Nether Edge Farmers Market

Out of a slightly dull weekend, I somehow picked the two sunniest hours on Sunday 19th June to spend down at Nether Edge Farmers Market today and thoroughly worth my while it was too.  Organised by Nether Edge Neighbourhood Group, it takes place on a quarterly basis on Nether Edge Road and Glen Road – if you missed this one, your next chance is the 25th September 2011.  Here are some photos of what caught my fancy:

Indian Sheffs

Indian Sheffs

Indian Sheffs, who I haven’t seen before, serving up hot bhajis, curry, rice and dips.

Cat Lane Bakery

Cat Lane Bakery

Cat Lane Bakery – run by Beanies Wholefoods in Walkley – were selling a range of their great breads and cakes, including these fantastic looking vegetable foccacias:

Cat Lane breads

Cat Lane breads

Pumpkin Oil

Pumpkin Oil

Pumpkin Oil is a relatively new addition to the Sheffield food scene.  The oil is cold pressed, 100% pure extra virgin Styrian pumpkin oil from Slovenia and brought back for bottling by a Sheffield family who fell in love with the oil on one of their many visits to the country.  Their website lists suggested uses for the oil, including drizzling over vanilla ice cream, dipping oil for crusty bread and a garlic and pumpkin oil sauce.  I’ll be testing these out with the bottle I bought – £4.50 for 100 mls, £11.25 for 250 mls or £20.25 for 500 mls.

Autumn Harvest Mushrooms

Autumn Harvest Mushrooms

I was excited to see Autumn Harvest Mushrooms from Rotherham, as I do love my shrooms.  They were offering tasters of a delicious mushroom called eryngii – really rich and meaty.  They sell a great mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, as well as things like dried mushroom powder which can be used in a similar way to stock powder.  They farm most of the mushrooms themselves and forage for porcini too.  They visit a number of farmers’ markets around Yorkshire – contact them on autumnharvest@live.co.uk

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Heavenly Cheesecakes were at the market, with a range looking as delectable as ever – though by the time I got to them, the stall was looking a bit depleted so they must have had a rush on.

Heavenly Cheesecakes

Heavenly Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes

Heard of the Sharrow Pie Experiment?  No?  Then head down to London Road and see what all the fuss is about.  Quite simply, they’re finding out if they can change the world by eating pie, and at the London Road site, they offer pie and space – the conversation (and the results of the experiment) are up to you.  Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook to keep up with their events, and if their pies are as good as the root vegetable bhajis they had to try at the market, it’ll be worth your trip.

Moss Valley Fine Meats

Moss Valley Fine Meats

There was plenty of hot food available, including smoked haddock fishcakes from Lincoln, bacon butties from Whirlow Hall Farm and sausage patties from Moss Valley Fine Meats, though today I went for a juicy venison burger from Round Green Farm before moving on to find pudding.  Another new find for me was Feel-Good cakes from Sheffield, who specialise in cakes suitable for people with food intolerances and health-related conditions, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and no-added sugar cakes and bakes.  They use vegetables in the cake in place of fats, to add flavour and moisture.

Feel-Good cakes

Feel-Good cakes

Feel-Good fig, raspberry and almond slice

Feel-Good fig, raspberry and almond slice

I went for one of their chocolate, orange and raspberry cakes, made with courgette – fabulously fresh and sweetened by the raspberry; highly recommended next time you spot them at a market.

Feel Good brownies, cakes and slices

Feel Good brownies, cakes and slices

In need of pudding pudding, we stopped at Yee Kwan Ice Cream to buy some to take home.  There was a debate over lemon tart vs. the salted butter caramel special (though green tea and chocolate & chilli are my favourites of Yee Kwan’s flavours) but my husband won and we went for a tub of lemon tart.

Yee Kwan Ice Cream

Yee Kwan Ice Cream

Only once we’d bought our ice cream did we stumble across Pimms on the bowling green, in the sunshine – but sadly too late for us, as the ice cream was calling for the freezer so we were now on a deadline.

