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Campaign supports local food producers


Bolton deli and brasserie Zest is hoping to rally local restaurants, hotels and caterers in a campaign to buy local produce and boost the North West food economy.

The man behind the Smithills-based business, on the Doffcocker Roundabout, is out to persuade the local food industry to buy a minimum 15 per cent of its ingredients from farmers and suppliers within a 50-mile radius of Bolton town centre.

It makes great sense, says Richard Cort (pictured), not just to boost local farming economies but from a variety of environmental aspects too.

The whole issue of food miles is one of the most worrying things facing the food industry today. In the UK alone, the food we all eat is said to have normally travelled a total of more than 18 billion miles, by air, sea and road, before it reaches us. Just imagine the level of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution that involves not to mention the cost which I have seen put at something like 9 billion a year.

All that adds nearly 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. The government is concerned the environmentalists are concerned and we should be concerned too.

For a while, now, Zest has had what we call a Zest Local 50 policy for our deli, brasserie and outside catering businesses whereby we try to buy as much local produce as we can from within a 50 mile radius of the Doffcocker Roundabout.

We get meat from Salford, herbs and salads from Urmston, cheeses from the Ribble Valley, olive oil from Warrington and we make our own pies, lasagnes, cheesecakes and smoothies.

It makes good business sense because people like to buy local produce. And if we bought more from local farms then they would become more profitable and prices could come down. So everybody wins.

In any case we should owe it to our surrounding suppliers to buy closer to home wherever possible where food is produced for quality and taste not for quantity and economies of scale.

But Zest cant do it alone. I would like all Bolton restaurants, hotels and catering businesses to commit to a Bolton Local 50 pledge and together we could make a real difference to the local economy.

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