Posts Tagged ‘local food map’

Bumper Crop of Apples, time for Farm shops to act as community juice/cider maker?

Bumper crop of apples

Bumper crop of apples

This year there is a bumper Crop of Apples, many falling to the ground and wasted. We see this as a great opportunity for Farm shops to win customers by acting as community food hero and invite locals to bring their apples to make juice or cider.

We think farm shops should try and become the centre of their local food community and differentiate themselves from the supermarket as much as possible.

This can be done with fresher, local, fruit & veg, cheaper prices, better service, pick your own, animals around the car park, nature trails, tastings, cookery demonstrations, courses, crop for the shop, food swaps, and seasonal open days like, apple day, where locals can bring their apples and bottles to be pulped and juiced using the Farm Shop’s juice press.

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Every community should really have an orchard and apple press, after all ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. As most communities have a farm shop it seems to make sense to make the shop that centre. Especially if locals are encouraged to switch from the supermarket to buying from the shop and even growing produce to sell in the shop, with our Crop for the Shop scheme, or cooking to swap food at the shop on special food swap days.

People who love making cakes can swap a cake with someone who loves making stew, then do the rest of their shopping before they go home. All bringing new customers to the farm shop.

Switch from the supermarket? YES, we must. Perhaps not completely at first, try the local butcher or farm shop every week, (using our local food map) and the supermarket once a month for washing stuff, loo rolls, etc. You should save money, get better food and encourage more local production.

So the next time you visit your local farm shop mention apple day, crop for the shop and food swaps. If they are keen and not on BigBarn please tell them to contact us.


Government to get consumers to support GM? The dangers!

Food for animals?

Food for animals?

The Environment secretary will make a speech today explaining the benefits of GM. What about the dangers?

Here are some thoughts from a commercial ex-farmer, now worried about a trend to GM that could be an unmitigated disaster.

Those in favour of GM say we need it to;
1. feed the world
2. reduce the use of chemicals
3. keep UK farmers competitive

imgresOthers say RUBBISH! GM is already grown around the rest of the world yet half the world’s population is nearly starving, living on $2 a day. And By 2050, on present trends, the world’s livestock will consume enough grain/corn/soya to feed four billion people.

Will poor people be able to afford GM?

Chemicals? The opposite to GM, organic farmers, do not use chemicals and fertilisers through mixed farming techniques.

Intensive dairy farm

Intensive dairy farm

Some say that due to GM there are a number of weeds now resistant to standard chemicals like the amazing Glyphosate, developed by Monsanto but now cheap because the patent has run out. These new resistant weeds will need a new chemical and give Monsanto a chance to make more money with a new patent?

As an ex farmer I have seen the family farm change from employing 200 people in the 1950s, and being very profitable, to employing one person and almost making a loss if European subsidies were removed. If this trend continues to GM I am convinced that the savings in fertilizer and chemicals will be matched by the increase in seed cost.

Small profitable farm?

Small profitable farm?

How can you possibly, 100%, make sure that a dangerous gene is not transferred in to a GM crop and not found until it is too late.

Once we start growing GM can we go back?

In this country farmers like my family, without EU subsidies, are making about the same profit as small farmers selling direct to local consumers.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

Surely the government should be finding ways to help the latter rather than handing over the future of british farming to Monsanto and the profit focused GM corporates.

If you agree you can use our local food map and change your shopping habit from the supermarket to local producers or retailers stocking local food. And know that the money you spend on food is going back in to the local economy to encourage greater production, than to corporates and their shareholders.

Is Homogenized milk good? Or an example of a profit focused food industry?

Fresh healthy milk?

Nearly all the milk available is pasteurised and homogenized. This increases shelf life and the manufacture of a standard product but ruins the natural quality of milk. How many other food products will suffer the same fate in a profit focused food industry?

Many believe our standard milk is now unpalatable to many and is why some children suffer from eczema.

Homogenization breaks the fat into smaller sizes so it no longer separates, allowing the sale of non-separating milk at any fat specification.

This is accomplished by mixing massive amounts of harvested milk to create a constant, then forcing the milk at high pressure through small holes.

These effects the fat and makes the globules so small, that some say, the globules often pass straight through our gut wall. The same people want homogenisation banned. Unfortunately nothing can be proved, although kids getting eczema could be a factor?

Wikip Homogenizing Valve

Pasteurisation heats milk to kill bad bugs and make milk ‘safe’, the trouble is delicate proteins, enzymes, immune factors, hormones, vitamins, mineral availability- all undergo definite changes during the heating process.

When pasteurised milk goes off it is rancid when raw milk goes off it can be made in to yoghurt or cheese.

Unfortunately raw milk is very difficult to find as legislation only allows dairy farmers to sell their own raw milk. As the number of dairy farmers has halved in the last 15 years and those that do sell raw milk have to be tested for TB every year, instead of 5 years, very few take the trouble to sell locally.

I am afraid this is typical of a food industry dominated by profit focused supermarkets wanting a standard ‘safe’ product with a long shelf life.

It really annoys me that that the vast majority of consumers do not know what has happend to milk, and if surveyed would probably say they like the long shelf, and, if over 40, the way the fat does not separate to the top of the bottle like it did when they were young.

Many other products have followed the same path with more to follow. Perhaps in 10 years time fresh milk will be replaced by ‘long life’, and supermarkets will replace the meat and veg aisles with salty ready meals?

If you want to stop this trend use our local food map to find your local producers and, dairy, if you are lucky enough to still have one.

And ask questions. At BigBarn we are passionate about getting people out the supermarket and trading with local farmers and producers. Trade and communication increases knowledge and encourages those producers to grow a wider range of products. A virtuous circle to a better, local, food industry.

Or to buy raw milk online you can buy raw milk online in our MarketPlace

For more information on raw milk click here and for your comments type below.

E. coli on Cucumbers, more food scares to come?

It has been a long time since the last food scare but the current E. coli on cucumbers proves that food scares will be common in the modern food industry.

Why, because in today’s food industry foods become commodities as farmers try to meet the demands of the retailer. Farmers have to grow on a large scale and cut costs wherever possible. All the food scares in the past have this common cause.

We at BigBarn have been preaching this fact for years and helping producers sell direct to get a better price (if they sell to the supermarket they get about 9p in every £1 spent on food).

By getting a better price and communicating with local consumers production is more focused on what the consumer wants, ie flavour, than the supermarket’s demand for price and shelf life.

So to get much safer, fresher food, buy local and direct using the BigBarn map and ask questions about what you are buying. Most producers will proudly tell you about what they have grown.

Or to be really safe try growing your own, and if you have a surplus use our map to find a local retailer who is a Community Champion and will allow you to Crop For The Shop.