Farmers markets and food.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by LordVonHarley, Aug 13, 2007.

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  1. As we all know we are what we eat. I'm getting in to eating more traceable food, as god knows where the pig in your supermarket bacon came from or how it was treated (before and after its death).
    Finding a good butchers is becoming harder but there appears to be an increase in Farmers Markets. But can you really trust all the sellers?
    I was on one stall, looking to buy sausages and the ingredients read like chemists shopping list where as the stall next door only used salt and herbs (and a freezer) to preserve their bangers.

    Any hints and tips we should know when shopping for healthier foods and buying more British produce?
     
  2. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Ok, there are various ways, if you live in a large ish town or city then something like Borough Market is a good start. Traders there tend to be reputable, they should always advertise their address and trading info. If you are lucky and like me I get to drive past about 6 or 7 farm shops on the way to work then I can try each one out. I buy Organic Aberdeen Angus beef boxes at £100 a throw, pricing it up shows it to be about 2/3rds retail and its hung for 3 weeks before butchering. You need a freezer. I do however source game myself (with a gun or rifle) I also buy from mates who have smallholdings as I cant keep pigs and chickens in my garden despite the desire.
    I buy in as many ingredients as possible in the raw and make all my own burgers and sausages myself.
    You pay more for quality meat but then it has got cheaper over the years. If you want to buy chickens for a £1 then imagine how cheaply they must have been cared for to sell at that price. Hugh FW is a good ambassador for this type of living. I have weaned the family away from processed food. My kids behaviour and exam results seem to have improved whilst this has also helped us feel better about the food we eat.
    You can have a kebab still, just make it yourself from the best ingredients you can afford.
    The problem is I have also put on a few pounds in weight! I have started eating the wifes home baked bread, made withorganic flower, a bit hit and miss at first but sandwiches made with that bread filled with organic beef or home reared ham is a real treat! You get so full you dont need crisps to pad out lunch!
    If you are still struggling pm me and I'll discuss this by e mail. I have a FOB BBQ on August bank holiday and the food ius all sourced this way!
     
  3. Ugly you are spot on about how a change in diet can effect behaviour and consentration. My Mum said she saw a noticeable change in pupils when the school she worked for stopped selling heavly processed food at lunch time.

    I've been going to the Farmers Market in Blackheath for the past Month and have tried food from a lot of the stalls. Chiltern Farm Foods (Stocking Farm) does really great pork, there is no way I think I can go back to supermarket bacon after eating proper dry cured.

    The you can also notice a hugh difference in the fruit and veg. More taste and more seasonal.

    I don't want to think about how a £1 pound chicken is reared!!!!!
     
  4. For farmers markets locally check out http://www.farmersmarkets.net/
    Or for London http://www.lfm.org.uk/

    Also I know it sounds poncey but there is a reason why I like shopping at Waitrose, because generally they don't fart around with the food trying to get it as cheap as possible and in as much bulk as possible. They are more responsible as to where the food is sourced from and gives a good deal to all involved producing it - which in my opinion ultimately leads to better quality food since farmers don't have to cut corners.

    Check out http://www.waitrose.com/food/originofourfood/index.aspx

    Shops like Tesco and Asda are in my mind akin to a giant food warehouse where it's about getting the pounds in the till and the 'products' out of the door rather than real food.


    Hugh FW is one of my heros!!! :-D
     
  5. Actually come to think of it, I remember reading an article about all the different food sources and whether it's better to buy organic or not etc etc... I think it was in one of the Sunday supplements a few weeks back.

    Anyway the upshot is to try and make wise food choices along the lines of:

    If not locally organic, then locally produced.
    If not locally produced, then organic.
    If not organic then fairtrade...
    Anyway the list when on like that, and I tend to agree with it. Although I consider 'local' to be the UK :-D
     
  6. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    A tip for bacon is when its vacuum packed, and there is no reason to hate vacuum packed bacon, see if it is dry or lots of moisture present. If its dry then the bacon should be cut relatively coarsely and give a healthy rind to chew. This applies to back and streaky. If there is lots of moisture it either hasnt been packed properly or it has water added to make up the weight. When you fry it it shouldnt produce lots of water i the pan. If you can buy direct from thefarm then they can prove which pig it came from, when it was slaughtered and how long it was hung for. All good info it it means anything to you! I prefer to smoke my own bacon and have an electric smoking oven from Bradleys for this. I smoke a fair amount of meat during the year and not only does it enhance the flavour but it helps preserve it when frozen!
     
