Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Go Local

Everywhere you look these days there is organic this that and the other, but is organic food really better for us? Don't worry I'm not going to get into that debate here as quite frankly I cannot decide which side of the line I sit. Part of me buys into the fact that organic food can offer good quality, chemical free products that often taste better and are kinder to the environment. The other half, however, cannot help but feel that organic food is something of a foodie trend that can be over hyped, over priced and not always as eco friendly as we think. Ultimately I think it is great that we do have ever increasing options to buy organic food, if the quality and ethos of the product warrant the extra strain on the purse. For me, the fact that we have a greater awareness of what we are putting into our bodies and, on the whole, are eating more fruit and vegetables is something that I think is more important than whether or not the product is organic. I do want to buy products that do not have lots of salt, sugar and preservatives, which both organic and non organic are often guilty of. Personally I am passionate about supporting producers and suppliers that offer food that is both independent and local. I am proud that I have not been in a certain supermarket chain, that is slowly taking over the world, for over 2 years now as I would rather support local shops where every little bit does actually help. That is not to say that I do not shop in supermarkets at all, unfortunately that is too hard for me, but I do try to make smarter choices to where I do buy.

One place that I really do love to shop is Windmill Wholefoods, a small independent based on Aigburth road in Liverpool. Windmill is run by Liverpool Green Cooperative and delivers fresh, organic whole food to Liverpool, stocking fair trade, vegan, organic, vegetarian and ethical products. As well as a great variety of interesting products in store, Windmill provide a local ' veg box ' delivery service, which is great value for money. I have had veg boxes from other companies in the past but found that they could often consist of more style over substance, so I feel better supporting a local business that focus on quality produce rather than great branding. I love picking up my bag from the doorstep and rummaging inside to see what I have for the week and thinking of what I can cook rather than buying the same veg week in week out from a supermarket.

Another great source for local food is the brilliant Big Barn. Big Barn have a great website full of information on where you can buy from your local suppliers and there are some products that can be bought online. As well as being able to search for  great food, Big Barn provide lots of news, thoughts and ideas on how we can all do our little bit to keep it local. It easy to get caught up in the world of the supermarkets, processed food and ready made marvels but it really is easy to make small changes and support our independents. In some areas it is hard to find a good butcher, fishmonger etc but they are about and maybe if we all shopped in them a little bit more then there would be more of them. It is also nice to go for a drive to visit some great farms such as Claremont Farm on the Wirall and Church View Farm in Lydiate plus there are lots of farmers markets popping up all over merseyside, so why not get out and about and give local a go!

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