Friday, 22 November 2019

1 Week Eating Local Part 8 The Conclusion

The end of the week of eating local.....................it was an interesting sort-of-challenge to do.

 I ate more bread and eggs than normal and as the only local fruit was apples they got a bit boring........  eaten as snacks as well as part of a meal. There should have been local pears at the farm shop but their supplier had had a very poor crop....and had sold out in October.
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Some local food is easy to find thanks to the East of England Co-op and their Locally Produced shelves. My nearest Co-op is in Debenham 4 miles from me.

Meat - Easy from Co-op or Farm shop and many local butchers who sell meat from local farmers. I've always bought local sausages/bacon from the Co-op anyway. The Hog and Hen have their own whole chickens..........Very expensive. I eat very little meat by choice.

Honey - Easy as I had local in the cupboard and when that runs out there are several places I know to buy more.

Jams and Chutneys- There are many local companies that produce jams, chutney, mustard, mayonnaise  and sauces. Stokes of Rendlesham is one. Co-op stock them. I don't need to buy jams etc as I make my own and make sure to only buy Silver Spoon sugar and vinegar for the chutneys could be local as Aspall produce that too.

Eggs - Very Easy. On my way to swimming I pass two farm gate sales for eggs at £1 for half-dozen. Another place on my way to Stowmarket has just finished selling due to theft. There are two houses in the village that sometimes have eggs outside but not always so I can't rely on them.

Flour - Easy to buy Marriages who are based in Chelmsford Essex, it's sold at the Co-op. The mill in Pakenham, in West Suffolk, sells flour ground at the mill too. Another place I completely forgot about was Maple Farm at Kelsale, close to where we were at the smallholding.

Butter, Cheese, Milk and Cream - Easy where I live - all from one farm Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, the place we visited with WI, BUT if they were to stop it would be impossible to buy these locally. I made the most of the butter which was delicious, spreading it very thin and made sure to use every crumb of cheese sparingly.
A small milk producer...... Marybelle from   north Suffolk have just been closed down by their Belgian owners. As far as I know local dairy farmers - and there are very few now - sell to one of huge milk companies like Arla, dealing with farmers across north Europe.
(In research I came across Fen Farm Dairy near Bungay in Suffolk who do direct deliveries - at a price. 600g of butter and 750g of cheese would be £46 delivered!!)

Fruit - Only apples. Earlier in the year I might have got plums and pears and of course raspberries and strawberries in summer. Once there were more than 10 pick your own fruit farms across Suffolk. I'm not sure if any remain.
The Hog and Hen farm shop had some local Autumn raspberries  at £2.89 for a small punnet -much too expensive.
I didn't have enough of any fruit of my own to freeze this year but did make jam from BiL's strawberries.

Vegetables - Difficult. There's a company called  Suffolk Produce Ltd who are a cooperative of lots of farms in East Suffolk but they only sell to supermarkets. No wonder we were always able to sell everything we had on the stall at the smallholding. I rarely come across anyone selling from the gate around here - a few apples maybe and that's it. Of course earlier in the year I would have much more of my own stuff.
I've got my own red peppers in the freezer and leeks in the ground. My potatoes have nearly all been eaten. Now I know what I can manage on my own I may well put some Brussels-sprout plants in next year. 

Other things that I could have bought
Co-op stock Fairfields Farm Potatoes, potato crisps and other snacks. They are based on the Suffolk/Essex boundary near Colchester. I've not tried them.

A local bakery in Haughley (8 miles from me and celebrating 150 years of baking) has shops where they sell their own bread, biscuits and cakes so I could have bought from them easily.

The main non-local item used was yeast for my bread, plus things like curry powder. 

Of course I still have most of the flour left to use and the rapeseed oil and virtually all the tomato sauce. There are 2  portions of curry in the freezer and one pack of sausages (as they were BOGOF). 2 more cold sausages for sandwiches, and look how red the local Tiptree tomato sauce is.
 There are also couple of apples and eggs left.

