Apologies for the slight gap in posts – I’ve had a busy week, but today was a day I’ve been looking forward to all month: the Farmers’ Market. As much as I normally love it, it bore particular importance this month. I’d been away for the last two weeks in August, visiting the Amani children’s home in Tanzania www.amanikids.org , and had therefore missed the Farmers’ Market in August. Starting this 50 mile food challenge the day after I’d got back felt as though I’ve always been trying to catch up, and maybe even get ahead, on planning food and thinking about what I was going to eat. With the market only once a month and, unfortunately for me and this challenge at the end of the month, has meant that at last with five days to go, I think I might have finally got there.
I’ve learnt lots along the way, not least that there was never going to be the perfect time to start eating locally so it’s best to take it as it comes, which is probably more realistic and true to life anyway.
Transition Clevedon has had a stall at the Farmers’ Market since May – encouraging people to swap plants and produce and gradually raising awareness about the issues facing the local community and the positive steps we can take in Clevedon. Five months in, it feels great that people arrive clutching their carefully nurtured chillies and pears, garden plants or home cooked produce. Of course there are plenty of people who don’t appear interested, but with a growing mailing list and good attendance at events, it feels encouraging. Certainly the news this week alone – the conflicts over claiming oil off Alaska, the wind farm near Kent, and the increasing food prices following the export ban on Russian wheat – has perhaps sharpened people’s focus.
And on a day-to-day basis, back in Clevedon, it gave me a chance to stock up for the coming month: runny honey, set honey, lamb, pork, two kinds of sheep’s cheese, bacon, ham, fresh and smoked trout AND most excitingly something I hadn’t come across before, cooking honey. Not being able to use sugar at all has meant that I’ve used a lot of honey this month: in crumbles, over porridge, making bread, on toast, with yoghurt…. so to be able to buy 7lbs (3.15kg) of dark, richly flavoured honey for £7 was a real sweetener to the morning.
So tonight it was a simple supper of sheep’s cheese (like feta) baked in the oven with today’s swapped chillies, tomatoes etc with homemade bread, followed by quince baked with honey and eaten with yogurt, perhaps showing more a nod to Greece than to traditional Somerset ingredients, but hopefully showing that eating locally doesn’t have to be predictable. (PS there’s still time to sponsor me: all money raised will be split equally between the Amani Home and Transition Clevedon – either email me via firstname.lastname@example.org or come and see me on Tuesday evening at our Peak Oil talk, 7.30 at the Town Council Offices, and thank you to everyone for your support).