A traditional Victorian kitchen garden in the heart of the stunning Northumberland countryside where you can eat what you see and buy food from regional producers opens for business this weekend, Saturday, April 21.
Local food and drink will take centre stage at The Kitchen Garden at Meldon Park near Morpeth. The café will serve up dishes created with Meldon Park Estate-grown ingredients and from regional producers.
The Kitchen Garden will also act as a platform for local producers to sell seasonal food, offer tastings and host special events and workshops.
The Kitchen Garden is the creation of Emily Cookson, whose husband James owns and runs the 4,000- acre Meldon Park Estate.
Emily says: “Our whole concept is built around local and regional seasonal food. Visitors in the café will be able to see the vegetables and produce growing on site while they eat it.
“We’ll be running events to help people use available produce and showcase local food producers at the same time. We will have nominated suppliers who will change throughout the year and we will incorporate their produce into our café menus too.”
Emily turned to regional food and drink organisation Taste North East for help to turn her vision for the Kitchen Garden into a reality.
Taste North East facilitated a Meet the Buyer event to link Meldon Park with new and diverse regional food and drink suppliers.
The event, which attracted 26 local food businesses, will be featured on Channel 4’s Country House Rescue programme later this year.
Jane Hogan, Taste North East’s business development manager, said: 2Our aim at Taste North East is to inspire people to discover, source and share local food, which is exactly what Emily and her husband James are doing in the Kitchen Garden at Meldon Park.
“They should be applauded for the lengths they are going to in order to stay true to sourcing locally and for growing and cooking with produce within the seasons here in Northumberland as well as championing our region’s food and drink producers.”
For Saturday’s launch event Wylam Brewery will be running beer tastings and the Northumbrian Cheese Co and Tyneside bakeries Localicious and Castle Bakery will be bringing samples of their produce.
The launch will also feature plenty of family fun themed around the upcoming St George’s Day, including a competition to name the slumbering dragon that has been ‘unearthed’ by Hexham sculptor David Edwick.
David, who has also created the Meldon Lily, a sculpture which changes with the seasons to be unveiled on the day, will also be demonstrating stone carving.
Next month the Northumbrian Sausage Co will run sausage making workshops using Meldon Park herbs among the ingredients.
• The Kitchen Garden at Meldon Park, which is just 30 minutes north of Newcastle, launches on April 21 and will be open all year Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 4.30pm. www.meldonpark.co.uk