Pimms on the bowling green

Pimms on the bowling green

There was however just time to stop off at The Old Sweet Shop to pick up some Rhubarb and Custard tea from Tea Box. Here’s the sum total of my spoils from a busy afternoon’s shopping, including Stichelton cheese from Welbeck near Mansfield, Sheff’s Special Mojo sauce, mushroom powder from Autumn Harvest and great ham from Hall Home farm:

Spoils

Spoils

 

Advertisements
Posted in events, food, local food | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tideswell Food Festival

Taste Tideswell

Taste Tideswell

A 30 minute drive outside Sheffield lies the village of Tideswell in the Peak District, where a food revolution is gathering pace.  Saturday 7th May saw their first ever Food Festival take place, with chances to explore and find out about all the food developments taking place round this area.  Here are some of my highlights from the day, the markets and my roaming:

Litton Larder

Litton Larder pickles

Litton Larder pickles

The very friendly ladies from Litton Larder (just outside Tideswell) were selling their pickles, jams, gluten free brownies and sticky toffee puddings.  Their entire range is gluten free and the sticky toffee puddings – Penny’s Puds – are the real stars.  Light, sweet and – predictably – sticky, you’d never guess they were gluten free and plenty of people seemed convinced by the tasters they were offering, as I spotted lots of the little tubs round the market in shopping baskets.

Penny's puds - sticky toffee pudding

Penny's puds - sticky toffee pudding

The puddings are now available in Chatsworth Farm Shop, as well as Litton village shop and are definitely worth picking up for a treat if you see them.

Saint Basil Olive Grove

Saint Basil Olive Grove oil

Saint Basil Olive Grove oil

A surprising find was this very special tasting cold-pressed olive oil.  Perhaps less surprising is that the olives are not exactly locally produced…it comes from Crete, where four friends from the UK ventured into the holiday villa market and found themselves owners of 200 odd olive trees.  The organically-grown olives are handpicked, cleaned and pressed in Crete, then the oil is brought back to the UK where it is bottled and labelled (using Kirsty’s – one of the owners of the olive groves and estate – own designs) in Litton Mill in the Peak District.  As the team are present from start to finish of the process, they guarantee that the resulting oil is single estate and unblended in contrast to many oils that we buy in the supermarket.  The flavour is smooth, fruity and peppery.  It’s a really impressive oil which I recommend you try if you get the chance – you can order the oil online, or contact the sellers to pick up in either Knutsford or Litton Mill.

Peak District Dairy Farm Shop

Peak District Dairy Farm Shop and Cafe

Peak District Dairy Farm Shop and Cafe

The farm shop is right in the centre of Tideswell and sells a wealth of Tideswell produce, as well as hot and cold foods in the cafe upstairs.  They sell jams and marmalades made in Tideswell, pickles from Ashford and of course a huge range of ice creams from the dairy itself.  As it was a fairly dreary rainy day, I wasn’t in the mood for an ice cream but next time I’m there I’ll be sampling the pistachio flavour.

Peak District Dairy ice cream

Peak District Dairy ice cream

Tideswell marmalades

Tideswell marmalades

Tideswell community garden

I love my garden and especially my veg patch.  I’m lucky enough to have room to grow a few veggies of my own, but not everyone has that space.  That’s why the Tideswell community garden was so exciting to see – a dedicated community space for growing, learning and sharing in the centre of the village.  It forms part of Taste Tideswell’s ‘Grow It’ aim and uses compostable waste from the School of Food as well as the Vanilla Kitchen, a nearby cafe.  Volunteers are invited to their regular growing days to get involved.

Tideswell community garden

Tideswell community garden

Cabbages in Tideswell community garden

Cabbages in Tideswell community garden

Peas and broad beans in Tideswell community garden

Peas and broad beans in Tideswell community garden

Produce from the garden is used in the School of Food, as well as for educating school children and producing food for local charities and shelters and use in ‘Taste Tideswell’ branded products.

Tideswell School of Food

Tideswell school of food

Tideswell school of food

This is the feature presentation.  Within easy distance of Sheffield, it offers a host of day and evening courses on a range of food topics, including tapas, Indian cooking, brewing, and foraging to name but a fraction of what you can learn about.  I’m booked on an Indian cooking course later this summer but am certain I’ll be booking on others and buying them for gifts too.