I enjoyed finding out more about local produce and trying things I might not have done otherwise. I may well buy some of the local butter for Christmas and the Marriages seeded and wholegrain flour makes bread that's much more interesting than my normal white bread flour, but I was very glad to go out and buy pears to make a change from the apples!

Back Tomorrow
Sue




29 comments:

  1. What a great round up, Sue. It's not as easy as one might think to eat all (or even mostly) local, is it? And it's certainly more expensive.

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    1. I think I might make more use of the Locally Produced shelves at the Co-op from now on

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  2. It's been fascinating to read about this challenge and what's really stood out for me is how much more difficult it is to eat local produce. Difficult and more expensive. We're so used to just reaching out in the supermarket and filling trolleys with all sorts without any thought for origin.
    Marriage's flour really is very good - I'm glad you like it.
    xx

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    1. For a few years I was able to get sacks of Marriages Multi-grain flour because a farmer close to us at the smallholding had some feed from Marriages, but then they changed feed merchants and that was the end of that. A Sack of flour made breadmaking really cheap (that was when we had 3 children at home)

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  3. I am glad your round up expresses that it is as easy in Suffolk as it is in Norfolk to find locally produced food. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with Suffolk. Your week confirmed for me that I do eat mainly local food with the help of Cambs and Lincs but I do like my Lurpak butter! As we live in the bread basket of England we should expect that most bread and cakes contain flour made from local wheat and alcohol contains local malt barley. There are still maltsters around here and you have yours at Stowmarket.

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    1. If I'd remembered that a lot of the malt at Muntons goes for Maltesers - I could have bought some! Although I wouldn't have been "allowed" the chocolate on the outside!

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    2. I think when one is talking about buying local food there have tobe a few concessions made for things like the chocolate on the outside! Factories around here produce food that many people would think "not local" like, for instance pasta, which comes from Pasta Foods in Yarmouth and I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, and Kettles crisps are made in Norwich. I eat a lot of maltesers!

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  4. This has been a really interesting series of posts. I have two questions: firstly how much MORE expensive was it? And secondly, did you find your diet significantly LESS varied? For me, I think the answers would affect any decision to go long-term local. I could perhaps budget for a 5%increase, but not a 25%. And I've grown used to enjoying a variety of fruits&veg. I'm hesitant to mention the B word... But if there are significant price increases on imported foodstuffs, we may all find ourselves reconsidering our shopping habits. Thanks Sue!

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    1. Most of the things I bought that were local were up to double the price of supermarket.
      I think it would be easy to 'Buy British' rather than 'Buy East Anglian' but fruit would be the most problematic, especially this year when some places had poor top fruit crops.
      But if only British crops were available there wouldn't be enough to go round and Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses couldn't supply a whole village let alone a whole county!
      Also many of the things that are made locally might use imported ingredients anyway

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  5. An interesting week of Eating Local Sue. When we were in Hay yesterday I bought some fabulous local-to-Hay apples Ashmead's Kernel. OH MY GOODNESS -it quenched my thirst and had SUCH flavour. One to plant in my orchard when we move. I had SUCH a lovely chat about heritage apples with the smallholder too!

    You will have to put that extra special butter down as an idea for a Christmas gift (several months' supply perhaps!) I occasionally still make my own if I find large tubs of double cream reduced.

    So, out of interest, what would your most-yearned for non-local food be?



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    1. Fruit!
      At this time of the year I cook up batches of mixed dried fruit(apple rings, prunes, apricots and peaches) and have warm for breakfast and I love pears and then there will be the huge Navel oranges.

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  6. these posts have been so interesting. At one of our local supermarkets it is possible to buy things from local and regional producers. My specific area isn't well known for the food it produces, other than cockles and rock! Since reading your posts I have noticed a few houses and farms with stalls at the gate so you've certainly made me more aware.

