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Friday, 15 November 2019

Buying and eating locally produced food

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.

10 comments:

  1. Sadly, you're right. Buying locally produced food isn't easy. And don't get me started on plastic wrapping! I remember my Mum going to the local greengrocer, him weighing out the veg and just tipping it straight into her basket, mud and all! None of this pre-packed nonsense. xx

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  2. You make some very good points there. I agree, locally produced food can be very costly, especially meat. It may be great quality but out of my price range except for a very rare treat - and then I feel guilty for spending so much.
    Of course, the best locally produced food is that from ones own garden and you do that!
    xx

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  3. I miss my much used farm shop so much! It was about a mile from us and was a good old fashioned one - not even a shop as such, more a stall with small port-a-cabin. A farming couple ran it and sold all sorts of fresh veg (no meat) grown just down the lane on their farm. You could get giant bunches of mistletoe and holly at Christmas for pennies! Also they sold lots of garden plants and flowers in the spring/summer. Sadly the chap became ill and eventually died and his wife couldn't run it alone so it closed down. We've got a few "posh" farm shops as well - some even have a restaurant - but they're so expensive. Luckily we are able to grow some of our own in the summer, but I really miss the old farm shop.

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  4. I know just what you mean, not that my area is well known for food, but we don't even have a market, let alone a greengrocer or anything like that. So we too are tied to the supermarket for most of our shopping as things either aren't accessible or are out of my price range.

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  5. We are lucky in that we can buy some things - eggs, bags of potatoes, occasional surplus veg - at the farm gate from a few local places. We also have a butcher who only sells locally reared produce. It is more expensive than the supermarket, but the quality is great. There are several farm shops within striking distance that are simply rural delis. They are very expensive and seem to appeal to people from nearby towns who are on a day out and want to buy their olive oil from somewhere rustic! However I have noticed that our local supermarket has started to sell more local products at reasonable prices, so perhaps there is hope that things are starting to change.

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  6. The East of England Co-op do lots of promoting of local produce - a whole shelving section in each of their shops, but more expensive of course.
    I'm just getting to the end of my week of eating local so will have lots more posts about it, but it is certainly only a one-off as it was very costly for some things.

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  7. How far are you from U of Bristol

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  8. Know what you mean. I live on the outskirts of Norwich and there are no local farm shops here, used to be but not any more. nearest farmer's market is on a Sunday morning which I can't go to as I'm at Church. Have shopped on Norwich market which is supposed to be the largest outdoor market in the country and last time half the fruit I got was rotten so won't be going again. Stuck with supermarkets

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  9. Our butcher sells his meat from his own cows. Cheaper than the supermarket and absolutely delicious. We have a farm shop up the road which sells locally grown spuds. We are lucky.

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  10. We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) with a local farm near my home. It is not cheap but the taste is so much better than a supermarket. I have tried growing my own but seem to have too many deer and pests where I live.

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