Good Food & Gardeners’ World Show

Visiting the Good Food Show with friends is a bit of a tradition for us. We prefer the Summer show as it seems to be less crowded and you have the added bonus of The Gardeners’ World Show you can visit at the same time. I can honestly say this year I found the Good Food part of the show disappointing. Genuine lack of artisan companies, too many big corporate companies and what on earth has toothpaste got to do with Good Food (anyone who went to the show will know what I mean). Don’t get me started on some of the rude stall holders. For some I got the feeling they couldn’t be bothered being there and potential customers were an inconvenience for them. I don’t know if the lack of decent suppliers was due to the show clashing with Taste London. Another gripe of mine was that a large proportion of the alcohol section was only available if you paid another £7 on top of the already quite expensive ticket.

Given the rough some diamonds did shine. The divine chocolate company Lauden‘s Marc de Champagne are some of the best chocolates I have ever tasted and am planning to order some of their truffles and pistachio cups soon. Taste of Johal  were selling delicious hot Indian dishes (a departure from the lack lustre hog-roast roll I had from another stall)

I will admit we ended up spending most of our time and money in the outside Gardeners’ World area as we found this area to be more interesting, plus you were less likely to be bashed around the ankle by the bloomin’ pull-along trolleys.

In the Gardeners’ World end as long as you avoided hot tubs, posh sheds and stalls that wouldn’t look out-of-place at Donnington Market there was the lovely presented Allotment shop along with charities and organisations passionate about wildlife. Outside on the green in the Floral Marquee was were the best stalls were. Stall after stall of beautiful plant and flower displays and to make it even better you could buy the plants. If I didn’t have an already full garden I could have spent a great deal of money. On the Fuchsiavale stand they had some stunning fuchsias including one that appeared to be almost black and hot pink. I wish I had noted the name of it. I also eyed up some alliums, lilies and stunning roses. Hubs purchased a Tree Onion from Pennard Plants. A slightly odd-looking plant that was gaining a lot of interest on the stall, I’ll be interested to see how well it works in our garden.

We enjoyed seeing the show gardens with my favourite being Salad Bar, A Stick in Time designed by Girlguiding Staffordshire and unsurprisingly the veg patch in the Birmingham Borders section. We also listened in to a talk by Alys Fowler on container gardening with the focus on edible plants. I was pleased to hear lots of the plants she suggested we already have in our garden. The floral marquee has given me the bug for flowers and next year maybe we’ll head to Tatton or Chelsea…Oh my goodness I think we’re getting old!

0 thoughts on “Good Food & Gardeners’ World Show”

  • oh, what I shane, I remember going year ago now, and it feeling quite lovely – with Tom Hare giving demonstrations on willow. But I can absolutely recommend Chelsea, see recent list of favourite things – I’ve been 2 years in a row now and absolutely LOVE it, all of it, the inspiration, the flower marque, and the small gardens are wonderful. Hope you like Tea with Mary Kate’s splendid visit to 2010 Chelsea flower show – these are a few of my favourite things

    • The Gardeners’ World part wasn’t bad at all, it was the Good Food part that disappointed. Tom’s beautiful twisted willow sculpture was there.

  • I had free tickets to the Birmingham show but I decided to spend the day in Alnwick instead. After reading this I’m glad I did. There really is nothing that grinds my gears more than people who can’t be bothered with their customers. Grrr!

    Katie xox

  • I feel slightly better about not making the effort to go now – thanks for your honesty. At so many of these events you just feel like everyone’s out for your money!

    Tatton Park is brilliant, a really good day out either way, I can highly recommend it – the show is on in July I think, so you might still be able to get pictures. We’re away, or I would definitely be going.

  • I won’t pay for shows anymore as I am always disappointed by them. I was offered a ticket to the BBC good food this year, but was away, had it still been at Olympia I may have gone.

    I help a friend at various yarn / craft shows and they are increasingly disappointing – the fees to exhibt are astronomical – exhibitors pay the the show all entry fees are profit – it is incredibly hard work too. By and large all the exhibitors are delightful – many will not make any profit from the shows but use them as an opportunity to advertise / market.

    The toothpaste people probably got a good deal last minute. The organisers do not want empty stands!

  • I too went to the show and was disappointed. I went to Gardeners World show many many years ago and it was impressive. I was really surprised by how little plant stalls and displays there were compared to then. I have seen some better displays at Shrewsbury Flower Show/Tatton.
    The Good Food section as you say did not have enough local artisans. I too got the impression at some of the stalls that the vendors couldn’t care less about customers and didn’t know much about the goods they were selling. My favourites were Anila’s ( and Lymn Bank cheeses (

  • Big companies can ruin these events. They don’t really care about the customers all they are interested in is pushing their brands. You can’t beat artisan stall holders, they do what they do because they love doing it and generally have a wealth of knowledge about the products they produce. Maybe it is the organisers of these events that demand large fees to exhibit at their shows?

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