Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Friday, 4 May 2007

wonderful home grown food ....

If anyone else asks me 'did l see that programme on C4 last night?' l will scream. Every other person has asked me what did l think to the content, did l agree with it, was life in the depths of rural England as bad as that. Well, in here, all us lot who have a purple twinge about the gills, who like to think that we have an exclusive insight to all things country, after all we were all once avid CL readers, know the real story when we see it. Life here in the agricultural sector is very tough at present, no getting away from the fact. Dressing up in flowery frocks, photos of amazing homes & gardens et al doesn't represent the true, dirty, nitty gritty of rural life faced by those guardians of the land of which l & my family are one.

[Climb up carefully onto soap box]

'hey you at the back with the aldi bag NO heckling PLEASE'

Hubby gets annoyed with me when l start to rant about the rapid decline of small family farms, the incredible amount of bureaucracy foisted upon us by Europe. the total apathy of the NFU & the reality that the majority of people do not care a monkeys about how or where their food is produced, so long as it is convenient & cheap. Those who care or who have a higher disposable income will & do support farmers markets & farm shops, they can be counted upon to vote with their feet as well as their taste buds!

l have kept my opinions toned down, you'll be please to note, however there are some real success stories out there in Farming Land. As you may, or may not, have noticed the link to deliciously yorkshire. Here you can find farmers who have changed tack to produced quality, superbly flavoured, totally wholesome products, whether it be beer, jams, bread, butchery or in our case ice cream. Chefs & food programmes are discovering the wealth of fantastic foods that are available now through out the length & breadth of this country. Farmers have a passion for the land but they also can show they have this passion for food & this enthusiasm is infectious.

Not all farmers are able to move their businesses on in this way, but for those that that follow this route it is a truly exciting time. At country shows, areas are dedicated to local food exhibitions , the Great Yorkshire Show for example, has a large hall crammed pack full of wonderful Yorkshire produce, plus a cookery demonstration area showing the public how to prepare & cook these fabulous foods. Towns & city centres have food markets & festivals, York has several. [not so sure about the French market]. So what l'm saying is get out there this summer, talk to us food producers, find out what is happening in the areas of food production & agriculture, because we really do need to listen to what you the consumer wants from us & if possible we will attempt to grow / make / develop this for you to savour & enjoy!

OK, deep breath.

Step down off soap box.

Blast l've put my foot through the top..........damn & you have a band aid?


Fennie said...

Right behind you there Muddy. And more farmers' markets please (and more extensively stocked in our case) But can you answer me this? Why is it when you buy beef you can buy eg Welsh Black or Aberdeen Angus; if you buy pork you can also (sometimes)buy eg Gloucester Old Spot or Tamworth(OK very sometimes)but if you want mutton then you can only buy mutton or lamb - no hint of breed at all. Some sheep must surely taste better than others. I asked a farmer once but he said, no, they all taste the same. Really?

Jane said...

As you know, I agree with you on this. People of Britain need to take a good hard look at their spending habits and realise the choices that they are, often inadvertently, making.

Farmers' markets are great - I sell at them - but I find they are the minority buying from the minority (and are also bizarrely expensive to sell at in Scotland).

Where I live - in Stirlingshire - I can buy great beef and lamb locally from 10 or 12 farmers/farmshops but can't get local vegetables, cheese, icecream etc.

The local farmers market is 80% meat with the rest jam and cakes - part of this is the stall price as veg, herb etc suppliers can't cover the £70-80 stall cost. It isn't the answer for doing all my food shopping.

I would love to be able to buy from a consortium of farmers - sharing the transport costs. Perhaps this facility exists - Yorkshire obviously has a wide range of different suppliers. If anyone knows, could they let me know - and I mean weekly shop, not a hampery gift kind of thing.


With you all the way but obviously did not see programme. Most of our french friends are small famers,well I know Bretons are short but small as in small farms as well.

muddyboots said...

fennie - the sheep questions is a really good one. Sheep are in obvious breds, but the aren't marketed as breds as you say. just sheep / lamb. l think this sounds like a good market opertunity for some enterprising farmer. the challenge is now thrown down, ah now l did have herdwick lamb last week & dependent on breed & grazing lamb does taste different.

there is a company called country crossing hampers & they do yorkshire food hampers/box.
our local farmers market would not let us attend due to unfair competion[?], but the items on sale are similar to yours jane, jams, breads, organic veg, meats,smoked foods, cheese, bangers & pork pies.

Milkmaid said...

Hear hear Muddy as usual I agree with everything you say
on the subject of lamb marketed by the breed it is possible to get Herdwick lamb/mutton, but I dont know of any other, I shall take note and market our lambs more specifically, suffolk-cross lamb doesn't sound that exciting though, tastes good though

Pondside said...

Don't know much about the situation in UK but it sounds, from your blog, a lot like over here. Everything comes from the States. I go to a farmers' market, but it is a long drive. We need more small markets and not the chichi kind where you can only buy jars of jam and some braids of garlic. Our land here is quickly disappearing under housing subdivisions.

KittyB said...

We have the Dales Food & Drink show this weekend in Leyburn and that's a great showcase for local suppliers. We tried to source as much as possible local in our cafe, and the customers really appreciated it.

However, I had no response or no help from the likes of Deliciously Yorkshire in trying to source food to sell and ingredients. At the Great Yorkshire Show, I waited at the Dairy Farmers of Great Britain stand for half an hour for the sales rep to get off his mobile phone (clearly a personal conversation) then he pushed straight past me to get off the stand to go for his lunch. Nobody else could help me. Similar thing at Arla. They need to employ sales staff that care about the food passionately too. All I wanted was to source Yorkshire Butter (Arla), or at least English butter in individual portion packs.

That kind of thing is so frustrating, when you're in business you don't have time to repeatedly ring and email, getting no response is defeating the point of their agencies.

I think there's still a way to go to get the local food chain working.

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