A group of us (Ann and her husband Ian, Bev, Helen, Penny and Rod) are going to eat local, seasonal food for six weeks from 9 January 2012. We agreed:

* ‘local’ means within a 30-mile radius for veg, fruit and meat
* ‘local’ means within East Anglia for other things (includes Lincolnshire)
* to allow ourselves up to five things that can’t be sourced locally (e.g. coffee, bananas, chocolate)

What will it be like during the winter when the lovely, luscious autumn fruits and vegetables are just a memory? Here we chart our progress and our successes and challenges along the way.

Resident Curmudgeon appeased

I  joined the Eating Local spring challenge a week ago and have just managed a whole week without any major difficulties or disruption. Not too hairshirt and the resident curmudgeon I share the house with was at last persuaded it was a good thing and came on board when he discovered that Waller’s Butchers at Mitchams Corner do local rabbit, pigeon, venison and beef. As I usually do not cook meat, he was pleased to see I am making concessions for these 6 weeks by carnivore cooking. Tuesday’s beef stew made from cows that grazed Midsummer Cmmon last year plus regular supplies of homemade bread converted him. Did not stop him escaping to Germany for the week however.

Posted by Sue

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‘Eating Local’ in Sunday Telegraph

It was exciting to have an article in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday about our Eating Local project! There is a picture of Helen and me in my kitchen with lots of veg from the Sunday market. You can also read the article by Sarah Lonsdale here.

Posted by Bev

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‘Eating Local’ on Radio Cambridgeshire

On Monday 13th Feb Bev Sedley was talking about Eating Localwith Liz Rhodes of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. In just 4 minutes she makes local food really attractive –  even in the winter!

You can listen to it here:
[audio:http://cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Bev-Local-Food-Radio-Cambr-13Feb12.mp3]

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Reflecting on locally sourced food

It has been an interesting and worthwhile experience to attempt to eat as much as possible locally sourced food. It became easier once we knew where to go for different items, but it is a shame that eating local does not necessarily mean shopping local. We had lots of interesting conversations with local shops, but we are left with two questions – how can we increase the number of outlets for local producers, and is it possible to change some of the supermarket sourcing strategies to allow local produce to be more available? Something for discussion and future action?

Posted by Ann and Ian

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Making local bread

We managed to source all the ingredients for our bread locally. It’s very straight forward to make in a bread maker. First thing in the morning, there is nothing more scrumptious than being woken with the smell of a freshly baked loaf. We found we missed the snacks of life but a slice of toast with home made damson jam soon made up for the missing biscuits. Here is our recipe:- Continue reading

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Eating local, sharing local

As we approach the end of our six-week Eating Local Winter 2011/2012 project, some of us (Ann, Bev, Penny and I) met over lunch to take stock and to share experiences and tips. Continue reading

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Into our last week of the Eating Local challenge

When we started the Eating Local project, we worried that our meals would be repetitive and uninteresting – lots of root vegetables and cabbage. How wrong we were! Once we found out where to source local produce, especially vegetables, we have found a great variety of food available, and with a bit of creativity, we have eaten some delicious meals. What have we missed so far? We both admitted to a longing for tinned sardines and baked beans!

Posted by Ann and Ian

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Thinking about food security

With half of Heathrow flights grounded and hazardous driving conditions across Europe due to heavy snowfall, I started thinking about food security and how communities who rely more on local foodstuffs and less on imported goods are likely to be more resistant to disruptions.

Continue reading

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Eating local in the news!

I was really pleased that the piece I wrote explaining why eating local, seasonal food is a good thing has appeared in the Cambridge News. (It was posted on this blog earlier but it’s hard to find it now, so here’s the link if you want to read it.)

Posted by Bev

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Simple joys and pigeon stir-fry!

One of my weekly joys is shopping at the Sunday market – the picture shows a very bundled up me on the right buying veg from Mayflower Organics (Simon Steel in Littleport). Another great joy is people’s kindness – as soon as people hear about the project, they give me things: a bag of freshly-dug Jerusalem artichokes (thanks Beryl!), more delicious veg from Dave Fox’s allotment (that gorgeous creamy squash, pink fir apple potatoes, cavolo nero and red russian (I’d never heard of red russian before this year (did you know it was a type of kale?) and now I love it!), beautiful tight brussels sprouts you can eat all of without trimming. It’s such a joy! Continue reading

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Simply delicious carrot and artichoke soup

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to find some straight-out-of-the-ground-fresh artichokes at Burwash Manor. What I forgot to mention, was that – on seeing me staring somewhat blankly at said artichokes – the kind folks at The Larder also supplied me with a recipe for carrot and artichoke soup. Continue reading

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Contemplating the upsides of eating local

Probably not unlike many women (and indeed many men), I am prone to occasional moments of weakness in which – try as I might – I invariably give in to chocolate cravings.

Well, as a localite foodie (unless you are very naughty and include chocolate/cocoa as one of your five ‘can’t-live-without’ non-local items!), chocolate is off limits. Continue reading

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The bounty

I was passing through Barton this afternoon and decided to stop by Burwash Manor, a group of converted farm buildings housing a range of independent shops, including a number of food outlets.

Burwash Manor bountyI headed for The Larder, a welcoming farm shop. Quick to attract the shop assistant’s attention, i tentatively enquired, “Do you stock any local produce that comes from within 30-miles of here?” Clearly I was not the first person to ask this question in the last couple of weeks. Continue reading

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Resisting supermarket seduction!

One of the first thing to get your head around if you are to “eat local” is that supermarkets are pretty much off limits. Continue reading

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The joys of chilli!

Oh, the difference a bit of chilli makes! Lovely Liz Serocold brought me some beautiful dried red chillies she’d grown last year and I have been adding them to soups and stews. Who needs black pepper and stock cubes when we have chillies, fresh marjoram from the garden, bay leaves and lots of fresh garlic?! Here is a photo of the delicious veg stew we had recently Continue reading

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