Chairman - Westmorland Limited

A landscape can be seen through many different lenses and our interests determine the lens we choose.  I have always loved food; the ingredients, the cooking and of course, the eating.  I may forget the details of many a place I have visited, but I always remember its food.  Food says so much about a place, especially its staple, every day food.  It tells of its landscape, its culture and of the people who live there.  There is nothing I love more on my travels than to learn about the food of a locality; to see the makers and to taste food which belongs to that place.  Some of my favourite places are those which celebrate best their local culinary distinction. 

You cannot know a landscape without also knowing the food it produces.  In our grandparents generation, the food eaten in Cumbria was based in large part upon what its landscape produced.  Its dishes were centred around its primary produce of beef, lamb, mutton and dairy products; the warming, hearty recipes were well attuned to the climate and livelihoods of its people.  There is a taste in the herbage of our Cumbrian landscape and in the hardy breeds which survive so well on our wet hill sides, which translates into its meat and marks its source; this is no less true for meats than localities for wine.  Today, whilst many other foods have found their way into our dishes, we remain a county committed to our produce. 

I count myself very lucky to work in a Cumbrian food business and one, moreover, that celebrates its place, its landscape, its farmers and its makers.  We are lucky to work with Cumbrian food producers of so many kinds.  There are those who work in our traditional farming industries, rearing cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, game, poultry and fish; those who smoke, salt and cure; those who create eggs, milk, cream, cheese, butter, ice cream.  But we have a host of other food businesses too, reliant on our hedgerows, orchards and talented hands.  Those who create bread, cakes, puddings and pies; those who create jams, chutneys, honey and sweets; those who brew beer and distil spirits; those who make apple juice and roast coffee.  All are unique and maverick, choosing a life committed to creating a beautiful product and supporting the primary produce which is part of and continues to shape our landscape.