Jane Hogan joined Taste North East in spring 2012 and has been inspiring everyone to discover, source and share North East food and drink – from one person to the biggest organisations in the region. Jane Hogan lives in Durham and says that, being very British, she would rather leave it to people who know her to decide what her achievements have been! Here, she shares with readers some of Northumberland’s best kept secrets!
Briefly outline what your business/organisation is, and what your role is, where you are based: Taste North East is a not-for-profit membership company which works on behalf of the people who grow, make, serve and sell locally produced food and drink. We create a buzz about their business and their products and we bring them new customers and connections.
We are based in Corbridge (just opposite the station) and Durham and we cover the Scottish Borders to North Yorkshire. I’m also on a bit of a personal crusade to re-brand the North East of England so that we can compete with Made in Scotland/Cornwall/Cumbria etc. We are at a real disadvantage without that.
How long have you worked in Northumberland?: Since April, although I have worked in the county before with a mining company and then with clients of my own business TwentyEight.
What is it about the county that appeals to you?: The landscape, the people and their commitment to getting regional food and drink onto people’s plates in spite of serious obstacles, some natural (our weather) and others man-made.
What’s your favourite Northumberland beauty spot?: The Bamburgh coastline – isn’t that everyone’s?!
Tell us about your favourite view/walk/cycle route/town/nightspot in either Northumberland or near where you live?: The best journey is to travel across Druridge Bay and the best way to do it is on horseback, the best riding in the country is in Northumberland – unfortunately most of it isn’t accessible to most of us, but Druridge is a joy. I also love the train journey from Newcastle to Berwick, most train journeys take you through the worst bits but it’s totally beautiful all the way.
The list of places to visit is endless. But some are more special than others. A trip to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without . . . : Alnwick Castle and Gardens – I really think it can compete with the best in the world.
Why is locally produced North East food the best?: Because the food and drink we are really good at producing is directly from the land and sea, uncomplicated, unprocessed and borne out of really hard work!
Do you have a preferred place to eat out in the North East and why?: You would have to ask a food critic not me – I’m 100% impartial!
People from the North East of England are renowned for the warm welcome they offer holidaymakers and day trippers alike. What do you think is the secret ingredient for this friendliness?: I honestly don’t know where it comes from but I’m so pleased that we have it. When I was pregnant I was left standing with a heavy bag on a train for an hour in Birmingham – people had seats next to them but they wouldn’t move their bags – I remember thinking this would NEVER happen in the North East.
Coast or country, and specifically which part?: In good weather the country because my picnic won’t blow away, on a bad day coast every time it’s magnificent.
Your favourite market town and why?: Morpeth gets my vote – mainly due to Rutherfords!
Your favourite historical site?: Although Durham Cathedral is astonishing, Finchale Priory is very close to us and we have spent many happy hours exploring there.
And the best road to take a leisurely and scenic drive along?: I take the A68 (to Corbridge) most mornings, best enjoyed loitering behind a slow-moving tractor.
What would be your perfect day out in Northumberland?:Wallington Food and Craft Festival – beautiful surroundings, entry into Wallington Hall and great food and jewellery all in one place – bliss.
Category: Northumberland Best Kept Secrets