There were tours and demonstrations all day long, including wine-tasting and tea-tasting.  The demos were so jampacked that I couldn’t get in but I joined in with a tour to sneak a peek at the teaching kitchen, the commercial kitchen (where my massaman curry lunch had been prepared that morning), meeting rooms and nano-brewery.  Our tour guide, Tim – Tideswell’s ‘Village Champion’ – paused at the top of the building to show us the view back down the main street of Tideswell and to emphasise that this is what the Taste Tideswell movement is all about: supporting the local community and businesses by creating and sustaining jobs in the food and retail industry.  As their website says, they want to build:

A thriving prosperous community sustained by its own food economy.

An inspiring vision, both from the building and from the philosophy.  Check out the great range of courses and try out what they’re offering.

Whitehough Cottage Fudge

Mmmm…fudge…just time for a little sweet treat.  Beautiful hand-made fudge from the Peak District, sold with a range of flavours and a friendly smile.  Apologies for photographing the top of your head, nice lady, but the Baileys and White Chocolate Fudge was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Whitehough Cottage Fudge

Whitehough Cottage Fudge

Sharman Cookery School

Sharman Cookery School

Sharman Cookery School

A final mention must go to the delightful Mrs Sharman who was advertising her own Pan Asian cuisine and courses.  She provided samples of her food which was truly beautiful – I tried a Malaysian curry as she told me about the blend of 25 different spices that combine to give flavour, without scorching heat.

Mrs Sharman offers cookery courses to book for individuals, groups or businesses – she was so charming and vibrant, I really think you couldn’t fail to have a fabulous time with her and she really can cook…

Sharman Pan Asian Cuisine

Sharman Pan Asian Cuisine

Much as I would love to point you towards her website, I can’t – she doesn’t have one!  But if it sounds like it would be up your street, call her on 01332 835485 or 07815 008632.  Seriously – she’s fab!!

I came home feeling so pleased I’d made the trip out to Tideswell, despite the grey and rain.  Taste Tideswell is a really inspiring initiative, tackling real challenges within a community with exciting solutions – well, I would find them exciting, as I really like grub.  But I’d defy you to visit, see what they’re doing and not come away at least a little bit impressed.  It’s a great foodie day out from Sheffield, so combine a course at the Tideswell School of Food with a trip around the village to see the project grow.

Posted in events, food, gardening, local food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zerboni Taste, Ecclesall Road

Zerboni Taste, Ecclesall Road

Zerboni Taste, Ecclesall Road

We were in search of a good brunch this weekend, and I’m pleased to report we found it here.  Zerboni Taste is a Italian cafe a bistro on Ecclesall Road just down from the Hunters Bar roundabout and a short walk from Endcliffe Park – here, to be precise. It’s owned by Marco Zerboni, who used to work at Nonna’s Cucina just off Ecclesall Road.  It was a beautifully  sunny morning, but sadly Taste is on the wrong side of the street for our purposes and so the seats outside were cast in shade.  However, they had thoughtfully placed some fleecy blankets on the chairs outside for those brave enough – this did not include us and so we squeezed into a corner by the window to watch the world go by.  There are more seats upstairs too.

Taste is open as a cafe in the daytime Tues-Sun, but it also opens Fri/Sat nights as a bistro.  There’s a sample menu on the website, but they also say that they vary the bistro menu regularly.  We only had eyes and stomachs for brunch however and I’d been browsing their daytime menu earlier in the week so already knew what I wanted.  The Groestl (£5.95) was what I was looking forward to – potatoes sauteed with red onion, chives, parma ham (though the online menu told me to expect speck) and served with a fried egg and bruschetta.  Amazing:

Groestl

Groestl

The dish apparently comes from the Dolomite mountains, close to the Italian/Austrian border.  It met all my expectations – the saltiness of the ham was well balanced by the slight sweetness of the potatoes.  Well seasoned all round, with a fried egg that oozed yellow goo.  I didn’t really need the bruschetta as well, though I ate it anyway as it seemed rude not to, and it was well soaked with olive oil, but still crisp.

