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Local producers' profile raised by French restaurant Brasserie Blanc

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

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GLORIOUS food made locally is being celebrated.

Brasserie Blanc at Cheltenham will launch a Local Produce Week from October 15 to underline the rich bounty on its doorstep.

Small suppliers have backed the welcome shot-in-the-arm.

The Queen's Hotel restaurant will be highlighting food and drink from the county and just over the border.

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Assistant manager Zoe McClure said: "All our specials will be from local suppliers over the week.

"It's really important for us to know where our food comes from and we build up strong relationships with our suppliers. We get farmers coming in all the time to offer us produce and we go out to visit our suppliers.

"Cooking has changed so much and customers also want to know more about their food."

Diners' appetites will be whetted by specials using produce from the Dumbleton estate, near Beckford, farmer Martin Guilder, at Gretton, and DJ Perks, in Staverton.

Martin Guilder started up Martin's Meats retail and catering butchers in 2003 after noticing there was a shortage of locally-produced high-quality meat.

The fourth generation farmer uses traditional cattle breeds and rare breeds such as Old Gloucester, White Park and Belted Galloway. He rears on his own farm-assured farm in Gretton or from farm-assured farms in the Cotswolds.

"I'm always a great believer everyone should buy local whether you're a restaurant or a housewife," he said.

"This area has great meat, and very high welfare standards.

"The promotion in the current climate is good as it keeps the money in the local area and boosts local businesses and the community.

"We also supply pigeon and venison which gives employment to local shooters."

Brasserie Blanc's area manager Emma O'Connor added: "There's such an abundance of autumn produce.

"Sometimes the local farms are quite small and may trade in just one particular variety of fruit for instance.

"We also try to name the producers on the menu. We're saying to customers their food comes from five minutes away straight to their table."

Cheltenham borough councillor for sustainability Roger Whyborn applauded the initiative.

"Supporting local producers is environmentally sound and reduces the amount of food miles," he said.

"And I think a lot of restaurants would agree you end up with much better produce.

"We're encouraging local community schemes to grow food, such as the one at Hester's Way, and also trying to increase the amount of allotments. But we don't have a lot of land within the borough and we're having difficulty finding sites especially in the south because it's so built up."

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