JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Local Summer: week two

After last week's success in finding good local cold-pressed oil, this week hasn't been great. I didn't manage one single meal that was entirely local, although most were mostly local (75%+). What stopped me succeeding was a queasy feeling that too much driving round looking for suppliers wasn't the best way forward.

This was the week I intended to find local meat. Horatio arrived home unexpectedly for vegetarian supper, and announced: A meal without meat is a wasted opportunity. Next year he's living in a student flat with four other young men, and I wonder how long he'll continue with that attitude will last once he sees how far his money will go.

There's a farm shop at the other end of the village, the sort that's in a barn: several people have recommended it to me. Huge disappointment - the vegetables are all bought in from all over the world, there are loose frozen veggies to help yourself to from a freezer, the meat counter didn't look appetising, and definitely wasn't local, and although the eggs were marked "from our farm" there wasn't a single chicken to be seen. So I left empty-handed.

My usual butcher supplies good meat, and mostly from the UK, but he's not a locavore. The monthly farmers' market in Henley is next week, so I should have better luck then - I didn't feel it was helpful to drive over to Reading specially.

Fish is similarly tricky, as we're a little way from the coast. But there are rivers near here. And fish farms. And the school holidays are about to start, so there'll be time to catch fish ourselves.

Instead, this week, all our vegetables, without exception, came from our box, so were grown less than an hour's drive way, or from the garden (especially herbs). The bread was all made with local flour, oil and honey. The milk - delivered with my veg box - comes from a farm near Marlborough, just over an hour's drive away. Not quite local, but better than the supermarket's offering, lower in food miles too. And I know where it came from, will try to take a photograph when I'm over that way next week. I'll also try to source some closer milk - sadly, the milk that's produced in this village at Lucy's Farm is all taken away by a huge tanker which holds up the through traffic which clogs up our tiny lanes ... but isn't there something mad about a farmer producing good milk which he can't sell to his neighbours, as practised by the whole of humankind for millennia???

Here are links to the international section of One Local Summer:

Amberism, week one - salmon patties
Amberism, week two - cheese omelette on home-made rye
Garlic Breath, week two - pork ribs, artichokes, grilled pointed cabbage
Rural Aspirations - lentil burgers, home-made buns, salad
Diario, week two - toad in the hole, sorbet

Links to related posts

One local summer, week one round-up
OLS, Saturday lunch in the garden
OLS, first thoughts
Introducing OLS

Useful links for locavores in the South of England

Rapeseed oil from Gloucestershire
Wessex Mill

My challenge to YOU

DO think about joining us in this project, even for one week - registration has closed for a whole summer of one local meal a week, but I'm inviting all bloggers to the challenge of producing one whole local meal this summer, and I'll include you in the weekly round-up of the main challenge. I've found - and I know I'm not alone - that the first meal sparked off a lot of thought about the food we eat here, where it comes from, how it gets here, who produces it and how much they are paid for that work. There's a bonus for you - so far, the food has all been delicious!


Anonymous said...

Hello Joanna, I've been participating for two weeks, but haven't yet been included. Best wishes, and indeed, don't bother with too much driving.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful event. We're doing our best here, trying not to buy any meat or produce that isn't local. But I haven't managed to give up olives and olive oil. Or lemons. Or coffee. Still, it's a start. :-)

David Hall said...

Really sorry for being a bit slack, I had all good intentions of this Joanna but things have been stressful and busy recently. I think it is a great post, idea and I will get there soon!


Joanna said...

Labelga, I woke in the middle of the night and realised you'd been left out .... but I don't have an email address for you, can you email me joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk

Ann thanks for kind words. I think this project is worthwhile, but I'm not planning to give up coffee olive oil or lemons either! But I'd like to know that the only food we eat that comes from far away is food that cannot be produced here ... and that most of what we eat comes from near here.

David, don't feel guilty, just join in when you can - you've got the whole summer ... love that nettle tart, btw

Anonymous said...

I am a very strong believer in eating local and am organising a Slow Food dinner in our village where all food will be locally sourced. We can manage local beer and fruit juice, local wine would be a challenge! However I think I talk better than I walk, I've been looking at the pantry and it is a homage to international food :(

Meg Wolff said...

I will definitely take you up on the offer to do the challenge!

moggymerlin said...

Hi Joanna, I agree with you over the farm shop veg, however their beef comes from their farm at Greys and is excellent. Don't know how you missed the chickens as they are on the ground to the right of the farm shop and yesterday there were a couple scratching around in the car park. It is a shame we don't have a shop like the Wickcroft farm shop at Englefield - I can't justify the round trip, just have to wait until I am passing. Jane

Kate said...

Hi Joanna, I am looking forward to meeting up with you at Patrick's get-together in Oxford!Just thought I would say hello to all those coming and see what you are doing where you live.

I grow nearly everything nearly all the time and have chooks. We are very lucky where I live to have local dairies with organic, unhomogenised jersey milk and great cheeses. For meat I buy only that which has been shot in the wild - we have millions of feral animals causing havoc to our native wildlife and so I choose to eat them to do my bit to keep them under control!
We grow olives and lemons in our garden but not coffee, which I buy, along with spices like cinnamon etc. You can just do your best to get the rest from local sources whenever you can.