My husband went for the Full Italian (£6.50), the highlight of which for him were the Tuscan-stewed beans.  These are several cuts above a can of Heinz baked beans, made with (I think) cannellini beans stewed in a herby tomato sauce.  Wonderful.  The sausages were impressive too, really firm and dense so they must have had a very high meat content.

Full Italian

Full Italian

Taste serve a range of Teapigs teas with an extensive choice in the back of their menu – however they apparently don’t have all the teas listed in stock, so the chocolate flake tea I rather fancied wasn’t available.  As I had a sweet tooth, I went instead for the rooibos creme caramel tea.  It didn’t quite do the job for me; a hot chocolate probably would have been more what I was looking for.

Speaking of sweet things, Taste do a very tempting selection of cakes and desserts, all homemade. We were pretty full so didn’t need anything more but options included coconut macaroons, apple strudel, bigne, chocolate cake with marmalade topping, sbrisolona, toasted panettone and Sicilian orange and chocolate chip cake.  They also sell chilli infused extra virgin olive oil and homemade preserves to take away.

Definitely worth more visits – to try their evening bistro menu and to have another load of the delicious groestl.

Posted in food, restaurants, reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vintage Rose tea parties

Vintage Rose catering

Vintage Rose catering

I received an invite from the lovely @LuHarper to a Vintage Rose tea party, which is a new venture set up by Chesterfield girl, Victoria Almarresh. Victoria has long had a passion for baking, catering and vintage style and has decided to make a business out of what she loves.  Vintage Rose offers catering for buffets, picnics, tea parties  and much more.  You can also hire vintage crockery, table linen and bunting to theme your own party.  Victoria clearly puts a great deal of care, pride and attention into her parties and she says that she presents things exactly as she would want them herself.

We were welcomed to a beautifully presented table ready and waiting, laden with sandwiches, tea and some of the stylish crockery and cutlery that Victoria has collected.  Part of the unique charm is the mismatched selection of plates, teacups, forks and linen she uses, which add character and colour to the table.

Ready to tuck in

Ready to tuck in

Sandwiches

Sandwiches

Have a look at our menu for the afternoon below – but you also need to check out Vintage Rose’s mouthwatering range of options for picnics, buffets and tea parties.  I like the look of the romantic picnic with spiced prawn dip, smoked salmon and raspberry rose meringues – although I’d be torn 3 ways between this one, the Arabic picnic (with baba ganoush, spiced chicken drumsticks and pomegranate juice) and the Asian picnic (including cold sesame chicken with spicy noodles, sushi and lemon grass muffins).

Our Vintage Rose tea party menu

Our Vintage Rose tea party menu

We started off with neatly cut and generously filled sandwiches – crusts removed, of course.  As per usual I put myself at risk of overdoing the savoury (crisps vs chocolate? Crisps every time FTW…) but managed to restrain myself as the sweet treats were lurking close by.

Florentines and scones

Florentines and scones

The florentines were perfect – just the right combination of slightly sticky and chewy with a crunchy bite to them.  But the treat that got us most excited was the fantastic cointreau butter that Victoria had made to go with the cranberry scones.  The smell was divine – heady, orangey yet still buttery and the taste was beautifully sweet, rich and alcoholic!  I couldn’t get enough of it.  There was also a helping of Victoria’s homemade hedgerow compote.

Homemade hedgerow compote

Homemade hedgerow compote

We washed it all down with cinnamon and lemon spiced tea, with delicate sugar hearts for those still left with a sweet tooth.  Victoria now offers teas blended by Sheffield’s own Tea Box (read my recent review of them here).

Beautifully crafted sugar hearts

Beautifully crafted sugar hearts

All the guests agreed how special and spoilt we felt at the end of the afternoon and that feeling lasted all evening once I got home.  It was such a different way to meet with friends to enjoy food and  was packed with traditional treats, all with a touch of class and elegance that we so rarely make the time and effort to enjoy or prepare ourselves.

