all love a good gourmet dinner, but this year’s Sheffield Food Festival is about real people and real food.”

Last year’s event included a demonstration by celebrity chef Levi Roots, tastings, food markets and arts and crafts events, plus sessions where people could find out how to grow their own food.

Log onto www.sheffieldfoodfestival.co.uk for this year’s programme, which will be updated with full details closer to the festival.