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    1. Buying direct at the farm gate is the best way to get fresh stuff and keep the money in the local economy.

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  7. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts on eating local Sue.
    Hugs-x-

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  8. A really good round up, you did well. It shows how many years ago people would eat from their own areas, eat in season and eat simply. Looking forward to new crops coming in would have made for much excitement … even those horrible little sprouts at Christmas ;-)

    This Challenge also highlights of course how overwhelmed we are now with so much choice in the supermarkets, all year round, with foods from all over the world. There's a lot to be said for eating how you have this past week.

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    1. Brussels sprout are delicious!

      As I zoom round a supermarket missing out so many sections I often wonder who buys so many different things

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    2. We are alike in many ways … but you can have my share of the Brussels Sprouts with pleasure ;-)

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  9. A wonderful Challenge! And you certainly learned more, about what is and is not available. Glad you are planning on using more, of certain local items. I'm sure they are more expensive, but also, better for you.

    Thank you for doing this, and taking us along!!!!


    🔥💛🔥

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    1. And thank you for reading - I've enjoyed Eating local

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  10. Here in the winter we have no local greenhouses that function through the colder months. This means my local buying changes to buying from somewhere in Canada. Or using what we managed to harvest from the garden, or what I managed to can or make into jam from what others have given to me.

    I loved learning about what is available locally where you are. I think you did very well. Thanks for sharing.

    God bless.

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    1. I enjoyed working out what I could eat from local produce. Thank you for reading and commenting

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    2. I agree with you Jackie. Here in Alberta there is very little we could buy locally and it is a big accomplishment to buy things made in Canada. It just blew my mind when I saw apples from Australia in the stores this summer!! During the summer I can go to the farmers market and get stuff from the Okanagan B.C. but even that is 375 miles away. I notice lots of stuff is from the U.S. and South America. When I looked at the square mileage of England, Scotland and Wales it is about a third the size of Alberta so I would be very happy just to buy British if I lived there!!

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  11. I have really enjoyed reading about this challenge, Sue, and have realised that we have lots of local food in our area with veg boxes available as well as local meat and a couple of farm shops too. They are, however, much more expensive so we couldn't buy local all the time. Who knows what will happen in the future though. If imported food becomes pricier next year then local could be the way to go!

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    1. It was interesting to look for local things to eat. I researched local veg boxes but not very local and too much for one person anyway

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  12. I currently live in Houston, TX and local produce is very expensive. There is a butcher and a farmers market but the prices are astronomical.

    When we lived in Cambridgeshire I used to buy sacks of potatoes and other fruit and veg from the smallholding opposite our cottage. Apples and pears came from the farm shop in the village, and eggs from a neighbour who kept chickens. This was 30 years ago and I didn’t consciously think about buying local, it was just what you did! You were odd if you DIDN’T buy 1/2 hundredweight of potatoes at a time when feeding growing children!

    I’d have a limited diet if we did buy local as the climate in Texas isn’t conducive to rearing lambs, growing apples and pears but we’d eat plenty of beef, salad vegetables and there are some decent Texas wineries!

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  13. This has been a very interesting series of posts! It is good to know what items are available locally. Where I live here in the U.S. I can get a good variety of local items but unfortunately, as you discovered, some of those come at a high price.

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  14. Great experiment! It is good to learn about local produce. It's a shame some of it is so expensive, BUT it's good to know where things came from and to support small farmers. We do have a local produce market in the spring/summer but it's a bit out of the way and parking is horrible, but there is a farm shop so I think I might use that more next year.

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  15. I've really enjoyed reading your eat local posts, Sue. It's true that it is more expensive to eat this way, but the growers/manufacturers are charging what they should be. I'm fortunate that we have loads of farm shops here selling a huge range of local food. One farm shop even has its own trawlers as well as acres of fields. If I drank tea and cheated slightly, I could but tea grown in Cornwall, but I believe it's only loose leaf. If I did only eat local, I would miss bananas dreadfully!

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