Victoria clearly adores doing what she does, and it really shows – as she does it so well. Vintage Rose offers catering for hen parties, celebrations, buffets, picnics, cupcakes to order for gifts or gift vouchers – there’s a great selection of photos on Flickr taken by @LuHarper to give you more of a flavour of what they can do.  I’m guessing Vintage Rose’s services will be in high demand in a couple of weeks’ over the Royal Wedding for vintage themed events and I highly recommend you check them out and treat yourself soon! For more information, follow @vrcatering on Twitter or email vintagerosecatering@gmail.com.

Posted in food, local food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moss Valley Fine Meats

It’s a well known fact that there is no finer way to end your working week, than with a Friday afternoon trip to a pig farm*.  So it was handy for me that Moss Valley Fine Meats is but 5 minutes away from where I was working on Friday.  I met Stephen, who’s a fourth generator farmer and he gave me a tour of part of the farm and the butchery.  Moss Valley Fine Meats operate from Povey Farm, just over the border in Derbyshire (when I say just, I mean just – it’s a few minutes down Lightwood Lane, in Norton – I didn’t realise I wasn’t still in Sheffield!).  Whilst Stephen’s family have been at Povey Farm for over a hundred years, he told me that the farm buildings themselves are several hundred years old.

The farm covers 240 acres and with 220 sows, as you’d expect, they do a nice line in pork.  Have a look at some of their products here – they do a mouth-watering range of sausages, including their award winning sweet chilli flavour.  Whilst I was at the farm, naturally I picked up a few pork products to take home – Stephen couldn’t find any sweet chilli sausages in the well-packed freezer, but he did manage to hunt out some sweet chilli sausage meat, shaped into patties:

My pork haul

My pork haul

After furnishing me with overalls and boots, and checking that I hadn’t been near pigs for 4 days to protect his animals, Stephen showed me some of their Duroc pigs from very tiny 1 day old piglets to sows that had been selected for breeding on the farm – they choose the very best sows to keep for themselves, whilst others are sold on or used for their own products.

1 day old piglets

1 day old piglets

2 week old piglets

2 week old piglets

Jostling for space

Jostling for space

Cream of the crop

Cream of the crop

Inquisitive

Inquisitive

The pigs are taken off the farm for slaughter, then brought back for processing in their purpose built butchery.  Moss Valley have recently taken on their own full-time butcher, which was pretty timely as since Stephen’s joined Twitter as @MOSSVALLEY, he’s noticed an increase in interest and orders for their products.

Moss Valley's butchery

Moss Valley's butchery

Inside the gleamingly immaculate butchery, there’s some impressive looking kit:

Bacon slicer

Bacon slicer

Choose your bacon thickness

Choose your bacon thickness

Using the sausage filler was a learning curve for Stephen and his team. The crucial factor is making sure the meat is packed in firmly, with no air bubbles – otherwise you run the risk of a sausage explosion.  Apparently you only get it wrong once.

Sausage filler

Sausage filler

Bacon hanging in the cold store

Bacon hanging in the cold store

It’s great news for Stephen that business is growing for him, because it’s not the case for UK pig farmers in general.  According to the Pigs are Still worth it! campaign, the UK pig industry has been operating at a loss for most of the last decade and this has been exacerbated by the rising cost of feed.  Last week Stephen joined an army of pig farmers who descended on Downing Street with a ‘Sign our Sausage‘ petition, asking MPs to show their committment to buying British pork at a fair price – rather than cheaper products from abroad, where the pigs are often reared at lower welfare standards than are permitted in the UK.

You can show your support for British pork and farmers by buying products that bear the Red Tractor logo – which means you can be certain that the product came from a farm in the UK and meets standards of hygiene, safety and quality.  There’s a petition to sign here to add your name to the ‘Pigs are Still worth it!’ campaign, which I’ve just done.

You can also support the farmers that are local to you, whether you’re a restaurant or a consumer.  Moss Valley’s products are used by a growing number of local restaurants, including The York in Broomhill and The Old House in Sheffield city centre and you can now buy them to cook at home from Totley Deli on Baslow Road, or directly from the farm.  I’ll be enjoying my Moss Valley bacon for breakfast tomorrow and many thanks to Stephen for taking the time to meet me and show me round.

