The larder project is back on track. Next week, I am moving into my boyfriend’s flat which, although ‘cosy,’ actually offers more than where I am currently living in terms of building a store of food. It has a large and accessible loft which we are boarding out this weekend.
It’s actually really interesting to me that what was limiting me in this project was actually space to do it, as well as not getting buy-in from the person I was sharing the house with. I felt a bit like I was getting nowhere with it and that was my fault, but actually what was stopping me was that I would have had to create the space store my ‘larder’ and my housemate/landlord was not keen on that idea. It’s fair enough, it was his house and he didn’t want extra sheds appearing in front of it or all of his cupboards full of pot barley…
Now that I am moving, I have decided that now is the time to really look at what I eat and where I source it from, and to see what I can do in order to be able to build a store. I looked at the individual things that I eat in this post, so this time I want to look at the general food groups and what I can do to store these in bulk. I also want to take the opportunity to really make sure that everything that I eat is as ethical as possible. I feel that I have slipped in this in the last 18 months, for various reasons, but now is the time to get back on track.
You’ll notice that this is mostly about my diet, not Will’s. I am working from the basis if we can make tasty food from what we have in store, then Will will be happy with it. He usually is. I’m really glad that, apart from the wheat thing, we have compatible diets. I think it will make home life much easier!
Here are the main food groups that I buy:
BULK CARBS FRUIT AND VEG MEAT AND FISH DAIRY SNACKS AND EXTRAS
Current supplier: Bulk carbs are difficult to produce yourself, but easy to buy and store for a long time. I tend to get my bulk carbs from Infinity Foods and my giant sacks of flour by mail order from Wessex Mill.
How can I build a store of these things/make my supply more ethical?: Well, I already have a good store of flour which is a bit unfortunate actually as I am not eating wheat at the moment due to getting searing pains in the abdomen whenever I do. Luckily Will is, so I shall encourage him to take up bread-making… Apart from flour, the easiest way to build up a good store of bulk carbs is to do an Infinity Foods wholesale order regularly.
Fruit and Veg
Current supplier: I get a veg box from Hankham nurseries which is moving with me.
How can I build a store of these things/make my supply more ethical?: It’s stating the obvious to say that it’s impossible to store fresh fruit and veg for a long-ish period of time. The best way to get around this problem would be to have a well-designed garden that was productive year-round. Given that I’ll be living in a flat, that idea will have to remain in the dream stages for the foreseeable future. Despite that, there are several options that I could take to store preserved fruit and veg. These are:
These are all things that I plan to do. Some will need more planning than others, so I will write about the order in which I want to approach these things in the next post.
Meat and fish
Current supplier: Both Will and I buy most of our meat from the Brighton Sausage Co. This is because they’re open late which seems to be the point when we decide that we want to buy meat. Being a sausage shop, they sell mostly sausages, which has led to our diets being sausage-dominated… We do, on occasion, buy supermarket meat which is bad bad bad. And on the rare occasions that we eat fish, it’s usually from the supermarket. This needs to change.
How can I build a store of these things/make my supply more ethical?: There are a couple of options which would cover the ethical requirement. One of these is to buy more often from suppliers which I know are good around town. However, the option that I would like to go for (which is yet to be discussed, let’s see if Will reads these blog posts…) is getting a small freezer for the loft and buying super-ethical, look-into-the-eyes-of-the-animal-you’re-eating meat from Tablehurst farm in bulk and then freeze it. Either that or join a pig/sheep club and buy a quarter/half a sheep at a time. We could do the same with fish from Fish in Shoreham who sell the local fishermen’s catch.
Dairy (Milk, cheese and yoghurt)
Current supplier: All of these things generally come from Infinity or from the Brighton Sausage Company (who also have a wide range of cheese).
How can I build a store of these things/make my supply more ethical?: It would be worth investigating buying wheels of cheese – especially as I have a friend who makes cheese and it would be good to support him. Wheels could be bought of other local cheese too.
Milk is an interesting question. At the moment we buy organic milk from Infinity or from Morrissons (boo hiss). Obviously it’s best to not buy milk at a supermarket but they do sell their milk in larger cartons than Infinity do, meaning that there is less to recycle. It’s also likely that we’ll buy quite a bit of milk from Morrissons anyway as it is the closest shop and milk is one of the things that you run out of (unless you get a delivery which, given that we live in a flat in the middle of the ‘party (milk-stealy) district’ of town, is probably not a good idea). I’m going to start making yoghurt again too, I think.
Snack and extras
Current supplier: Muesli mountain (oatcakes and mango cheeks), Turkish shop (oatcakes, dolmades), Infinity (fruit leather and oatcakes), University shop (bad snacks – chocolate and sesame snaps and occasionally Fruit Pastilles). There’s a definite snack dearth in my life. Other extras that I use regularly include jam which I buy ‘wherever,’ and chutney which I make from veg box surplus.
How can I build a store of these things/make my supply more ethical?: In the short term, include oatcakes and mango cheeks in the Infinity order. In the long term make my own fruit crisps and leather in a solar or electric dehydrator.
Phewee, well, there are a few things to do then. The next post is going to be a plan of action of when I can do them.