#SUPPORTLOCAL during British Food Fortnight // 20 September – 5 October
There’s no doubt that Brits are some of the most patriotic people in the world, and part of that includes being proud of the wonderful food we produce right here on our home soil.
If you love British food, show your support from 20th September – 5th October during British Food Fortnight. Here is a list of things (one for each day of the fortnight) you can do to buy and eat more healthily, more variedly and to discover the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain has to offer:
1. When you are shopping make a special effort to seek out British food. Pause when you select your food from the supermarket aisle. Look at the label. Does it tell you where the food has come from? Does it provide a description of who produced it? And if it is imported is there a British equivalent in-season? Visit www.wanttobuybritish.co.uk to help you find British food and drink near you.
2. Shop in local butchers, greengrocers, farm shops and markets that source locally and will be able to tell you a little about the person who produced the food you are purchasing. Remember, shopping for food warrants the same amount of time as choosing that perfect DVD for a night-in or the latest computer game.
3. Seek out food in season – look for, for example, the English plum, marrow and squashes, which are in-season during British Food Fortnight.
4. When next in the pub, team up a local beer with a local speciality for an authentic experience that reflects the character of the area where you live. Ask the pub staff to point you to local food on their menu. Enterprise Inns, Everards, Marston’s Pub Company, Mitchells & Butlers, Orchid Pub Group, Punch Taverns and Youngs all support the Fortnight so there will be an abundance of good pub grub.
5. Think beyond the chicken nugget when planning a family meal out. If there is not a good children’s menu ask for children-sized portions of the main menu.
6. Explore food from different regions of Britain as a fun way of experiencing our culture and heritage. Though there is still much bland, mass-produced food that belies little of the region it has come from, organisations like the National Trust and the Youth Hostel Association make a special point of serving quality regionally distinct produce from local producers.
7. Ask the caterers who provide the food for your staff, canteen or school restaurant if they will consider serving distinctly British produce. This could take the form of a special seasonal section on the menu. Don’t take no for an answer. More and more caterers are finding that if they form long-term relationships with suppliers and perhaps encourage small producers to form co-operatives it is possible to serve quality food in a mass catering environment.
8. Encourage teachers in your children’s school to run food-related activities during the Fortnight. All schools have been invited to take part in the event and all have been provided with the definitive guide to teaching children about food within the national curriculum.
9. Cook a British meal for friends. Nothing beats the old favourites like cottage pie or apple crumble. Consider inviting friends round for a British Food Fortnight feast. For recipe ideas, visit www.lovebritishfood.co.uk/recipes
10. Planning a family outing? Visit the What’s Happening pages on the Love British Food website (www.lovebritishfood.co.uk) to find out what’s going on during British Food Fortnight; visit a National Trust property – many are organising food events; stay at a bed & breakfast that uses locally sourced ingredients; or shop in your local farmers’ market.
11. Pick your own. What is better or healthier than being able to enjoy fresh fruit selected and picked by yourself? Search online for Kent fruit farms near you or rummage in the hedgerows for blackberries.
12. Grow your own. Eating food you have grown yourself – even if it is just a lettuce – is immensely satisfying. Potatoes, herbs and carrots are easy to grow and you do not need much space to do so.
13. Celebrate the Harvest. British Food Fortnight takes place at the time of Harvest Festival. You do not need to be a regular churchgoer, or have a particular faith, to take part in the celebration. Contact your local church to find out what they are organising.
14. Lastly, don’t forget the carrot! Britain has wonderful speciality cheeses and meats and delicious condiments but enormous pleasure can also be gained by simply enjoying fresh, in-season vegetables.