*It’s not well known.  But it should be.

Posted in farms, local food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fagan’s, Broad Lane

The wonder of Fagan’s is, quite simply, portion size.  Food here is big:

“D’ya think we’ll fit 3 plates on this table?”
“Dunno…they’re pretty big…”

“What’s the pie like?”
“Big”.

Me: “Does the steak come with chips?”
Tom (landlord): “No…it comes with chips, mushrooms, tomato, salad, olives and a fried egg”.

Fagan’s (link to Google map here) serves traditional pub food and is proud of it.  The blackboard menu always includes favourites such as fish and chips, all day breakfast, ploughman’s, chilli con carne, chicken/veg curry…most meals at a seemingly standard price of £5.30.

Fagan’s is also well-loved by some of Sheffield’s best known musicians.  There are regular folk nights and Richard Hawley has been known to throw the odd impromptu gig here.  He namechecks Fagan’s in an interview in this weekend’s Guardian:

I’ve often reached the dizzying heights of ecstasy holding a pint of frothy seasonal ale in Fagan’s pub, chatting away with Tom the landlord.

Pete McKee immortalised some of Sheffield’s music legends in Legends in Fagans (Made in Sheffield) as part of his 22 Views of Sheffield collection.  It shows Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Alex Turner, Phil Oakey and Tony Christie tucking into a pint and a fag in the snug – the very same snug we sat in last week, with a print of the McKee work hanging above us.

Fagan’s ales include the ever popular Moonshine from Abbeydale Brewery in Sheffield as well as Tetley cask.  It can take a while to get served at times – but that’s usually because the aforementioned Tom is off in the kitchen dealing with a food order.  We’d been looking forward to a good bit of Fagan’s grub for a couple of weeks since a friend suggested going for her birthday and most of the group had decided long before they got there what they were going to have.

We ordered 2 steak and potato pies, 1 sirloin steak, 1 chilli con carne, 1 ploughmans and 1 sausage, egg, chips and beans.  We’d asked for 1 more pie but were told there were only 2 left – when they arrived, however, I suspect that each portion would have merrily served 3.  They came with a good helping of chips and mushy peas.  My steak did indeed come as promised with an array of accompaniments, as well as some of Tom’s homemade salad dressing (honey and mustard) which he highly recommended, and so do I.  My steak was on the rarer side of medium rare (which was fine for me but be warned if you prefer yours better done), nicely seasoned and – unsurprisingly – big. The steak was a couple of pounds more expensive than the rest of the meals.  I was impressed with the chilli, made with big chunks of steak and it had a nice bit of heat (as I discovered when I polished off the remainder of my friend’s portion).  The sausage, eggs, chips and beans did exactly what they said on the tin and didn’t disappoint at all.

The ploughman’s is a sight to behold.  Except you’ll have to go and behold it yourself, as I didn’t get any pictures.  You get a stack of tiger bread, pork pie, scotch egg, a hearty slice of ham, olives, salad, coleslaw and 6 different cheeses: Le vache qui rit, Boursin, cheddar, Cheshire, an unidentified soft creamy cheese with blue veins (a bit like Cambozola) and a cottage cheese. More than enough for one, which worked out rather well as a few of us were just ready for a small cheese course.

That was quite a meal, all in all, and that’s what you get from Fagan’s – piles of honest food at a good price (ie, £5.30), good beer and a good atmosphere.  It seems to inspire great loyalty and warmth in Fagan’s customers, as summed up by Hawley when asked how he wanted to be remembered:

As that 198-year-old bloke in Fagan’s.

Posted in food, pubs, restaurants | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sheffield Food Plan

There are just under 2 weeks left to give your feedback on the draft Sheffield Food Plan.  The Food Plan aims to help Sheffield on the way to becoming a healthier city, with benefits for the environment and the economy.  Here’s a quote from the draft plan, available to download as a PDF:

The Sheffield Food Plan is a unique strategy for the city. It addresses the complexity of food issues in Sheffield by looking at food from a much wider perspective; linking health, health inequalities, the local environment and the local economy to shape an ambitious vision for Sheffield.
In short, the Sheffield Food Plan attempts to promote a strong food economy, the health and environmental aspects of food and, crucially, the pleasures of eating and sharing food.

