South of England Show 2018: Meet the exhibitors

South of England Show aerial view

South of England Show aerial view - Credit: Archant

The South of England Show returns to Ardingly this 7, 8 and 9 June. Sussex Life is sponsoring the Food Village this year – here we meet some of the local exhibitors

Kevin Sutherland (Photo by Christopher Sutherland)

Kevin Sutherland (Photo by Christopher Sutherland) - Credit: Christopher Sutherland

The South of England Agricultural Society’s flagship event, the South of England Show, is taking place on 7, 8 and 9 June at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. The show gives new and returning visitors a unique experience of agriculture, horticulture and the British countryside as well as family entertainment, music, crafts, shopping galore and one of the most impressive food halls in the south east featuring many delicious local and regional foods.

At Sussex Life we are delighted to be sponsoring the Food Village this year which is fully booked with more than 60 delicious and tempting food and drink exhibitors including Sussex vineyards, bakeries, beers, cheeses, pies, butchers, candy-makers and even some toffee vodka as well as lots of cookware and accessories for the kitchen.

Here’s what some of them have to say about why they love coming to the largest countryside show in the region.

Kevin Sutherland, Winemaker, Bluebell Vineyard, Uckfield

Jason Grant from Copper Pan Fudge Company

Jason Grant from Copper Pan Fudge Company - Credit: Archant

We were established in 2005 on the site of Glenmore Farm, previously one of the largest pig farms in the area. After the farm closed the land was investigated for grape-growing and with rich soil (from the pigs!) and a good aspect the first fields were planted in 2005 with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Since then plantings have continued and there are now 25 hectares planted, with a further 12 hectares being planted in 2018. We often refer to the transition from “swine to wine!”

What are you most looking forward to about the South of England Show?

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I’ve been attending the show for more than 25 years so I love catching up with people I’ve got to know over the years. As Bluebell Vineyard we have been attending the show since our wine was first released and every year we have customers who seek us out and come along to buy our latest vintage. It’s always great to hear their thoughts.

What is your own favourite British food treat?

I love the range and quality of our Sussex cheeses, especially from our local High Weald Dairy – the Brighton Blue is a favourite!

Jason Grant, Owner, Copper Pan Fudge Company, Chichester

Andy Hepworth of Hepworth Brewery

Andy Hepworth of Hepworth Brewery - Credit: necof images

We are passionate fudge-makers and sellers of other fudge made for us. Our fudge and the truffles we make are all gluten-free. We like to set our stall up like a delicatessen with as many as 25 flavours at any one time. Customers can go through this range and even order by the slice. We like experimenting with flavours and ask our online followers to suggest new ones. We like to involve our customers in almost everything we do, as they are at the heart of our business. We have recently been approached by House of Fraser in Chichester to set up our stand in the entrance on certain days, offering the luxury and branding they look for in the store.

What are you most looking forward to about the South of England Show?

We have been in business for two years and one of our first shows was at the South of England Showground. We exhibit at three shows a year here and have a great following from these events alone. I love the diversity of the South of England Show, which has an eclectic mix of products. I also love meeting new and exciting people. The show is very well organised, with something for everyone.

What is your own favourite British food treat?

One of my ‘go to’ foods is cheese, and you will find a fantastic stand in the Food Village at the show. I tend to spend a lot of money there each year.

Andy Hepworth, Managing Director, Hepworth Brewery, Pulborough

Bertie's Sussex Faire

Bertie's Sussex Faire - Credit: Archant

I do everything from planning to purchasing, hosting, and coffee-making – it’s a very egalitarian company! We specialise in making craft beer with mainly Sussex ingredients. Most of our beers and lagers are also brewed to be naturally gluten-free. We have been independent and brewing since 2001, but the core team worked together for some 15-20 years before that, so we have a lot of specialised experience. Our new premises just north of Pulborough were custom-built for us and we have been brewing here for nearly two years. We are sticklers for quality and our many awards reflect that. We are also exporting and receiving applause in New Zealand, Russia, Italy and will be exporting to Hungary and Mexico shortly too, so it is good to know that we are appreciated abroad as well.

What are you most looking forward to about the South of England Show?

It is a wonderful opportunity to meet our core supporters, who often end up at our stall, and to enjoy the wonderful diversity of the show. This is a classic part of the British tradition and displays Britain at its best.

What is your own favourite British food treat?

It has to be fish and chips with a bottle of our Sussex Ale. Cheers!

John ‘Bartie’ Bartlett, Owner, Bartie’s Sussex Faire, Ardingly

The company started in 2009 and was originally a hobby which got a bit out of hand, resulting in me giving up my original job and focusing on production of an ever-increasing range of preserves, chutneys and mustards – around 90 in total now. The Faire in the name is because the original idea to make jams came to me in France, hence the verb ‘to make’, but we are based in Sussex of course. As well as the traditional types of jams and chutneys we produce some exceptionally hot sauces, so something for all tastes. We also smoke garlic, which is incredibly popular across Sussex as it is still fairly unusual to find this produced locally.

What are you most looking forward to about the South of England Show?

I hope to see many regular customers as well as many new visitors. I especially like to see families and actively encourage the younger visitors to try new foods and hopefully ignite their imagination with the rich offerings that we have in Sussex and the wider UK.

What is your own favourite British food treat?

Cheese! Sussex has a wide range of incredible cheeses and I have a chutney to match every one of them!


What to expect at the 2018 South of England Show - Enjoy an impressive three-day programme of entertaining agricultural events, with new and exciting displays and attractions at the South of England Show on 7, 8 and 9 June 2018 in Ardingly

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