Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

BigBarn’s view on Free school meals

Government news that kids are going to get free school meals is great for some kids and parents, but please do a proper job, rather than try and score political points!

Mum passing fast food to child from the cemetery next to Rawmarsh school.

Mum passing fast food to child from the cemetery next to Rawmarsh school.

The trouble is that some school meals are terrible, and far too many kids have become too fussy. We need all school meals to be good, and made by enthusiastic, caring, cooks, and need kids to appreciate and enjoy what they are given.

Jamie Oliver has done some brilliant work on this and progress has been made despite the occasional, horrific, and ironic, pictures of parents passing fast food through the school railings from the cemetery.

We need to get kids interested in real food and why we are still shouting about our Crop for the Shop in schools project were attitudes to real food were transformed by the growing, harvesting and cooking fruit and veg. ‘I hate carrots.’ turned in to ‘cor, they’re lovely, can I have another one’?

To see more click on the video link:

So please bring food in to the curriculum with a small allotment in every school, fruit and nut trees surrounding playground and even chickens.

For more on Crop for the Shop in schools click here


Seasonal Super Food: Sweet corn

Really fresh sweet corn

Really fresh sweet corn

Every year we promote sweet corn and how important it is to get really fresh corn on the cob with leaves, rather than the ready skinned, 4 day old, plastic packed, supermarket offer.

According to ‘Organic Facts’, corn aids in reducing the risk of digestive issues such as constipation. It provides necessary minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper, and helps alleviate anaemia with its B12 and folic acid content. It also helps you become beautiful! Corn is found in many cosmetic products and can aid in alleviating rashes or irritations of the skin.

So don’t delay use our local food map to find your local farm shop and ask when the corn was picked. You will probably find, like many other products, that it is cheaper than the supermarket, fresher and by buying locally you will be boosting your local economy.

The Food revolution is growing

The start of a food revolution?

BBC Food programme

Great to hear the BBC Food programme recognising all the great food producers popping up all over the UK as some enlightened people even give up high paying careers to follow a food passion.

Unfortunately with our culture of supermarket convenience, it is difficult for many of these new food businesses to get the number of customers they need to survive, and the more they spend on marketing the more they have to charge for their products.

So well done Sheila and the BBC food team for raising awareness to these new artisans and I hope that all will get promotion with icons on our local food map and shops in MarketPlace.

By working together we can encourage greater local food production and trade, and build a social, local, food industry as a better alternative to the anti-social, national one.

Fruit juice cheaper than unhealthy fizzy drinks


Next time you think about buying a branded fizzy drink, full of sugar and dodgy additives check the price of a carton of fruit juice first.

The last time I checked a 500ml bottle of Fanta was £1.58 whereas a litre of apple juice, £1.50. I grant the apple juice was made from concentrate but had no added sugar, preservative, aspartame, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, benzene, or colourings.

Half price and twice as healthy? Do people buy fizzy drinks because they don’t look at price or is this the power of clever marketing?

Why don’t we insist our kids drink the healthiest drink of all, water out the tap?

Our thanks to The Mail on Sunday


Our big thanks to the Mail on Sunday for the article about BigBarn. Anyone who missed it can click here.

We hope the article will help more people find BigBarn, read our mission, and use our local food map to switch from the supermarket to buying local. We realise that change from the convenient ‘one stop shop’ is a difficult one. So recommend a slow transition to just buying meat from the butcher, or fresh veg from the farm shop, and leaving the supermarket for everything else, once a month.

So please tell your friends, or impress them at your next dinner party with great food and the story behind where it came from and how it was produced!

Supermarkets about to rip us off, again.

Fair, pricing?

Fair, pricing?

Supermarkets are all talking about sourcing British meat after the Horse Meat scandal. Will they add a fair mark-up on what they buy it for? Or will they do what they did with organic foods and add a higher profit margin because people perceived it to be better than non-organic.

Commercial profit making businesses will fix their prices on what they think the consumer will pay. Not on a fair mark-up on what they paid for the product. For organic produce this meant that all the Soil Association’s hard work promoting the benefits of ‘organic’ simply allowed the supermarkets to increase their margin and make more profit.

Your friendly local butcher

Your friendly local butcher

Many people predict this will now happen with British beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Foreign imports will not get the same high mark-up and consumers will notice the difference.

The supermarkets will then say ‘We made a special effort to source British meat but the consumer sent a clear message that they could not afford it’!

Your thoughts on this are very welcome below, especially any supermarket pricing manager!

The better way is to shop locally for your meat either from your local butcher or farmer. And ask lots of questions about the right cut, provenance, and price. You should get a better product and by cutting out the middlemen, save money.

Time to grow your own to avoid horse meat

Family Farm Shop

Family Farm Shop

The recent horse meat scandal has made most people realise that the only food you can really trust is local or home grown. Local because the producer will tell the truth about the food they have grown, because their local reputation is at stake. And home grown because you have watched it grow and waited patiently for that, just right, day when you can proudly show the family the fruits of your labour.

So now is the time to get organised for this year’s crops, and even make money on any excess produce through BigBarn’s Crop for The Shop scheme.

Most green fingered veggie growers will already have their veggie patch dug over with rotted down compost adding nutrients to the soil. They will have seed trays in the green house, or window sill, sprouting tiny plants ready to plant out after the last frost has gone.


As an amateur grower my seed trays are sprouting mixed lettuce, beetroot, coriander and chard and getting a bit spindly on the floor of my office as they search for the sun.

This year I have opted to make life a bit easier by using Growrings, a ‘cheats’, raised bed. The rings arrived in the post as a flat pack and assembled by simply clicking together. I put some well rotted compost at the bottom and added some soil improver that was free from my local recycling depot then adding good fertile bought compost on top. This means I have a sterile, weed free soil to grow my veggies and can harvest without bending my back so far.


I have also opted for a green house Growring to help my plants get a head start and protect them from frost and pests. I also have some Poshcloches on my weed infested veggie patch to encourage some early asparagus and protect my chard from rabbits.

Now I just have to wait and hope the last frost is early this year, unlike 2012 when most of by beans were killed.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

I also hope that my crops will be so successful that I will be able to sell some through a local ‘Crop for the shop‘ shop. To find them look for a rosette on icons on our local food map.

If anyone has some top tips to share please add them below. My tips are:

You can see a video and buy Growrings in our MarketPlace by clicking here. And Posh Cloches here;

For old, unusual, taste not shelf life, varieties of seeds here

And to learn about veg growing try You Tube videos