The small producers in our region are beginning to fight back in a David and Goliath battle.

These are of course our local producers, suppliers and retailers, who, a short while ago, looked like they could be facing extinction. But now, it seems, the tide has turned.

A new report by the Countryside Agency has discovered one in five consumers now using local produce, with many thinking about the option.

It was to help increase this figure that the Evening Press Eat Local campaign was begun last year.

Many of the region's finest restaurants are strong advocates of local produce.

Michael Hjort, prize-winning chef and owner of Melton's and Melton's Too, has supported the Eat Local campaign from the beginning, feeling support of local producers is necessary for the future of such enterprises.

He said: "Here at Melton's we are seen as an example, a showcase for local goods. We make a very conscious effort to feature very significant quantities of local produce."

While supporting the region for its own sake, Mr Hjort also felt the goods gave his restaurant a little something extra.

He said: "It undoubtedly adds to our success. It is an important part of what a quality restaurant does.

"It provides us with better quality produce which is fresher, and more intrinsically interesting than anything you could find in a mass market situation."

One of only three pubs in the country to hold a Michelin star, The Star Inn at Harome, is another keen advocate of local produce.

Owner Andrew Pern said: "Here in the heart of the farming community, we have amazing produce on our doorstep.

"When people come to the country, we want to give them a real taste of the country on the menu, it can be so different to that you taste in the city, and it really fits in with such a country pub."

Back in York, another Michelin Star winner, the Blue Bicycle on Walmgate, was only too happy to collaborate with the Evening Press in it's attempt to further boost the local scene.

Executive chef Kenny Noble said: "We always use local goods as much as we can, there is that edge to them, and our customers know that it is there. Sometimes you just can't beat the taste of fresh spring lamb or beef from the Vale of York.

"Our customers come here for quality, and we know we can provide that with fresh Yorkshire goods."

If you have not yet tried local goods for yourself, why not get down to one of the great producers or suppliers in our Local Listings.

Follow our top chef's example with the unique menu from the Blue Bicycle on page 3 and see what you have been missing.