Blog: Supporting British Food & Farming
With Brexit still looming and the fears of food shortages or hikes in food prices is it even possible to live on just British food alone?
Absolutely! We are well aware of just how many fantastic suppliers there are out so we had a closer look at how feasible it is to eat just British and what sort of changes would need to be made.
As coffee, hot chocolate and oj are out of bounds, we can still drink a nice British Cuppa as Tregothnan of Cornwall have been created British tea since 2005, they also do Cornish Manuka and Wildflower Honeys so perfect for breakfast.Or, why not try a cup of hot Bovril, it was good enough for Ernest Shackleton when he and his team were marooned on Elephant Island during the Endurance Expedition but drinking at 7am in the morning may be a bit much!
To eat, well no problem here at all.Weetabix use all their wheat grown within 50 miles of the factory, plus Shreddies are also British.Porridge is on the list, Scotland have been growing oats since medieval times and Hamlyn’s Oats work with a network of Scottish farmers to produce their porridge oats. Oats are generally considered healthy due to their rich content of several essential nutrients (100g gives 389 calories, 20% dietary fibre, B vitamins and minerals).To go with your porridge, we need milk. Britain has some of the highest welfare standards in the world with British milk, cream, cheese and butter.Buying these will support the British farmers who help to keep the British country the way we want it to look.It isn’t just cows milk produced in the UK, we also farms producing Goat’s Milk, Sheep milk and Buffalo Milk.
If you are more a toast person this is when it gets a bit trickier.Many of the mainstream bread brands use a mix of British and Canadian wheat.But you can look at making your own bread using Wrights London Ground Wholemeal Flour, Wrights is actually London’s only flour mill and has been around since 1900. Some of the smaller specialist bakeries may also be able to confirm they use 100% British ingredients in their bread but this does mean shopping around.
In terms of toppings for your toast, we’ve covered off honey, there is an abundance of British jams from Tiptree, Roots & Wings, Thursday Cottage and Mackays.com with their Scottish Raspberry Preserve.
If you have a big appetite a full English is certainly on the cards – bacon, sausages and black pudding can all be produced in Britain with no problem.Add to this some eggs from Fairburn & Sons – we love the British blue - and breakfast is sorted.
Who doesn’t love a mid-morning snack? Depending on the time of year there is always a good variety of seasonal British fruit and veg you can munch on.Whether it’s apples and pears in the winter, carrots and cucumber in the Spring, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in the Summer and apples, blackberries, pears and plums in the Autumn.
If you’re craving a traditional snack then you’ll be pleased to hear that Burts Crisps use accredited British potatoes, all farmed, processed and packed in the UK.
Plus, Fori do a range of high-protein ambient meat bars using 100% British, Grass fed and free-range meat. Perfect if you are feeling peckish.
How about a nice home-made soup, again looking at the great range of British vegetables available?If you are not into home-cooking Tideford Organics produce and supply a range of delicious soups using all British ingredients.Their beetroot soup is one of our favs!
Or its back to the home-made bread again for a delicious Cheese sandwich using Wyke Farms Cheddar.The Clothier family have been making Cheddar in Somerset since 1861 and are now one of the largest independent cheese makers and milk processors in the UK producing over 15,000 tonnes of Cheddar per year. The family has its own farms, with over 1500 cows, plus also take in milk from over 100 local farms within a 50-mile radius.
If bread is off the list, Nairn Oatcakes source the majority of their wholegrain oats from the Scottish borders, where farmers have been making oatcakes for generations.
Alternatively, a healthy salad using British seasonal ingredients is definitely an easy option.British carrots, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce and tomatoes are all readily available now, just add in other seasonal options including British watercress which is incredibly good for you.
Finish lunch with a yogurt from Yeo Valley, has to be a natural yogurt as some of the ingredients in the flavoured varieties may be imported. Or Rachel’s Organic yogurts.
If you are after a soft drink, Copella produce some delicious apple juices, using apples from their orchards in Suffolk.They have been making apples since 1969 and very much value the countryside around them.
Otherwise Ribena, uses 98% British blackcurrants, that must nearly count?The blackcurrants are made into a concentrate in Somerset and then taken to Coleford,Glos where the drinks are made.
There is a fantastic selection of British craft beers and ciders you can sup on.One of our favourite British ciders is Hallets Cider, produced in Wales, it is slowly fermented and blended with the current year’s cider to create a lively, fruity cider.On the British beers there are so many to choose from, one of the popular choices is Spitfire Amber Kentish Ale, first brewed in 1990 and brewed to commemorate the Battle of Britain which was fought in the skies above Kent 50 years earlier.Named after the legendary Spitfire it is an infusion of three of Kentish hops.
An easy one definitely! McCain, the largest producer of British potatoes in the UK, works with more than 300 Red Tractor assured British growers and farmers.So, chips are a definite.
5.5million tonnes of potatoes are produced in the UK each year so British potatoes are always going to be readily available.
Co-op, the first retailer to sell 100% British fresh meat, so an easy choice to go for sausages, chops, mince or a delicious pie.
The Friday night curry can just about still be on the menu, if you don’t mind being going slightly above and beyond.It’s surprisingly easy to grow your own chillies and what about a little foraging for wild garlic growing in woodlands and magnolia petals (taste like ginger).Slow cooked casserole can easily be prepared using a selection of seasonal British veg, and British meat from your localCo-op.
For pudding it may mean going back to old favourites such as a delicious home-made rhubarb crumble or apple pie topped with Ambrosia custard. First made in 1917 in Devon, Ambrosia prides itself in still using local milk to this day.
Judes Ice Cream has a delicious selection available and a winner served with fresh seasonal fruits.
British alcoholic drinks are pretty easy to source too. English wine production is on the up and many English wines have recently won awards.Whites from the bacchus grape are popular and widely available while reds tend to be made from pinot noir and available from some very good vineyards. Ridegview in Sussex started in 1995 and regularly wins awards including Winemaker of the year in the Wine & Spirit Competition 2018, the first time in 49 years it has gone to an English producer.Other
If you are more into spirits, there is a great selection from Cotswold vodka, Scotch Whisky and Blackwoods Gin, to name a few! And made with botanicals from the Shetland Islands.Or how about a Cornish sambuca?
So, some fine examples of how eating only British can be done, and it’s really not that difficult. Thanks to the Co-op fresh meat and seasonal British fruit and veg are easy to source. Alcoholic drinks are plentiful too while unsurprisingly spices are the hardest to source.
We will keep looking into other options and maybe we can do a week or a month of eating just British.Watch this space …..And if you fancy having a go let us know how you get on and we can start swapping ideas and adding to our suggestions.