I believe that food is important.
The decisions we make about where we get food from and which food we buy really matters. Personally I don’t understand why anyone would buy meat, fruit and vegetables from supermarkets. It is an expensive way to buy poorer quality, older produce (although it may well be presented better) and the money goes straight out of the local community to a corporate head office. It doesn’t have to be that way and it doesn’t take huge effort to d things differently.
I met Mark Pettitt at the Kenilworth Foodie Fortnight market quite by chance. He had some pork for sale on his stand but mentioned that he would have some lamb soon. His business, Kenilworth Free Range, runs a small-holding in the town producing pork, lamb, eggs, turkeys and by-products such as sausages and bacon. You can’t get more local provenance. Couple that with rare breeds and animal husbandry from someone who clearly cares about quality and I was hooked.
I went on the website www.kenilworthfreerange.co.uk and ordered half a lamb for £70. I got an email back advising that it should be ready for collection at the end of October. Here is the first reality check. This half a Cotswold sheep is still walking around the paddock and I will have to wait until it’s big enough and the slaughtering and butchery takes place.
I collected the box from Mark and Wendy’s house one afternoon and first impressions were of just how heavy the box is. Mark advised this is 7-8kg of meat. My first thought is that at £10 per kilo this is at the same price or cheaper than supermarket pricing for a vastly superior product.
When I opened the box up I can see that I have two shoulder joints, two leg joints, 12 chops, a breast joint, a piece of neck, some offal and various trimmings – all bagged up and ready for the freezer. It’s like an enormous meat jigsaw! We are so used to seeing everything labelled that we don’t have to think about which bit is which but here I just need to get my bearings if I’m going to cook this nicely.
My final thought at this stage is for farmers everywhere. My box of lamb has taken someone to look after and animal for up to five months, then slaughter and butcher it for just £140! My half will form the basis of at least 40 plates.
We pay too little for our food.