Shopping local has been a hot-topic for a while. It can be easy to fall into the routine of going to your closest supermarket every week and although some of these stores do include some local offerings, buying from local stores can have huge benefits on the environment, the economy and your tastebuds. Another fantastic part of shopping is small, local businesses is the proprietors are often experts in their field. It’s a great way to find out more about using your ingredients and shopping seasonably.
Finding your local foodie heavens can be a little tricky so we’ve pulled together a few of our favourites.
We met Mike through Instagram and since then he’s our number one fruit and veg supplier for shoots, supper clubs, but also our day to day cooking! The produce is amazingly fresh – he gets it from New Covent Garden market each morning and is always fantastic quality. The price is also much cheaper than when we buy through a supermarket, and no plastic! Something we love about Mike is that he truly knows his produce and is a great source of advice for us – we have ordered things from him before where he’s been honest that it won’t be that great at this time of year. We ordered cherry tomatoes for our supper club and he quickly said that he could supply them but he felt that an alternative at this time of year would be better. He was right! If you are based in South East London too check him out.
Prykes are based not far from Gemma’s flat in Greenwich. It’s a tiny shop but staff are incredibly helpful, and again full of knowledge on what to buy at that time of year. They have really helped us understand what’s in season at each time in the year and always recommend something we haven’t come across which turns out great. They also feature recipes on their website and social media feeds which are full of inspiration.
This is an absolute gem of a market and is ideally located between our homes, perfect for Saturday morning Gills catch ups. What’s great about Brockley Market is the mix of small local food stalls and delicious food trucks. Open from 10 -2pm every Saturday this market supports local businesses and sustainable, seasonal food. If you’re planning a visit we’d suggest hitting the small fruit and veg store at the bottom left of the market where all the veg comes from local allotments. Next visit the fishmongers Veasey & Sons and definitely get their smoked mackerel, before you leave visit the Pasta Digrazia and get yourself some fresh pasta. We cannot get enough of the artichoke tortellini. Now you’ve worked up an appetite with all that shopping visit one of the fantastic food vans such as Mother Flipper.
Yes waking up to go to a fish market at 5am is pretty grim, but trust us if you’re a lover of all things food it’s a sight to behold. Billingsgate Fish Market, located in East London, is the UK’s largest inland fish market. An average of 25,000 tonnes of seafood products are sold through its merchants each year. There are nearly 100 stands selling fresh and frozen seafood on the ground floor. There is also a killer no nonsense cafe that serves scallop and bacon rolls; the inspiration for our scallop, chorizo and tomato rolls.
Don’t visit without a plan, you need to know what you plan on buying or it can be a overwhelming. If you’re looking for tips on how to shop for fresh fish check out our review of the seafood masterclass at Billingsgate seafood school.
And if you can’t always fit it in…
Ok we get it sometimes life gets busy and going out of your way to shop isn’t possible. However there are still some great sustainable options out there which can fit into your daily life.
Available in London, Bristol and Bath, Farmdrop is a great way to support local farmers and producers. It’s a great and simple website that makes ordering food easy. Fresh produce will be from farms within 100 miles of each hub, making it fresh, sustainable and seasonal. The tasty food when delivered comes in recyclable packaging and where possible zero packaging. They also pay local suppliers of fresh produce like meat, eggs, dairy, and fruit and veg 75% of the final retail price. Sustainable, local and always delicious.
Sainsbury’s was named the ‘best sustainable seafood supermarket’ in the world’ in 2017 which is music to our ears. The retailer has the most MSC labelled products of any national supermarket with over 200 sustainable seafood choices. So if you can’t get down to a fishmonger they are a fantastic alternative – convenient shopping that you don’t have to feel guilty about.