(Sheffield Food Plan: Consultation draft – pg 24)

The Food Plan is the work of a steering group comprising representatives from NHS Sheffield and Sheffield City Council as well as Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Grow Sheffield and parties from the voluntary, community and business sectors.  It has been funded by Sheffield Let’s Change4Life, part of a national programme aimed at tackling obesity.  7 key areas are addressed by the Food Plan:

  1. Local Food – To make sure that food eaten in Sheffield is sourced as locally as possible.
  2. Cooking and Culture – To make sure all Sheffield residents can plan and cook healthy meals.
  3. Community Food Growing – To make community food growing activities an important part of Sheffield’s communities.
  4. Access to Healthy Food – To make sure Sheffield residents are able to conveniently access, buy and consume healthy food.
  5. Public Sector Catering – To make sure food bought and sold by the public sector (the Council, NHS etc) is good for people’s health, the environment and the economy.
  6. Food businesses – To make sure Sheffield is a regional centre for quality, safe food and that it is home to profitable food retail and manufacturing.
  7. Lifestages – Sheffield people are enabled and supported to make informed choices about their health through improved food, diet and nutrition throughout their lives.

As part of the consultation process, Sheffielders are asked to identify the 3 areas out of these 7 that they consider to be the most important.  Having read the plan and given my feedback, here’s the 3 that stick out for me:

Local food: I really value being able to eat food that has been produced in the nearby areas.  Why?  Well, for one, I like Sheffield and I want it to prosper as a city, and I think investing – even small amounts – in the businesses we have here is an important part of that.  Secondly, I feel more confident that the food I eat is fresh as it hasn’t had to travel far to get to me.  Thirdly, there is a massive environmental benefit to producing food locally for a community.  In the Food Plan, a target is set of 60% of the food consumed in the city having been produced in the city (from urban, peri-urban and rural land).  It also mentions that food transport accounts for 25% of HGV miles on the roads – a huge contribution to our national carbon footprint.

Projects that have targeted the idea of eating locally produced food have already demonstrated the impact on carbon emissions of cutting down on food miles.  One of the best known projects has been the Fife Diet, where a small group from the Fife area committed to eating only food produced locally.  Calculations of their ‘foodprint’ showed that their style of eating lowered their carbon emissions by 25-50% (depending on how committed they were to local eating).  Isn’t that massive? But unsurprising, if it’s true that our choices about how we eat account for over 30% of our household carbon emissions.  The Fife Diet has sparked off interest nationally and the Cornish Diet was launched last year with the aim of sourcing 85% of food eaten in Cornwall, from Cornwall itself.

Access to healthy food: This is an all-encompassing aspect of the Food Plan so for me it has to be really important.  In very simplistic terms, there’s a relationship between obesity and poverty.  Is it chicken or egg – are people obese because they are poorer, or poorer because they are obese? Sheffield has a number of socially disadvantaged areas so this is important for us as a city to take care of our own citizens.  The Food Plan aims to increase fresh food availability in areas with poor access to healthy food and to improve availability of healthy eating options in public sector food sales.

Lifestages: I think the Food Plan does a good job here of recognising the importance of education in improving our eating habits.  Whilst this section focusses on eating in all stages of life, I’d like to think that with good support throughout education- and I know a lot of schools already have great practice in this area – pupils can enter independent life with knowledge of growing their own food, and cooking their own food to embed healthier attitudes towards eating.

Each area is so closely interconnected that it is difficult to separate them.  You can find out much more detail by downloading the draft Food Plan here – go to the bottom of the page, where you can either download the full version or the summary.  I recommend reading the full version if you have time – don’t be put off by the length, it’s easier to read than you might think and very interesting.  You need to submit any comments by Friday 25th February 2011.  Organisations and groups with an interest are also invited to make more formal responses, and there is information on the page about how to do so.

Posted in food, local food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments