Tuesday, 16 April 2013

#CamShopLocal - So how did it go?

If you read my recent blog post or are one of my Twitter followers you will know that I was taking part in #CamShopLocal - a week without chains, shopping at independents only. So I bet you are wondering if I made it?

Well I did and I didn't. I started off with the most excellent intentions, and the arrival of a four day weekend just before it started meant that I could plan ahead by shopping over the weekend. I got a veg box from Cambridge Organic Food Co., I bought meat and cheese from Gog Magog Shop along with baking ingredients. So by Monday I was raring to go, I had a meal plan too!

The biggest challenge came once I was back at work on Tuesday - there are some options nearby but fitting in lunch, a trip to the Post Office (to send my jewellery orders) and then food shopping is hard to achieve in 1 hour! Most of these shops close at 6pm which leaves me not much time since I finish work at 5.30pm.

I managed really well with what we had in the house until Friday when a long week and a frazzled brain meant that a bottle of wine from Tesco, on the way home, was what we both needed. Then I fell in Waitrose on the last Monday - I had been away all weekend mostly and I just needed to get things for dinner!

Here is what I bought, and ate, over the week:

Gog Magog Shop - lamb for Easter Sunday, merguez sausages, eggs, butter, flour, sugar

Cup of local tea - Kandula Tea

Last Cam Shop Local Dinner  - ravioli from Limoncello (Mill Road), homemade pesto (basil from the grocers on Mill Road, Hilary's). Cheeky bit of Morrison's bread from the freezer!

Jigsaw Bakery - Linton. Beautiful bakery run by Matthew Whitby - sourdough bread, sweet loaves, brownies, shortbread, so many wonderful things, plus great coffee. A lovely local business that has just started - we got a sourdough loaf and a currant loaf which were both excellent and served us well over the week and weekend. 

Sourdough (nibbled) from Jigsaw Bakery

Currant loaf from Jigsaw Bakery

Supplies from Al Amin - we visited on Bank Holiday Monday after a visit to Hot Numbers...
Naan, yoghurt, halloumi and aforementioned ravioli from Limoncello

Hot Numbers Flat White - bank holiday Monday coffee outing

Veg box Parsnip soup - Friday lunch with a chorizo roll from Norfolk Street bakery

Wobbly bottom goat's cheese (from Teacake in Shepreth), Winter Purslane (from COFCO via Wild Co Organics) and Sourdough bread from Jigsaw bakery - Easter Saturday lunch!

Oops. Last day of Cam Shop Local. Finished work at 6pm, where to go? Good old Waitrose I'm afraid. 

Overall I enjoyed finding some new shops and trying some new produce - things like the salad leaves from COFCO were fantastic as was the ravioli from Limoncello. I definitely see a difference in quality when shopping for locally sourced foods and I think this is the key to why you should shop local. 
In all honesty, I think it is pointless searching around for local shops selling laundry liquid, toilet roll, cat food and petrol because it is all much of a muchness - you are still buying from big brands, Persil, Andrex, Felix or Shell in the end aren't you? 

If you support a local food producer then you are getting salad leaves grown 5 miles from your house, meat reared to high standards at a local farm, bread baked fresh that day by the owner or goat's cheese made from milk from goat's nibbling on grass in the field next to the dairy. That kind of thing. 

I'm always on the look out for local producers as it is, so this just upped my game a little more than normal. I was lucky that week in that I had to be in Cambridge city centre more often than I would be normally, usually I only visit once a week at most - so I had a chance to visit Mill Road shops for local produce, and grab a coffee at Hot Numbers, and finally visit the lovely Norfolk Street Bakery.

Without going on too much, I'll try to sum up! I love local producers and the interesting things they are doing and I will search them out if they are doing something a bit different. I also like what the supermarkets are doing, there are some brilliant small brands being stocked such as the Collective Dairy (yoghurts), Peanut Butter Co, Lily's Kitchen (pet food) to name a few. They are also making great strides in stocking more world foods and also more interesting fruit and vegetables - have you seen some of the new style Morrison's fresh section lately? It is pretty great - not many supermarkets sell fresh turmeric root, purple potatoes, samphire and 15 different kinds of herbs. There are obviously things they are doing wrong like squeezing the price of dairy and meat so farmers continue to go out of business by the day along with opening massive stores and spoiling previously nice areas. 

I think for me I will continue to support both - I need supermarkets for convenience but I need locals for interest, quality and being part of the foodie community. 

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1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to report back from Shelford, via California: spoke to my parents today and they have completed the mission I gave them, to try the Teacake at Shepreth, on your recommendation. They enjoyed it very much and I'm looking forward to visiting next time I'm over from the US... thank you!