Sue in Suffolk is doing an 'Eat local' challenge this week, very interesting. Eating seasonally and as locally as possible, or certainly British rather than imported food, is something I feel quite strongly and passionately about. But it's not always very easy to do, surprisingly.
We live in a tiny hamlet, literally surrounded by farms....mostly livestock (dairy and beef cattle, pheasant, chickens, some lamb), with some arable, growing mostly food for livestock. However, we can't buy any produce, be it meat, eggs, milk or veggies, from any local farm - it all goes to market, none of the farms where we live has a farm shop. One of the locals, who works at one of the farms, keeps a few lambs in their garden each year and sells them for meat....we enquired how much for half a lamb recently - £95 for a half lamb - what?! We could buy half a lamb from a butcher (and it would be local lamb) for around £70.
There are a few farm shops around, however, they're not what I would call good old fashioned proper farm shops - more fancy posh places catering to tourists....selling as much high priced booze, gifts you never knew you needed, cards and designer pastas/sauces as locally produced food. And what local food they do sell is incredibly expensive. As Sue has mentioned, the prices for the local foods are probably what we should be paying for high quality, tasty home grown food produced by farmers who love their animals and love what they do. However, when on a limited income - as we are - we can't often afford to buy it. Examples are eggs - the farm shops round here sell local eggs for about £1.20-£1.50 for 6.....we can buy 15 free range eggs in the supermarket for £1.80 - and I use a lot of eggs, so supermarket it is. Meat, cheese and artisan bread are around 2 or 3 times the cost of supermarket goods, so again the supermarket wins. Most of the time. I do buy some local produce in farm shops on rare occasions, and the taste (of meat in particular) is vastly superior....I just have to buy and use less of it.
There is one farm shop that is the exception to the rule....they sell sacks of locally grown potatoes, onions and carrots very cheaply, so I do get those. However, their meat and eggs aren't all that cheap....I suppose it's swings and roundabouts.
I'd love to buy more local food....I just can't afford to.