British Organic Food from Abel and Cole

Posted by Dunc on Jan 28, 2009 in Food Shopping

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In our continued effort to ‘keep it in the country’, rather than do the usual Tesco trauma trip, we decided to order a box of tasty organic fruit and veg from a company who actively support British farmers, Abel and Cole.

Who are they?

Abel and Cole work with over 120 British farmers, bakers and producers – as well as some further afield (for Fairtrade bananas, coffee and chocolate). They believe that working closely with their producers benefits everyone – the producers get more security, and more time to focus on the food. And we all get to eat it!

Abel and Cole seek out small producers who take great pride in their work. All the food is organic or free range and where an organic standard does not exist, they ensure that the food is sourced sustainably, such as the wild sea fish. They work with over 120 British farms, including many who would be too small to have their own box schemes.

OK. So how was it?

Ordering from the website was easy peasy. There’s loads of things on offer, from meat and cheese, to veg, fruit, beers and wines. We decided to go for a mixed fruit/veg box and some sausages. A day later, someone phoned to say when to expect delivery. At 9.30 am today, the nice delivery bloke knocked on the door with our box of goodies :) A quick rummage through the box showed that everything was caked in mud and dirt, so after a bit of scubbing up, it was all packed (minus an apple) in the fridge.

It all looks pretty tasty and there should be plenty to last the week. They even give you a weekly newsletter with some handy recipe ideas.

Here’s what we got…

8 x Apples (1170g )

Gavin Cherry, of Sweet Apple Orchards, is one of our apple growers, when British apples are in season. Gavin has been growing apples organically since the 1960s, and supplying us for many years now. He also grows pears and Victoria plums. Gavin grows many varieties of apple, including Discovery, Red Pippin, Jonogold and Charles Ross.

5 x Bananas – Fairtrade (750g)

Carrots (840g)

Charley Anstey and John Bennet of Haywood Oaks Farm grow many of our carrots. Haywood Oaks is on the border of Sherwood Forest – it is gently sloping land of sandy soil that is great for root crops like carrots and parsnips. Charley and John plant their first carrots in April and harvest the youngest ones of the year in July, and then have more mature crops throughout the rest of the year.

Cherry Tomatoes (260g)

5 x Oranges (950g)

Parsnips (800g)

Jane and Will Edwards of New Farm in Lincolnshire grow quite a few of our parsnips. One of the most important decisions they have to make is where to grow the parsnips. Looser soil helps the parsnip roots to grow straight in clay soil big clumps could get in the way and make the parsnips grow all wonky! Jane and Will grow a whole variety of other vegetables too, including savoy cabbages, squashes, potatoes and cauliflowers.

Potatoes (900g)

Most of our potatoes are grown by Jon Christopher at Rhydunnog Farm in Herefordshire, in the foothills of the Black Mountains. The soil on Rhydunnog is a rich red clay, which is great for growing potato crops. Jon grows all sorts of varieties from Milva to Nicola and Estima potatoes. He specialises in growing potatoes, but rotates his potato crops with wheat, clover and grass leys to prevent diseases building up in the soil.

Red Cabbage (780g)

Cabbage is a staple British crop, and is one of the few vegetables that grows well into the winter. This means that many of our farmers grow green, red and white cabbages. Jane and Will Edwards of New Farm Organics in Lincolnshire quite often send us some of theirs. Cabbages are a relatively trouble free crop so they can rely on the cabbages while they try out other vegetables that they might not have attempted to grow before!

Swede (680g)

White Onions (500g)

Pork Cumberland Sausages (675g)

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So we’ll give it a week and see how it all works out. I feel pretty chuffed that most of the stuff is from Britain and the organic side of things is an added bonus. Even better that I don’t have to traipse round the supermaket :)

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Full Disclosure:
July 2009 – Apparently Abel and Cole have sent some veg boxes out to various bloggers to get their opinions. Just to make it clear that we didn’t receive a freebie (although we wouldn’t say no!) prior to this review. We raided our union jack piggy bank and paid for the boxes with our hard earned pennies.

