So August 4th-7th 2016 saw the inaugural BBC Countryfile Live weekend held in the grounds of the historic Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Billed as an opportunity for the increasingly popular BBC show to give something back to their viewers. It was a chance for the public to experience the Countryfile world close up. We were very priviledged to take part in this first ever Countryfile Live event and even more proud to have been chosen to stand in the Food Heroes Marquee. Our handcrafted gourmet popcorn proved very popular with the visitor both to take home or as a treat to eating whilst ringside watching a show.
BBC Countryfile Live Stars of the Show.
Undoubtably the stars of the show were the animals, most of which had come from Countryfile Presenter Adam Henson’s own farm. Under the banner of Passion for British Livestock there was Adam’s Farm. This was mini version of his Cotswold Farm Park set up to show visitors where their food comes from, breeds at risk, traditional British breeds with a chance to touch and hold the animals.
All the regular Countryfile presenters were at the show and took turns on various stages doing talks, presentations, interviews and demonstrations. Whilst on a break I managed to listen to the legend that is John Craven and fellow presenter Ellie Harrison talk about their time on the show. They spoke about how things have changed over the years and what their current work schedule is like when filming Countryfile. Adam Henson was busy between his farm and the stages covering all manner of tasks and topics. BBC weather presenters Carol Kirkwood and John Hammond took turns presenting “Behind the Scenes” on The Big Barn Stage. On Thursday morning before the show opened to the public we caught a glimpse of Carol Kirkwood from BBC Breakfast rehearsing for the weather forecast and on Friday I had a quick chat with her as she stopped by our stand in the Food Heroes marquee. Nearby our marquee was the Food Heroes Stage where fellow Yorkshireman Brian Turner held numerous chef demos each day, alongside Rick Stein, Valentine Warner & Nigel Barden to name just a few.
Highlights of the show.
The glorious weather we had for 4 days was one of the highlights but there was so much to choose from. The Village Green had the old fashioned family garden games, carousel and helter skelter. The Stihl Timbersports Stage had highly talented chaps carving tree trunks into so many different animals it was mind blowing. The Food Market had flavours from around the world but my personal favourite was a Southern Fried Pheasant Wrap with Garlic Mayo – so good I had it for lunch two days in a row! My personal highlight was in the equine ring when I was lucky enough to catch the Shire Horses being driven in a six whilst pulling the local brewery carriage – a sight to behold. And then there is everything I missed as I had to be at my stand selling my gourmet popcorn of course.
A nod to the Countryfile Team.
The Food Heroes marquee was on Baker Street named after Matt Baker.
Other names were:
Rani Rise – Anita Rani
Craven Square/ The Craven Arms – John Craven
Ellie Lane – Ellie Harrison
Henson Hill – Adam Henson
Tom Heap Hollow – Tom Heap
We had such a great time trading at the show and flying the flag for Yorkshire Food Producers that we have signed up again for next year already. So 3rd-6th August 2017 you will find us in the Food Heroes Marquee at BBC Countryfile Live – hope to see you there.