The best of Norfolk's food and beverage producers showcased their products at Eat & Drink Norfolk at the Aud this weekend.
Thousands of hungry patrons perused through the selections offered by more than 40 vendors.
John Picard, owner of Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm, knows the value of the exposure gained at events such as Eat & Drink Norfolk. The brewery hosted a soft opening in December and hopes to host a grand opening in the summer at the brewery in LaSalette. In the meantime, getting people to notice their product is key.
“It's a great way to showcase the product to a large crowd,” said Picard, who noted it was not only a large crowd, but it was also filled with people who appreciate food and are happy to give feedback.
“It is great to interact with the crowd.”
Picard said many patrons were interested in hearing about their process, the brewery's story and where they could purchase the products – they weren't simply looking for a sample.
“It is very encouraging,” he said.
Rob Gill, the winemaker at Dover Vineyards, was also pleased with the turnout at their first appearance at the Eat & Drink event.
“It has been great,” he said from their booth Saturday afternoon.
The winery made its debut at the smaller version of Eat & Drink at the Norfolk County Fair in the fall and was excited to see what the flagship event would hold.
“Locally, it just brings awareness and gives you accessibility to the public,” he said.
Picard also noted it wasn't just locals tasting their brews and sampling their chips, he saw many connoisseurs from outside of the county.
“It's nice to get that out of town read on the products,” he said.
Vendors were kept busy with a constant flow of customers over the two day span.
“It has been extremely busy,” said organizer Chantal Zorad Saturday afternoon. “We've had a full house.”
Organizer received positive feedback on the event's new layout, which saw entertainment in the centre of the Aud with a seating area and vendors lining the perimeter.
“We have been busier this year and we had a very good year last year,” she said.
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