 

Lunches

Posted by Lou on Jan 26, 2009 in Stuff

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So I’m back to work today after seven weeks of christmas, holidays and work trips. Basically I’m trying to lose the weight that I gained over Xmas so no more trips to the vending machines and certainly no trips to M&S for lemon cheesecake. So I went to work today armed with British apples and bread from Barbakan and my soup.  Since we had the largest celeriac known to man in our fridge, yesterday I decided to make a soup. I threw together some garlic, a whole celeriac, leeks, onion and some  carrots (all British) and some chicken stock, watch out Nigella. It looked lovely in the pot, its just when you blend it, it just looks like baby food! Back to the drawing board on that one. Tea made up for it though, parsnip, potato and cauliflower curry (again all British).

Ps I know the Muppets arent British but I love them and this was the best lunchbox I found.

 

1st Great British Food Shop

Posted by Lou on Jan 23, 2009 in Food Shopping

Barbakan-unicorn grocerys

So today we embarked on our first British Food Shop. We decided to not to even bother with Tesco’s (other large supermarket chains are available) but to head to Chorlton to support our local shops.

Our first port of call was Unicorn, which is a worker co-operative owned shop and has 21 aches of land 14 miles away where vegetables are grown. It’s a fantastic shop and is always really busy whenever we go. However not all fruit and veg is grown locally and some is sourced ethically from different countries. We went with the thought of buying only British grown produce and we did quite well, but we did hit some problems.

We bought:

Celeriac, parsnips, carrots, apples, mushrooms, leeks and brussel sprouts (which were free) all grown in Britain. The brussels (which were free) were in fact grown in a local allotment. We were naughty and we did buy a Spanish broccoli, less said about that the better.

Anyway I digress.

We bought Weston’s Organic Cider and some lemonade from the Feel Good Drinks Company, all produced in Britain.

We had to get some tinned chopped tomatoes, which were a product of Italy, so for future reference when tomatoes are in season in Britain I think I’ll have to make some tomato sauce to freeze.

Also a selection of nuts and seeds, which were from various countries, again I’ll have to research this more.

After Unicorn we went across the road to Barbakan, an award-winning deli. They bake the bread fresh in store everyday and it’s fantastic, if not a little stressful when there is so much choice and your service number is fast approaching.

We stocked up on Longley Farm yogurts from Holmfirth, various breads and a smoked salmon quiche for tea tonight – also made fresh in store today! I know, I know, QUICHE IS NOT PART OF A DETOX, and neither is cider! I did say that I was rubbish at keeping to New Year’s resolutions :)

 

Wild At Heart

Posted by Lou on Jan 22, 2009 in Stuff

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I’m home!

As I’ve spent the last two months in the depths of Christmas celebrations and work trips to China a good old-fashioned detox is in order. Since I’m usually away in January, I start my New Year’s resolutions a little late, not like it makes a difference because I never stick to them! This year will be different, I’m approaching thirty and its time for huge changes.

This year along with the usual suspects (I must not smoke, I must go to the gym more) I have decided that I will buy British wherever possible.

So I will start with a GREAT BRITISH DETOX to try and repair my body of the wrongs I have done over the past few months and support British produce at the same time.

But I’ll start all that detox stuff tomorrow. My first port of call when returning home….. Wild at Heart. Wild at heart is a deli based in Chorlton (www.wildatheart.uk.comand they have the most amazing selection of cheeses, salads and cakes amongst other things. One of their aims is to support local and rural economies and when it tastes this good, I’m totally down with that. After literally stuffing my face with cheese, ciabatta, olives, stuffed peppers and finishing off with an organic chocolate cheesecake, I sheepishly looked at my mass of empty plates and decide to go home. I have just been in China for two weeks! I am just wondering how long I can use that excuse for.

Anyway DETOX STARTS TOMORROW!

 

Shocking Behaviour

Posted by Lou on Jan 16, 2009 in Stuff

I know it is not a good start to a blog that is promoting Buy British to say I’m in China! I know SHOCKING, but at the end of the day I have to earn a living and it just so happens that the long-standing ‘British’ company I work for manufactures in China.

I have this dream (God who do I sound like) that it would be lovely to see everything designed and produced in good old blighty. I voice my opinion on this quite a lot and although it’s a beautiful idea, the logistics are a nightmare. If we can find skilled people in the UK air jordan 4 to make the products, it still causes a problem because all the components are made in China. Not only does fail to boost our economy but also the air miles will still be through the roof!

Anyway all this economy talk is well out of my league…..I promise from now on I’ll only talk about food and fashion – my two favourite subjects of conversation.

Not long till I get home and the first thing I want is Covent Garden soup and a Pie Minster pie…more on that later ☺

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