A TASTE OF DEVON Eat fresh, eat local
founder of The Devon Food Movement, a pop-up restaurant group, urges us to eat local, seasonal food here are so many great foodie occasions in winter and with one quick dash into town I can have a basket full of great looking produce... big red raspberries, plump cherries and tomatoes of all varieties, ready to adorn the table of an impromptu family gathering.
But this is winter after all. Should it really be that easy? Should we really be eating raspberries from South Africa, cherries from Spain or tomatoes from who knows where?
‘I cannot help but feel that as a majority we have lost touch with true seasonality in food’
As we move through the year I cannot help but feel that as a majority we have lost touch with true seasonality in food. The notion of living as part of cyclonic year seems to be a distant one as I walk the supermarket rows.
Just to note, this isn’t a rant about the supermarket, as I also attempt to live well for less. Sadly though, the ability to come away with a basket of flavour-lacking, food miles is all too easy.
We have slowly moved towards a culture where convenience has masked one of the simplest pleasures in life... the ability to eat local, seasonal food!
However not all is lost because we are a nation of change and a county of true food heritage.
And if you have managed to read my previous seasonal monologues or maybe even made some subconscious reference to my own seasonal milestones then you might have a somewaystocked store cupboard by now, all courtesy of the wild larder.
If this is not the case, then even now there is still time with a couple of great ingredients just starting to reach maturity. Visit wildfooduk.com as a good reference of seasonal wild foods in the British Isles.
In my house we are greedy and have all but consumed our glut of late summer jams.
The chutneys and pickles have lasted a tad longer though – waiting patiently for a big ham, the leftover joint or the day the snow comes again! I have a particularly nice windfall apple, sweet chestnut and all spice chutney that is faring well and when accompanying a roasted game bird takes it to another level and it it is never too late to add to your collection.
With that said, the star of this season for me is the unsexy vegetables. The roots and the brassicas. The vegetables that make the humble pasty great, bring body and heart to a stew, the base for many a great soup and the lifeblood of our farmers’ markets.
Preserves bring the light of a warmer month to your plate, but the heart and focus must be both local and fresh.
It really is simple. Time to look back and remember. Time to cook what nature provides on your doorstep.
I challenge you to look just that little bit closer to home this winter and support your local farmers, producers and artisans.