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People in Angus will have an opportunity to buy the very best products from local businesses in time for Christmas – without leaving the comfort of their own homes.

The umbrella organisation for local food and drink suppliers across the county, Appetite for Angus, has organised a Virtual Christmas Market which will take place on Thursday November 26 at 7pm.

Everything Angus has to offer in festive food and drink will be available at the event which will be held across the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

After a successful night market in October, businesses have been quick to sign up for the festive event and those taking part are: Sacred Grounds Coffee Company, Short ’n’ Sweet, Hospitalfield, Owen’s Angus Jams, Ogilvy Vodka, Cakesbymelanie, Fournos- authentic Greek food, Newton Farm Holidays, Wee COOK, S-Mart Angus, Redcastle, El Tajín at Home – Authentic Taste of Mexico, Feed Me Full, The Gin Bothy, Carolyn’s kitchen, Artisana – Exquisitely Decadent Brownies, Baked By Belle Baking, Appley Ever After, We Love Platters, Carnoustie Distillery, Mor Beers, South Powrie Farm Kelly Bronze Turkeys, TL Lamb, Murton Farm, Fallone’s Pizzas and Gelato, Pitscandly Farm, Arbikie Distillery, Autumn Wren, The Littlest Herb Company, Bon de Macaron, Made On Our Farm and Smithies Deli & Gin Emporium.

The way the market operates is extremely simple. You can access any of the producers through your chosen social media site whether that be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by using a simple hashtag.

On the night from 7pm, simply log on to social media and type in #A4AFestiveNightMarket which will bring up all of the businesses in the county and the products they have available.

New Co-ordinator

Organising the event is Appetite for Angus’s (AFA) recently appointed food tourism coordinator Sophie Thompson.

Sophie was appointed to her position last month by Angus Tourism Co-operative Ltd which oversees AFA as a sub-group focused on developing the food and drink network for the county.

The primary purpose of this new role is to promote Angus producers, hospitality and products, and make Angus a food and drink destination of choice.

And the position has been made possible by Appetite for Angus’s participation in the Scotland Food & Drink Regional Food Groups programme.

The virtual market and new appointment are important steps in fighting back from the coronavirus pandemic, with Angus food and hospitality firms currently operating under tough Tier 3 restrictions.

Sophie joins AFA from her previous role as Development Worker at Murton Trust in addition to working freelance in digital communications representing various rural businesses in Angus. 

Focal Point

In the role, she will take the lead in the coordination of efforts to boost food tourism in Angus, acting as the focal point for food and drink related businesses across the county as well as coordinating with national food and drink and tourism organisations, Angus Council, local third sector groups, food projects and markets.

Sophie said: The market will work in the same way as the virtual night market last month, although we have created a dedicated Facebook page which producers can post on if they like. Producers can see the links through our Facebook page, although they will be posting as well.

The last market we had there were 25 producers who took part which was fantastic. It was really well received and we got a lot of really positive feedback. After the success of our first virtual market in October we decided to go for a more festive theme to spread some festive cheer in Angus and also to highlight the amazing food and drink producers there are in Angus.

What I am trying to do is build a rapport with local food and drink businesses and try to engage with some of them who look at it maybe as just a hobby and say to them, ‘No actually you’ve got a really good business, the products you make are amazing and you’re really passionate about what you do so let’s put you on a platform where you can showcase your work.

It’s really about supporting the people who make the actual produce as well. We run workshops as well in partnership with Scotland’s rural college which can involve anything from marketing to telling your story.

Promoting local businesses

Having been in post for almost a month now, Sophie is enjoying helping businesses throughout Angus and highlighting some of the good work that is going on in the county.

She added: I absolutely love it, I am such a people person. For me to get out and see these food and drink businesses, especially with the struggles that Covid has thrown our way. It’s really good to have an actual representative.

We have Daniel Muir as well who is a fellow coordinator who helps out one day a week, so together we can support all the food and drink businesses in Angus.“We are trying to help new businesses and up and coming businesses and introduce them to the network. It is a case of bringing everyone together.

We can increase awareness of what they offer by helping to increase their digital engagement through followers and page likes etc, and help generate sales.”Scott Byrne, vice-chairman of Angus Tourism Co-operative, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to appoint Sophie to this key role which we believe is fundamental to Angus having a strong and comprehensive food and drink network.

Appetite for Angus is delivering on its promise to add value and growth for the industry in Angus, and this new role will strengthen that even further.

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