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The Devon County Show 2024

The Devon County Show runs from 16 to 18 May – here’s a food-focused round-up of what to expect this year

Devon County Show

16 – 18 May

devoncountyshow.co.uk

Food is king in Devon, and you will find a marquee at the Devon County Show that celebrates our rich, delicious produce. Always a visitor favourite, this year’s food and drink marquee is one of the biggest on the showground, accommodating up to 70 producers.

The head of this section, Ben Mortimer, talks to Taste Buds about this year’s plans. “With Michael Caines MBE DL, owner of the Michelin-starred Lympstone Manor in Topsham, appointed as this year’s Show President, the food will be taking centre stage in 2024. Pitches went on sale last November and (as we go to press), the marquee is almost full. Not only are lots of favourites confirmed to return, but there are also some exciting new start-ups, too,” says Ben.

He continues: “The Devon County Show has always been committed to helping small, artisan producers get a foot on the ladder, by offering the opportunity to exhibit at favourable rates. We look forward to welcoming Greg Parsons, owner of Sharpham Cheese, who, as Chair of Food Drink Devon, is poised to bring several of his members to exhibit in a new, dedicated area.”

Ben says that perhaps one of the most exciting things for him is seeing producers who started out at the show, and have gone on to successfully build profitable businesses. “Shepherd Shack is a great example. They were first invited to attend in 2021, with Chef Scott demonstrating on the Food & Drink stage and Clair, Scott’s wife, showcasing their award-winning scotch eggs and pork pies. Three years on, business is booming. Clair and Scott are looking forward to returning to the Show, not only because they love meeting customers face to face, but the feedback is also useful to take back to the kitchens, and help develop business ideas.”

Ben adds: “Last year, we introduced an open ‘café style’ seating area. We decided to keep this, enabling visitors to spend more time in the food and drink marquee, relaxing and enjoying the produce they have purchased. Dogs are also allowed in this marquee, on short, fixed leads.”

Visitors to the food tent look for variety and quality. That’s why, unlike some other shows that limit space to exhibitors from their own county, Devon County Show celebrates the culinary expertise of the whole of the South West.

“We are delighted to welcome back our Demonstration Kitchen for 2024. Chefs take to the stage to cook up a collection of culinary masterpieces – so don’t forget to bring your notebook if you’re looking to build your recipe repertoire and hone your cookery skills. Keep a look out too, for rising stars from the Michael Caines Academy at Exeter College.”

The Cider and Dairy Show is back in force, which was won last year by Ridge & Furrow and Curworthy Cheese respectively. Entries are being accepted for these hotly contested competitions. Visit the website for more details.

If you’re thinking about taking part in Devon’s largest consumer event, which attracted 96,000 visitors last year, contact: tradestands@devoncountyshow.org.

And don’t forget to pick up your complimentary copy of Taste Buds from the marquee!

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