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Should more be done to promote buying produce from local farmers?

January 11, 2019 6:02 PM
By Cllr Karen Chilvers in Brentwood Gazette
Calcott Hall Farm (Calcott Hall Farm)

Calcott Hall Farm in Brentwood is a popular farm shop

I remember when I was a child and my mother would take us to an emporium called "The Farm Shop". I loved it; the way it smelt, the apron-wearin lady behind the counter, the paper bags and potatoes wrapped in newspaper.

But that was the 1970s, before the big supermarkets started to take a stranglehold with their convenience of 'everything in one place' and strawberries all year round. We all followed suit in pursuit of cheaper and cheaper produce. Now, thankfully, it seems the tide is turning again.

In 2010, Cllr Nigel Clarke and I vowed to do most of our Christmas shopping locally, taking advantage of the wonderful local traders we have in Brentwood. Although we shopped locally anyway, it opened
our eyes to what could be bought from local traders. In 2013, with former councillor William Lloyd and Cllr David Kendall we held a "Shop Warley Day" and, with a group of residents, led a voyage of discovery buying local produce as the new Tesco threatened their businesses. So, yes, I think local community leaders have a
responsibility to promote supporting local businesses and it can be extremely rewarding.

We are lucky here to have Calcott Hall Farm, a renowned farm shop that's even featured on BBC's The Apprentice. It is a family run business that seeks to provide a pleasant and friendly shopping experience, and they never disappoint with their own range of vegetables and fruit throughout the year. It now boasts the Barnyard
Café, built with the support of The European Union.

So, I use this platform to again say 'shop local' but also, 'shop seasonally'. There's nothing tastier than in-season fruit and vegetables and, did you know, local honey can provide immunity from hay fever too?

Shop locally, support your community, you'll feel better for it!

This article appeared in the Talking Point section of the Brentwood Gazette in November 2018.