The event was put on by the Pictou Regional Development Agency and organized by Kelly McVicar, its Rural Community Economic Development Officer.
“Last year’s Food Trade Show was an exchange between farmer, fishermen and restaurants to help them make the connection to buy local foods, “ she said. “This year, we thought we would try to educate the consumer. So we welcomed the consumer here today to do some taste testing and buy some products directly from the farmers and fishermen.”
About 12 local food producers set up sample booths for consumers to come test out their product and ask them questions about where to buy their food, how much it costs and what they make.
Frazer Hunter of Knoydart Cheese said events like this one are very important for letting the public know that local food is here and available for them to buy.
“The producer has to meet the consumer so its very important from that point of view, to have these events happen because you get direct contact with your consumer,” Hunter said. “(The consumer) is going to tell you whether they like your product or not and the producer must listen to the consumer because that’s our marketplace. So it’s important that we have these sort of events.”
Malcolm Campbell of Earltown Country Cheese also thought it was a great way to promote local businesses.
“It’s a great opportunity for producers and the public,” Campbell said. “It helps to promote our products and get our name out there and have some people try some samples.”
McVicar said the idea for the Food and Trade Show stems from a strategic plan to sustain agricultural businesses in Pictou County.
“As a rural community development officer I facilitated and planned meeting and we created this plan that set direction for the private sector to transition, promote themselves through education,” she said. “The Pictou North Colchester took over the plan and they’re implementing strategic directions and this was how the food trade show was born because one of the directions was promotion and education.”
McVicar said the show was a success with many people coming in to meet local food producers and test out the products.
“It’s been exceptional,” she said. “Some of the comments I’ve heard is, it’s spectacular to see the support for local food and access to this food.”