The inaugural event, which launches on Monday (11th) and runs until 24th April, is being organised by the Genuine Jersey Products Association (GJPA) and encourages Islanders to recognise and support the diversity of local products.
Importantly, the initiative is being backed by four of the Island’s major retailers, namely Le Riche’s through its Checkers stores, the Channel Islands Co-Operative Society and the Spar shops owned by both the C I Wholesale Group and C I Newsagents. Support is also being given by the Association’s own members, who now total 49.
The fortnight aims to raise awareness of the importance of buying local with in-store food demonstrations, farm visits, competitions and promotions, as well as giving Genuine Jersey the chance to speak to shoppers about their food and product choices.
Hamish Marett-Crosby, chairman of GJPA, explains that by buying local, Islanders are not just buying a product but are buying into the very fabric of Jersey. “There are a whole host of benefits to buying local. It preserves local jobs, reduces the Island’s reliance on imports and generates tax revenue for the Island - something that is particularly important in our current economic climate,” he says.
“In terms of the environment, buying locally reduces the number of miles your food has travelled to get to you, keeps a thriving, working countryside and promotes activities that are environmentally-friendly. Imported products can sometimes be cheaper but the value of buying local is not just in the price. It is in what it gives back to the Island.”
A Genuine Jersey Fortnight is an opportunity for retailers to demonstrate their support for local goods.
Jim Hopley, retail controller of the Channel Islands Co-Operative, says: “Supporting local industry maintains employment, promotes our unique heritage and culture, and ensures economic diversity. Genuine Jersey works diligently to ensure that local producers have a strong profile and we will be doing what we can to support them throughout A Genuine Jersey Fortnight.”
Andrew Bagot, managing director of Le Riche’s, says: “ Our policy of stocking Genuine Jersey produce in all Checkers stores means that our customers not only get good quality fresh fruit and vegetables but that they help to protect and maintain Jersey’s beautiful countryside and farming jobs. Checkers support the growers and we hope Islanders appreciate that A Genuine Jersey Fortnight is not just about the produce, it’s about caring for the environment in which we all live.”
Events during the fortnight include the first Genuine Jersey Market at St Catherine on Saturday 16th April, which involves 18 stallholders – all members of Genuine Jersey – with live music, cooking demonstrations and tastings. Among the food that will be cooked and for sale is Jersey tender beef, which has never before been produced commercially.
One of the chefs taking part in the market is Mark Jordan, from Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel, who is also taking part in in-store demonstrations and devising a special Genuine Jersey menu for his restaurant.
Jason Adams, general manager of the Atlantic Hotel, says: “We appreciate the value and benefit of using local produce, not only for the hotel and Ocean restaurant, but also for the community as a whole.