Local Buying Experiment Begins
0 comment Tuesday, October 7, 2014 |
With wump in tow (and me in a sour mood before I even started due to pain and cold; poor sprog, sometimes I must be a right bugger to put up with...), I went out to brave the elements and get supplies in, keeping my goal to stay local in mind.
The market was easy enough - I passed up the citrus fruits and the pineapples, the dates (bit of an ouch there as I like dates) and instead contented myself to storage apples and pears (the pears currently a bit past their prime, but what sprog doesn't eat, my dog will as she's raised raw-food). I managed to get not ONE loaf of my favourite bread, but two - one for the freezer. This was a good thing as the supplier says he might run out of stock; roads are closed and he can't get any of his supplies in! So, score for me!
The meat stall; bones for the dog, venison, local honey and a rare indulgence; farmhouse butter. Honestly, it's gorgeous, you think real butter is "real", try farmhouse, or better still make your own. Heavenly! I thanked them for the lovely turkey for the holidays, and confessed even sprog had eaten his share, to my surprise.
I then went to another butcher where I tend to get my meat from as it's a bit more flavourful - some local cabbage, organic carrots, and some lamb and chicken thighs. By this point, the walking was starting to get to me - the butchers is a ways out of city centre but worth it.
I made my way back to a small, mum-and-pop sort of local store which stocks local wines and beers as I found myself in the mood for mead, and they serve up some of the best. I succumbed to the lure of their Ginger Wine (if it's really good, I'll try my hand at making some myself this year) and also found myself lured in by a dorset bakery chocolate muffin. But herein is the rub - chocolate isn't local, is it? Argh! Nor is demera sugar, which is the only thing I can get sprog to have on his porridge. Grimacing slightly, I bent the rules a bit and got the muffin and sugar anyway. Baby steps, baby steps...
I still ended up having to brave the Tesco's however, as I was on a mission to get sprog the chai tea which he's started to drink in earnest. Unfortunately, stock in the Tesco's is equally scant it seems due to the weather conditions and they were sold out. I settled instead for Lady Grey, and then decided to bend another rule by getting some flowers. Over the past few years I have stopped buying flowers as I couldn't afford them - but I'm in need of something growing and beautiful in my house of late, so I buy �5 of flowers once every few weeks. It tends to also keep the idea of the garden fresh in child's mind and gives him something beautiful to look at - he may find a flower in the bouquet he finds beautiful and will ask about growing them (geberas were the most recent fascination).
The thing I discovered about stepping into Tesco's however, is how quickly I found myself breaking my own rules; I bought pasta, I bought pizzas, I bought stuff to make tacos and wraps and so on. Half the purchases went well out of my local range, if not completely out of the UK. It was rather eye opening and frustrating at the same time. Most of all, I know I had more than enough food when I was going in. I was going to get tea and flowers, but instead, I bought another �30 worth of stuff, even laden as I already was. Such is the lure of the supermarket! It certainly seems to add impetus to avoiding supermarkets altogether as impulse buying just seems to happen in there. Still, considering there is more snow on the way and stock is getting low, it may be for the best that I am fully stocked now with food for everyone in the house, split-decision buying or not.
With some exceptions (chocolate, sigh) it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. It does require shopping for the seasons - eating raspberries and citrus fruit in January may seem nice, but it rarely tastes good as it's all hothouse, not to mention expensive and shipped in from elsewhere. It requires being willing and able to cook rather than just take something out of a box. It also means I do a lot of to-ing and fro-ing from market to butchers and then back, sometimes so laden I have to take a cab rather than the bus, which triples my transport expenses.
But after a lovely lunch of grilled, marinated chicken thighs (by weight, about a third a chicken breast, and I didn't feel I was losing out as the flavour was excellent), a bechamel-cheese bake of kale, sprouts, carrots, tarragon and the last of my beans from last year, a cup of Lady Grey with local honey, and - yeah, the muffin, I'm thinking I may be on the right track.