Agri-tech, Food & Drink
Dorset has a very long and proud tradition of farming, which has helped to shape Dorset’s beautiful landscape.
Dorset dairy farming is of national importance, as they provide milk for London and the South East. Beef and sheep grazing maintain the landscape, and wheat, barley and rape are the key arable crops grown. Farming also plays a key part in the economic activity of rural Dorset.
Dorset is also the home to Kingston Maurward College, which provides education and training in agriculture and farming. They have recently opened the LEP-funded agri-tech centre, which comprises an agricultural classroom, an IT suite, a high spec workshop and machinery facilities including a fleet of tractors, a GPS tractor, plough, sprayer and variable rate drill. It helps to position Kingston Maurward College at the forefront of agricultural training facilities in the region.
Dorset's Invest in Agri-Tech is available to download here.
Dorset proudly boasts two breweries preserved in their traditional family ownership: Hall & Woodhouse at Blandford St Mary and Palmers in Bridport. Hall & Woodhouse, the brewer of the famous Badger Ales, has had over 200 years of brewing history and expertise. Hall & Woodhouse currently operates 220 public houses across the South of England.
Several celebrity chefs have opened award-winning restaurants in Dorset in recent years, including Mark Hix of “The Ivy” and “Le Caprice” in London and now has his oyster house restaurant in Lyme Regis. The original River Cottage television series was filmed just outside Bridport with Hugh Fernley-Whitingstall promoting local produce and Lesley Waters runs her famed cookery school in Abbots Hill Farm in West Dorset. Altogether, they have helped to raise the profile of local, sustainably produced food.
There is a great range of local food and drink on offer in Dorset, including meat, fish, shellfish, fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and cheese, wines, cider and beer. Additionally, Dorset has amazing producers of grocery and delicatessen items, as well as bakeries still baking in original family ownership.
Dorset is already home to many internationally recognised brands such as Organix, Jordans Ryvita, Dorset Cereals, Pork Farms, Badger Beers, Thomas J Fudge, Clipper Teas, Keith Spicer Teas, Olives et Al, Ford Farms, Chococo, Purbeck Ice Cream and Moores Biscuits. The area also prides itself on its wealth of local and artisan food and drink producers creating everything from fantastic cheeses and breads to gin and chutneys. Bournemouth and Poole is a founding member of the international Sustainable Food City Network and has become the world’s first Sustainable Fish City. Many of Dorset’s products can be found on major supermarket shelves as well as in the food halls of famous stores such as Harrods and Selfridges in London.
Industry specific help can be found from here.