At this time of year particularly it is worth considering where you food is coming from. Supporting British agriculture is something we feel very strongly about, our own background has always had a foot in farming and we understand the challenges faced by UK farmers today.
If at all possible we would encourage people to try and buy their Christmas dinner ingredients as locally as possible. Farmers markets and independent shops can be a great way to find your local produce.
One of the reasons we sponsor local livestock markets is because we want to ensure that farmers can buy and sell their livestock in a well supported arena. Having good movement on animals ensures farmers can keep their stock healthy, introduce new bloodlines and maintain their ability to supply their meat or dairy produce within the local market. Although we are working with the livestock markets there are also great benefits to purchasing your fruit and veggies locally where possible too.
UK farmers take great care to raise healthy animals, some organically, some not, but all with ethics and animal welfare at the forefront of their plans. This means the consumer will be getting a quality of meat that has not travelled thousands of miles to reach their shopping trolleys. Another bonus to this approach is that the food is fresher and will reach the food chain faster. Locally grown veggies and fruit will certainly have been stored for less time and the seller may even be able to tell you exactly where your produce was grown.
Supporting our own farmers is better for the economy overall and helps them stay in business. It is better for the environment as food flown thousands of miles is damaging to the carbon footprint of the world. You may think that locally produce would cost more however in many cases because the food has not travelled so far then the retail costs are the same or even lower.
In supermarkets food that is locally sourced will be labelled so, and all meat is required to have the country of origin on the labels so you can easily see what you are buying. Local butchers are great place to source your meat if you do not have any farmers markets locally. Some butchers and farmers markets will also sell a whole animal prepared for the freezer, giving you a great ongoing source of local meat. There are many places that will deliver to you, and veg box delivery from local shops has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years
Finally it is also worth remembering that local produce can often be much tastier than food that has been stored and shipped half way around the globe. Whatever happens we will continue our commitment to the local farmers livestock markets and try to source our own food locally and hope we can encourage others to do the same.
As this will be the last blog before Christmas 2016, we would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.