Being a responsible tourist or being a responsible tourism business doesn’t stop by turning the odd light off here and there or recycling a plastic bottle. Yes, carrying out energy saving processes and recycling is important but lets delve deeper and think about responsible tourism in the context of food.
Food is becoming a reason for travelling. It is a decision maker in where to stay for a growing number of tourists and one of the main reasons is to sample the local produce in that area.
Cumbria and the Lake District, who would have known a few years ago that this region is starting to become as famous for its food as its fells! From restaurants to hotels, cafes and food outlets, the regions food sector is winning awards for its cooking and produce, after all, Cumbria now has the UK’s best restaurant L’Enclume and the 2 Michelin stars it holds. At the core of L’Enclume is local produce.
Local produce and the sourcing, cooking and eating of it is responsible on so many levels. Seasonal produce responds to nature and is food at its best. Sourcing locally means low transportation costs so lower emissions and it is also responsible in terms of supporting and sustaining local businesses. As many chefs are talking about now, what grows together, goes together and this is very exciting environmentally, sustainably and so important, tastily!
The Westmorland Hotel in Penrith have gone that bit further towards lowering their carbon footprint and supporting local businesses. The biggest being the rearing of the meat used at the hotel, Tebay Services and their Farm Shop themselves. Being farmers before venturing into the hospitality sector has proved a winning combination and has created responsibility and sustainability in many forms. The animals are reared to the highest of standards and the meat only has to travel a handful of miles to be butchered and prepared. The Westmorland Farm Shop doesn’t just stock their own produce but also one of the biggest ranges of local Cumbrian produce from cured meats to cheeses, chutney’s, cakes and jams.
So it is fantastic that food is doing its part in responsible tourism and especially is a region such as Cumbria and the Lake District. Farming is a key industry there yet as with so many industries needs support but this is not hard with the produce coming out Cumbria and the Lake District being s0 unbelievably delicious!
By Jenny Andrew