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Norfolk food heroes show the next generation where food comes from

PUBLISHED: 08:50 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 08:50 15 April 2013

Beekeeper Mike Thurlow from Orchid Apiaries gives a talk about the importance of bees at Valley Primary School in Norwich.

Beekeeper Mike Thurlow from Orchid Apiaries gives a talk about the importance of bees at Valley Primary School in Norwich.

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Norfolk's food heroes have come out in force to show children where their food comes from and how they can be the food producers of the future. EMMA HARROWING finds out what they have learnt as part of our series on the Norfolk Food Discovery Project.

Over the past few months we have seen how children from primary schools in Norwich have taken to the allotment in a bid to grow their own crops, have visited local farms to find out where food comes from and have experienced their first cooking class in order to gain the skills needed to make nutritious meals using some of the foods they are in the process of growing.

The field to fork project is all part of the Norfolk Food Discovery Project. Now in its third year, the scheme, managed by the Country Trust and funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund aims to show children and their families where their food comes from.

“One of the key parts of the project is arranging for local food heroes to visit schools to show the children how food is produced here in Norfolk,” says the scheme’s project manager, Christabelle Dilks.

“Earlier this year Sue and George Hall from Drove Orchards came to Magdalen Gates Primary to talk to year four pupils about the hundreds of varieties of apples which are grown in East Anglia and made into juice. The visit was a huge success as it raised a lot of questions from the children who were keen to know how their apple juice is made.

“We invite local food heroes to come into schools to tell children how they produce food: it broadens children’s horizons by giving them a taste of something new. It also gives them a new appreciation of how food is made and we hope it might inspire some children to work in food production themselves one day.”

Such was the success of the visit, more food hero visits have taken place over the past few weeks.

When beekeeper Mike Thurlow from Orchid Apiaries carried a large wooden beehive into Valley Primary School, the buzzing from inside made the children sit up excitedly during assembly. Would the bees swarm? wondered the exuberant crowd.

Of course, being an experienced bee keeper, Mike kept the bees safely contained. He showed the children the honeycombs, told them how bees work together and gather pollen and explained how essential bees are to all our lives. In fact, a third of everything we eat depends on bees to pollinate our crops.

“The children were fascinated and loved looking inside the hive to watch the bees working away,” says Christabelle. “Best of all they tasted Mike’s delicious honeys and learnt how different honey made from different flowers can taste.”

Over at Tuckswood Primary, children were amazed to discover that ice cream can be made from cream with only sugar, eggs and natural flavourings such as locally grown fruit added. Thanks to Chris Coughlan from Lakenham Creamery, the children tasted the locally made ice cream and commented that it tasted good.

Then there were the children from Peterhouse Primary in Gorleston and North Denes Junior in Great Yarmouth, who, one cold morning, came face-to-face with a goat! In fact, the goat wasn’t real, but was a model of the real thing which had been brought in so the children could milk her as part of an assembly on cheese making by Sam Steggles.

“The talk gave the children the chance to find out what goats like to eat and how they have to be milked at 5am – some children willingly offered to help out!” says Christabelle.

“They also found out how cheese was made and got to try some goats cheese. Most children would turn their noses up at trying new foods, but the project is all about encouraging children to try new flavours with an open mind – and most loved the taste.

“We are hugely grateful to our food heroes for inspiring so many children and we are on the look out for more food producers to visit Herman Primary in Gorleston – so get in touch if you can help!”

For more information about the Norfolk Food Discovery Project contact Christabelle Dilks on 07714 342350, or visit www.norfolkfooddiscovery.org

For information on the food producers featured here visit:

www.lakenhamcreamery.co.uk

www.droveorchards.com

www.fieldingcottage.co.uk

Orchid Apiaries honey can be bought at Waitrose and local farm shops.

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