Center Parcs looks locally to source regional dishes

The 1.5 million people who visit Center Parcs holiday villages each year will soon be eating regional food sourced from local producers.

The holiday company has started buying local food in a deal with Plumgarths – the local foodservice hub and retailing business run by Cumbria farmer John Geldard.

Called “The True Taste of Cumbria”, the initiative will deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth a year of locally produced food to the Center Parcs holiday village at Whinfell near Penrith.

A similar sourcing model has been set up at Elveden Forest in Suffolk, and there are plans to extend the sourcing model to sites in Wiltshire and Nottinghamshire.

At the launch, Sir Don Curry – the government’s adviser on sustainable farming – hailed it as a valuable way of addressing the challenges facing local food producers.

“We haven’t reached anything like the marketing potential of local and regional food; we’ve only just started to scratch the surface.”

To begin with, 30 different branded products are being sourced from eight suppliers in Cumbria, from Low Foulshaw eggs to Woodhalls bacon and Plumgarths sausages.

But that number is set to grow, according to Richard Walters, head of food marketing at Bidwells, which set the deal up.

Simon Kay from Center Parcs said food was a very important part of enjoying a holiday, but buying local did not mean paying more.

“Half of the 12 restaurants at each of our Cumbria and Suffolk sites now feature regional food dishes on the menu with each clearly identified.

“The aim is to roll out this initiative across all four sites and also to provide a retail opportunity for these foods through our on-site shops.”

Charlotte White of Cartmel Sticky Toffee Puddings said Plumgarths Farm Shop made delivering to large customers easy through its sourcing hub.

“We’re now selling around 2000 puddings a week to Center Parcs.”

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