As well as its fine beaches, quaint villages and stunning scenery, the Isle of Wight is also blessed with a rich harvest of delicious local produce on offer everywhere.  

The summer months are especially good for letting your tastebuds lead the way around the Island, with home-raised fresh fruits, salad vegetables, seafood, meat and dairy products all in great supply at this time of year.

Crab and lobster are among the most sought-after traditional favourites and indeed, the Wheeler family has been supplying them from their fishing boats off south Wight for five centuries.  Now, the newest Wheeler generation has come up with the ultimate in “convenience food” with their puff pastry encased crab pasties, a perfect picnic for the beach.

Visitors will happily queue to enjoy the Island’s famously indulgent cream teas and richly flavoured local ice creams, but there are more hidden delights to discover – thanks to a growing army of small local farms and makers. They lovingly produce everything from cheese, tomatoes, new potatoes and garlic to honey, strawberries, jams and cordials.

Say cheese

The Sandown-based Isle of Wight Cheese Company, for instance, has won multiple awards for its hand-made cheeses that are made using Holstein Freisian milk from nearby Crockers Farm in Newport.

Their selected range includes their original soft rinded, veined cheese, IOW Blue along with the Brie-like IOW Soft, and the memorably-named Gallybagger, an unpasteurised cheddar type hard cheese, but pressed in modern Dutch Gouda moulds to give it a continental shape.  It’s made in relatively small quantities so very little of it ever leaves the Island, and you’ll only tend to see it in local restaurants and delis.

Pretty pungent

For a stronger taste experience, there’s always locally-grown garlic from the Garlic Farm in Newchurch, which sells types of black and smoked garlic, along with  chutneys, sauces, garlic butter and even garlic beer.

And for the sweeter tooth, turn to the Island’s bees, who keep many local honey producers busy filling jars with the lovely nectar.  Much of the honey produced on the Island is made on a small scale, with beekeeping a tradition that dates back to the early monasteries.

Look out at farm shops for Isle of Wight Honey by Mary Case, who has been keeping bees for 40 years and is one of several generations of beekeepers in her family.  

There’s also Bunbury Bees, whose apiaries are located across the Isle of Wight and currently have hives located in Newport, Carisbrooke, Ryde, Brading, Bembridge, St Helens, Wroxall, Arreton, Porchfield, and Chale. Amazingly, the honey gathered from each site will always have its own distinct flavour, imbued by the different flowers that grow around it.

And you can’t get more of a local flavour than that!