Slow Food Nederland celebrated their first national Terra Madre event this weekend, with a producer market, seminars and taste workshops held in the historic setting of Middelburg Abbey in the south-western region of Zeeland. More than fifty Dutch and Flemish artisan and small-scale producers came together with co-producers and Slow Food members from across the country, including fifty volunteers.
Jan Wolf, chairman of the Slow Food Nederland Board, said ‘As is happening across Europe, in The Netherlands we are noticing a rise in the number of consumers that want to give ‘good, clean and fair’ food a higher priority in their life. This weekend has shown that the time is ripe for a change and that there are quality producers who provide a wonderful alternative to the tasteless, mass-produced products that are created in unsustainable ways against unfavourable prices’.
In the official opening of the event, Joop de Koeijer, local farmer and coordinator of Zeeuwse Vlegel – a cooperative of wheat farmers who have worked for the past twenty years to bring back quality wheat and bread production into the Zeeland region – said ‘Finally, we are getting the response we have been wanting from consumers. It has not been easy to bring back this product and keep it alive. Slow Food Nederland is assisting this process and truly supporting us and it is truly a very happy day for us to be involved in this gathering.’
Fifty producers joined Joop in the produce market, giving an enthusiastic public the chance to sample a wide variety of foods including Goede Vissers (sustainably caught fish), Hoekse Chips potato crisps, Het Vechtdal (produce from the river Vecht valley), De Schelfer pork products, De Witte Raaf vegetables, Opperdoezer Ronde potatoes, Oosterschelde lobster, Gulpener Beer, De Kruidenwei organic goat’s cheese and Eemlook garlic.
Terra Madre Nederland also featured the Producers’ Café, a space where farmers, growers and artisan food producers came together to discuss the issues confronting them and to share experiences and knowledge. Discussion continued in two panels, ‘The Future of Taste Education’ and ‘Hygiene Regulations – Useful, Necessary or a Hindrance?’ Knowledge was shared with the public in a series of taste workshops ranging from Gulpener beer to grey mullet ice cream, from preserving fruits and vegetables to viniculture in The Netherlands.
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