Food for Thought: Farming for the People
Farming is about much more than growing great food, it’s also about being sustainable and making the best quality produce available to the local community. Welsh farming is the cornerstone of the £6.9 billion Welsh food and drink supply chain industry – and represents over 58,000 jobs. So why are we still buying our meat a dairy produce from the supermarkets?
Convenience, price and variety are the main reasons we shop in supermarkets. For some it’s all they’ve ever known but if you go back a couple of generations, your grandparents would have bought their groceries from multiple producers, who were passionate about what that sell.
Hope Cottage Farm Shop
After my trip to Aberystwyth was called off this weekend due to the “storm”, I was faced with a weekend of no plans. It wasn’t long until I’d created a to do list but I thought I’d use some of my time to visit a small farm shop I noticed on my way home the other day.
Many times I’ve been underwhelmed by farm shops, a lot are fully commercial outlets whose main aim is to get people in their café rather than inspiring a new generation with the knowledge from their team. It’s safe to say what I came across today was rare in my experiences.
I pulled up at the farm shop, a shed just off the main road, down a little country lane. The car park was empty, I like it when it’s like that, because it means I get to look around without getting in another customer’s way. As I walked into the shop I spotted a raw milk dispenser… Winner! My eyes quickly darted around spotting high-tech vending machines and eventually the friendly face of the farmer who owns the shop.
We spoke for about 20 minutes and his passion about his farm, his livestock and providing it all to the local community was inspiring. The vending machines were full of traditionally cured bacon, rare breed cuts of meat, honey, butter and my favourite, pickled onions. Mum and I had planned to have burgers for tea, so with the help of the farmer I navigated the machines, each one of them accepting contactless payments. I could have bought the whole place, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, but I settled for some minted lamb burgers, a glass bottle and a litre of raw milk to fill my bottle. Little did I know that Hope Cottage Farm Shop has been open for a year and I’m slightly gutted that I haven’t been here sooner.
What I learnt today
During our chat I found out that the raw milk I bought is a week fresher than anything I could buy in the supermarkets, and the sausages contain 30% more meat than most sold in supermarkets. More importantly the £1.30 I spent on a litre of milk went right in the farmers pocket rather than the pence the supermarkets give them. And if you’ve ever discussed milk prices with me, you’ll know how much it boils my blood!
It’s safe to say that Hope Cottage Farm Shop will be a regular pit stop for me and some nights I’ll be getting home a little later!
Now, I’m off to cook my burgers and sip on the freshest milk I’ve ever had.