  7. Ugly, you sure like "the good life", are you married to Filicity Kendal?

    Cheese is another thing I have noticed I'm eating more often but in smaller amounts - The farm cheese seems to have a better texture and stonger taste, same with the butter.
    I tried my first not treated bit of double cream last week and it blew my socks off - drizzeled all over some kent stawberries and raspberries, Mmmmmmm!
    The other thing I have noticed is how salty/sweet supermarket food is - I have had to opt for reduced salt/sugar baked beans as the normal ones just taste wrong now.
     
  8. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I wish, If I tell her that she'd feel very chuffed. She is very particular about the quality of the food that she eats and wont eat most of the things that I have shot, This goes back to when she was pregnant and I was gutting rabbits. I held up a head and pulled a few tendons in the neck to make the bunny mouth "Help!" to her. For some reason itput her off game!
    I like real freshly produced food even if like real cheese it has to be left warm to appreciate its real flavour despite what the H&S Nazis from the EU tell us!
    I cant like Rick Stein, I feel he is a throbber however his food heroes prog is pretty good!
     
  9. I keep my finger on the sustainable and quality food issues on the River Cottage forum here http://forum.rivercottage.net/index.php and www.rivercottage.net is also a good site. Beware the fact that some forum members are drippy PC tree hugging knitting pattern-swapping scrotes, but much of the content is good stuff.

    Hugh F-W's book 'MEAT' is also a pretty definitive tome on sourcing, storing and cooking the sort of meat that we like to eat.

    I would also add that when I shop from markets I find it comparable on price, better on quality and with significantly less packaging than anything I get from a supermarket. Owning as I do a wheely bin that is only empties fortnightly this is pretty important.

    Don't forget your local butcher though, If you can find a good value butcher that knows where his meat is from and is happy to spend time dealing with you then look after him.
     
  10. I must admit that I did get quite into the whole River Cottage thing (I think I need help as three chefs appear on my top ten dead or alive people to invite to dinner). I was chatting to a Butcher mate about the practicalities of getting my own pigs and then him lopping them up for scoff.

    I wouldn't be quite as fanatical as Hugh when it comes to eating the whole animal but I'd love to give some of those weird dishes he does a go.

    The plan falls down in the whole "I'm a lazy sod" area. I couldn't be arrsed to look after the pigs, I'm not sure where abatoires are and I wouldn't know how to cook half this stuff nor have the room to store it.

    I might re-think the plan in a few years.
     
  11. I'm not sure about keeping pigs but chickens would be good. Freash eggs Mmmmmmm.
     
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Top marks that man, butchers started to disapear with supermarkets and its been gojng downhill since. I'm lucky in that one of my smallholder mates is a retired butcher, 150lbs of hanging deer ino bagged venison in about 20 minutes, 30 if I do the skinning myself.
    Mind you at that speed I like to count his fingers before and after.
    Hugh FW did us a great service with the Meat book, I have a well thumbed copy, a veritable porno mag for foodies. I agree about the forum so I avoid posting, I was given a pig in a day by him for my birthday on DVD.
    Countrymans cookbook is a great example of how you should view food. Every meal as if it is the pinnacle of eating and the lastmeal you may ever eat! Plus gin for Flossie!
     
  13. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    A dog breeding friend of ours keeps 2 pigs every year. The only drawback is that unless yo go for home slaughter (still just about legal for home only consumption) you do nneed a herd number or you cant transport to an abbatroir leaglly and the MHS w@nkers wont pass you carcasses as fit. If you can slaughter at home, a conrete floored brick out house should do then 2 pigs can be kept in about 15 - 20 square metre of garden, rotate the patch annually and you will have a lovely garden!!!!! If you think that is to small look at a pig crate and that should put you off pork for ever!
    If you dont have a chiller you can rent a chiller trailer for a couple of weeks to hang themn and butcher at home. I recommend attending a course or have like me a retired butcher to show you the ropes.
    My local agri college (Plumpton) does an out station home butchery course, quite reasonably priced!
     
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  15. riverford organics do a box scheme which means the produce is delivered fresh to your door. They try to ensure it is all from the uk but even if it comes from abroad you know where it has come from. All I know is I can taste the difference, Im just not sure whether its because its fresh or organic. www.riverford.co.uk