We constantly seem to see American phenomena taking off over here and getting "adopted into our culture" - from the legalised begging that Halloween has become, to the current interest in American Football when our very own rugby is available to watch on almost everyone's doorstep. One American "habit" that we could do far worse than take on board though happened this weekend, with "Small Business Saturday" being adopted over here for the first time with any degree of organisation. There has been a fair bit said about this elsewhere in Blogland and on twitter - try searching for the #ShopLocalSaturday hashtag. Team Pugh blogged about it too - you might already have seen their post.
We weren't able to shop on either Friday or Saturday this week, but went yesterday instead - having stopped off on the way to support another local small business which you can find mentioned here. From there we headed along to our favourite fairly-local farm shop - Calcott Hall, near Brentwood. We've been shopping there occasionally for a number of years, but this was the first time we'd gone in aiming to do a full weekly shop.
I've commented before about vague feelings of guilt about the amount we end up using the supermarket. When we first moved here our local shopping area (about 10 minutes walk away) had a greengrocer. We would have been quite happy to have used it but sadly by the time we arrived the writing was already on the wall - quality was poor and stock levels were low. With no fewer than 4 large and countless smaller supermarkets in the town people simply found it more convenient to use those, instead. I'm happy to support local businesses but the quality must be right too - buying food which simply spoils within the time frame I need it for is pointless and I don;t have the time to shop several times a week. We do now have a good local butcher, and what bread we don't make ourselves mostly comes from Mayfield Farm Bakers. We have a farm shop in Harlow too - but so far whenever we have tried to use it it's either been closed, or has closed as we arrived.
So - Calcott Hall it was - and this is what we bought:
The only thing on my shopping list that we didn't buy was mushrooms - they only had dutch ones and we buy British. I prefer to buy British for all veg, but had to compromise this time on tomatoes and salad leaves - it not being the weather for either to grow well here currently. One of those cauliflowers has already been made into a cauliflower and pasta cheese too - two big dishes of it using some of our Good Food Show cheese haul, more on that in another post.
The total shop cost us £15.50 - which was honestly less than I expected, and probably not that different to what that lot would have cost me in the supermarket. With that in mind we have now decided that we will try to make at least one weekly shop per month "supermarket free" from now on. I appreciate that doesn't sound like much, but with a 30 mile round trip to shop there as opposed to the 6 mile (at the most!) round trip for the supermarket I use most often, but fuel costs and time considerations have to come into play.
Did you shop local this week?