A Mendip butcher turned franchisor, who helped a Somerset school win the best dinner 2007 award, will take pride of place in this month’s Mendip Food and Drink Festival (October 19 to 28).

Among the delights offered by Jon Thorner’s is the free range pork which helped Baltonsborough School near Glastonbury scoop the Somerset accolade.

Later this month he will be showing off why he’s among the best at producing and selling local food on a national scale, and why more than 60 schools across Somerset have chosen him as their food supplier.

As a main sponsor of one of the largest regional food festivals in the country the Mendip Food and Drink Festival. Jon Thorner and his wife Caroline, run two successful template franchise farmshops with a further 4 franchised butchery counters within established farm shops in Somerset and Dorset, say promoting local and regional food is vital to supporting our farming community.

Mr Thorner, who has previously been awarded Somerset Business of the Year, said: “The Mendip Food and Drink Festival offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate regional and local food. It creates a focus on the good things about our region and brings suppliers, retailers and customers together to offer a deeper understanding of what goes on behind the scenes of so many wonderful local businesses.

The recent foot and mouth outbreaks in Surrey have reinforced his message that supporting local producers helps reduce the need to transport animals and therefore reduces the chances of spreading the disease.

He said: “We’re really glad that the Surrey foot and mouth outbreak has been contained and well managed. In promoting local and regional food, we further reduce the travelling of animals and produce which reduces the risk of diseases like foot and mouth spreading right across the country.

“Seventeen of our producers live within just 10 miles of our shops, most of our meat reaches our farm shops after travelling very few miles, ensuring full provenance and quality of the meat and other produce that we offer our customers.”

Jon Thorner’s has an established relationship with marketing specialists Coconut Creatives who manage their on and offline communications, seasonal events and annual marketing strategy to maximise on exposure opportunities such as the Glastonbury Festival which Jon Thorner’s has supplied with produce for almost 10 years.