As keen as I am to buy local produce – not just in a novelty, let’s-all-buy-Cornish-Sea-Salt-and-Tregothnan-tea-once-a-year kind of way, but as part of the weekly shop – I haven’t always felt it was especially viable, financially or practically.
Boutique farm shops have sprung up all over Cornwall as part of the foodie revolution sweeping the region, selling premium organic and super-freerange meat and veg, but I always leave them torn over how many 50p tomatoes I can realistically buy in one year.
Which is why I was so excited when I discovered the Higher Trenowin Farm shop the other week – located on the B3311 between Penzance and St Ives. Devoid of cool Cornwall trappings, it is a low-key, friendly farm shop with: sensible prices; accessible opening hours (closing only on Sunday afternoon); exclusively seasonal veg; all food miles chalked up on a blackboard; and a good range of cupboard staples (eggs, cheese, meat, bread, milk, butter, cakes and snacks).
Countryside panoramas and far-reaching views of Mount’s Bay from the road are happy extras.
Top buys: baby cauliflower (40p), tea cakes (£1.20), own-cured smoky back bacon (£2.20 a pack) and prime pork chops.
*What prompted me to post on this subject was a conversation the other evening with Charlotte Barry, senior lecturer in multimedia broadcast journalism at University College Falmouth and, more relevantly to this blog entry, chair of Cornwall’s first community-supported agriculture scheme, Camel CSA.
She was ruminating on the diversity of people in Cornwall who are buying local produce: there are some, like her, who are passionate about the politics of food; there are the young, Waitrose-weaned types who have moved to Cornwall for a greener, leaner life; and then there are those from an older generation who never stopped sourcing food locally – not because it’s fashionable or eco-friendly, but because it is, and always has been, plain common sense.