Celebrate the Great British Harvest by cropping your food miles
The fresher from the field, the more fabulous; that’s the rule of thumb for most crops. Fewer food miles means fewer transport emissions, so we can breathe easy and enjoy an even better taste in our mouths.
So where can we track down the best of British without breaking the bank? Here’s how to bring a ripe selection of that late British harvest to your chopping board this October for flavour to savour!
Know your onions, and your sweetcorn, and your squash, and…
What’s in season is likely what will be most plentiful and therefore cheapest, so meal plan accordingly before you go shopping. Autumn’s best traditionally includes…
Fruit: blackberries, apples, plums, pears, damsons, elderberries, quince and sloes
Veg: beetroot, sweetcorn, squashes and pumpkin, peas, carrots, onions, fennel, celeriac, kale, leeks, lettuce, marrow, rocket, sorrel, watercress, potatoes and tomatoes
...with British apples and corn-on-the-cob as distinct highlights!
Bookmark this seasonality calendar from the Beeb so you can check back each month.
Work around what’s best at the time
Bear in mind that unexpected droughts or deluges throw off the timing of crops, so you may go to the shops expecting heaps of prime squash and corn only to emerge, confused, with late raspberries and courgettes, or vice versa.
The best chefs write their daily menus according to what looked, felt and smelt good at the market that day, so take a leaf from their recipe books and try to tweak your meals based on the ready and abundant British-grown produce in the shops. As a case, instead of going with South American asparagus, you could add a handful of seasonal runner beans to your risotto.
Look out for the red tractor in supermarkets
While buying directly from local producers at farmers’ markets and farm shops is guaranteed to minimise your food mileage, supermarkets have responded to our demand by adding more British produce to their ranges.
When you’re next scanning the shelves, remember to check fruit and veg packaging for ‘Country of Origin’. Do you really want that puffed-up package of salad leaves, all the way from Africa? Or those apples from New Zealand, when we have plenty of our own?
Order a locally-grown veg box
To really take the strain out of buying low mileage food, sign up to a local farm’s veg box delivery. Around £10 a week usually gets you enough organic veg to comfortably feed a couple, though every scheme differs so it’s worth doing a little research.
Walk or cycle to the shops and back
Might be only a half-a-mile shaved from the transport mileage of your food, but even a small distance makes a big difference if enough of us do so. Plus a little exercise will do us no harm before we gorge ourselves on plump British corn-on-the-cob liberally coated in butter.