Of soft fruit and eggs

September 29, 2007 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

Today has been a good day for local food!

I frogmarched the boyfriend to the garden centre on foot, despite the temptation to drive and not have to carry the plants back. (This turned out to have the unintended bonus of stopping me getting carried away and buying loads of bags of compost and random plants.) I bought four wee strawberry plants, two Honeoye, an early fruiting variety, and two Hapil, a mid-season variety. Tomorrow, I’m going to put them in my ginormous pot to get established for next year. I’m really, inordinately excited about this, silly as that sounds – my first foray beyond herbs. I’m even tempted to name them, but that’s a bit daft…

On the way back, we went to the PYO/Farm Shop for the first time, only to get honey (which they don’t make there but comes from Sandhurst which isn’t too far away) but I was really excited to see that they didn’t just have strawberries and raspberries, but also a huge range of other seasonal veg. We’ve both resolved that we should make a weekly trip to get the bulk of our fruit and veg there. We’ve been really lazy and just got everything (except meat) at Waitrose, cos it’s all local(ish) veg and very ethical, but even so, it still doesn’t really compare to things from just down the road. We do have a market, but it isn’t very good for fruit and veg – all iceberg lettuce and Dutch tomatoes and suchlike – and our farmers market is only monthly, and during the week, so it’s not a viable option for general everyday stuff.

It does seem silly, though, that in order to get the most local veg possible, we have to drive (or we don’t have to, but not even I am committed enough to walk 2 miles with an enormous bag of spuds!), whereas Waitrose is in easy walking distance. Funny old world we live in…

I also picked up a leaflet about why local food is important. Hey, guess what – it cuts down food miles, it tastes better, you get a better range of seasonal produce, you can talk to the producers and it helps the local economy! Awesome! Okay, okay, sarcasm aside, (I didn’t really need convincing) it has put me onto a fantastic website which I’m now going to shamelessly plug. This is a county-by-county directory of farms which sell produce directly, including ones with PYO and box schemes.

We also picked another load of blackberries, though again it was a bit disappointing. Perhaps ‘load’ wasn’t the right word. Typically, the best-looking ones were either too high up or in the middle of nettle beds – a couple of times the bf lifted me up so I could grab some juicy-looking ones that were 8ft off the ground!! That would have been interesting to explain to curious passers-by!! We don’t have a fantastic haul, but I should have enough to make a few jars of blackberry and apple jam. When I’ve got some preserving sugar, a funnel and some wax discs….

Lastly, we called in on a lovely lady who freecycled us some crockery when we first moved in and who keeps hens, and bought 6 huuuuuge eggs from her over the gate. They’re proper muddy eggs, from happy hens who wander around in a garden about half a mile away. Hurrah!

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Entry filed under: foraging, garden, local food, shopping.

Allotment excitement Gratuitous garden photos

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."

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