I’m Fin and some people may know me from various ventures such as from helping out Norfolk businesses at events or in other ways such as through my main jobs for Crush Foods and Candi’s Chutney. Either way, whether you know me or not, that doesn’t change the fact that for ten years (half of my life), I’ve been involved within Norfolk’s food and drink scene, watching our industry grow just as I have. It’s this involvement that was part of me forming my new business Native2Norfolk. Native2Norfolk is, in essence, an events management and planning company, except instead of hosting all manner of events, we are specifically interested and specialise in local food and drink events from markets to food festivals. We aim to cover it all, while always maintaining quality and putting our customers and businesses first.
Throughout my education I was mostly interested in creative arts previously in the form of digital media and photography/filming, alongside studying a lot around food itself, which I see as a form of art and expression. Saying this, my time focussed on media was fun but short lived and it was the ending of this path that lead me to my next – studying events management and production. Quite honestly, this was life changing as it was from this course that this business was born, and my future plans were created.
Although this part of my life was some of the best so far, it wasn’t without difficulty as this all happened through the dreaded COVID years. It’s no lie nor secret that COVID really shook the world and turned everything we knew upside down; even now with everything seemingly the right way up, it couldn’t be further from our life before. COVID had changed our Norfolk food and drink scene, for better or worse it is for us to decide as although it changed everything, it’s given us all a unique chance to re-shape and restart however we please, especially when it comes to events.
COVID brought the events scene to a complete standstill, finishing many businesses, putting stress on others to recoup lost funds and in my case, starting my journey and business. I mentioned COVID changed our food and drink scene because it pushed businesses far into the wholesale world so far that more and more businesses are trying to step out of events. This that both scares me and motivates me to do a better job, so that the public doesn’t lose Norfolk’s food and drink events. If we lost these, then the wholesale world will begin to decline as well and before you know it Norfolk will be a land of supermarket own brand and global companies dominating our kitchens and cupboards. Currently the quality of events is rumoured to be dropping with more and more food and drink events being flops and damaging our reputation as an industry.
However, this stops with me. My aim is to take Norfolk’s food and drinks scene to a level greater than it already is, hand-crafting new and memorable experiences at each event for our businesses and our customers, making a phoenix rise out of the ashes that COVID left behind, making a brighter future for Norfolk. Norfolk now, Norfolk Forever.
Starting off small and dipping my toes into the waters of the event industry, I have two producer’s markets lined up for this year. Both of these events are being held at The Forum in Norwich on Millenium Plain. My first market is just this week, on Saturday 13 August with my second being on 12 November – both markets will run 10am to 4pm. The Forum offers a lovely central city location, creating the perfect environment for a busy and fun market.
We have a variety of producers confirmed for this week’s market including Candi’s Chutney, Owie’s Large Black Piggy Porkers, The Oil Tree, The Almond Kitchen, Norfolk Raider Cider, Sweet Smiles, Norton’s Dairy, Carderelli’s Cakery, Simon’s Table, Crush Foods, The Norfolk Spirit Co., Nelson and Norfolk Tea, Bakeshack, The Norfolk Cookie Co., The Little Blue Pup-Cakery, Mindful Mixology, Panther Brewery, Love My Fudge and Shakes, Kind Foods, and Dann’s Ice Cream. This mix of producers provides you with everything you need to stock up your kitchen and pantry for the month to come and enough variety to keep you entertained for a while.