Category Archives: Deals on local produce

Here’s where I’ll post any extraordinarily good deals on local organic produce.

Cow mead allotment on Abingdon Road #zerowaste

Cow Mead allotment donation sale oxfordOn an outing to central Oxford the other day, I came across Cow Mead Allotment on Abingdon road. They had an open house and were selling their produce for donation only. There was plenty to choose from – Fresh damsons, swiss chard and giant marrows which would just go to waste if not eaten and shared.

What a fantastic way to support ZeroWaste week I thought! So I snapped a few pictures and bought some beautiful swiss chard which we fried up with some garlic to have with our fresh farm eggs. Delicious!!

Allotments in Oxford

Garlic tossed swiss chardOxford has 36 allotment sites across the city. Oxford council manage each one in partnership with a different allotment association and the Oxford and District Federation of Allotment Associations (ODFAA).

To find your nearest plot, please see the map here. People are often selling their fresh produce or asking for a helping hand to harvest in return for some delicious fresh vegetables and fruit.

After all, it would be a shame to see anything go to waste.

Remember to always keep a spare carrier bag on your person – we want to save on plastic too!


British cherries! Get them before they’re gone

Melissa eating cherries 1 Unless you’ve been driving or walking around with your eyes closed, you’ve probably seen the amount of road stalls selling glorious British Cherries. Grab them whilst they are still around, because once the Season’s over they just won’t be the same until next year.

Melissa eating cherries 4

Better still, why not try cherry orchard picking? It’s such fun and particularly popular with children – so many of whom don’t know where their food comes from. PYO is a great way of letting them know how things grow.

Melissa eating cherries 3Melissa and I had fantastic fun at Q Gardens, the proud home of the Harwell cherry.

Q gardens also has a wonderful farm shop, which stocks deli and butchers selling cheeses, pies, sausage rolls and home made ice cream made from their own fruit! It’s open 9am-6pm daily and the tea room serving hot food until 2.30pm and tea and cake until 4pm.

Their Maize Maze has just opened – so make a day of it!

What’s for picking?
Their website offers information and advice about the pick-your-own.

Q Gardens, Milton Hill
Steventon, Abingdon
Oxfordshire, OX13 6AB
01235 820988

What’s up for pickings in July?

July is one of the most abundant months for PYO and foraging.


raspberriesAs the strawberry season ends so the raspberry season begins! Vividly pink, juicy, fresh raspberries are a real late summer treat. Long Summer days in the UK help produce the most delicious berries. Get yourself down to one of my recommended PYO spots to sample some of the best raspberries in the country. Top tip – as with strawberries – sometimes you can buy ‘jam’ raspberries which are cheaper as they don’t look so pretty. Yet they make gorgeous purées served with yoghurt and are delicious in smoothies.

Beetroot and feta burgerBeetroot

Beetroot is an underrated vegetable that you usually find pickled in supermarkets. Yet this earthy sweet and vibrant purple root is delicious grated in the coleslaw, made into a feta and beetroot burger (recipe here) and even in Chocolate beetroot fairy cakes (recipe here) using the flesh to colour the icing a luscious pink.

Oxfordshire Icecream from Q GardensCherries

You all must have seen cherries being sold at the side of the road. Don’t miss out, you can get some real bargains, and they are juicy and sweet at this time of the year. Why not head down to Q Gardens in Steventon, nr Abingdon and pick your own. The also do home made cherry ice cream for a real treat!

From the hedgerow

Nettle pestoLook out for early blackberries. They start to juice up around now and make beautiful jam or blackberry and apple pie – yummy!

Elder-flowers are also in season and you can make a fragrant and refreshing cordial for next to nothing by steeping the flowers in sugar syrup for 24 hours (recipe to follow).

Melissa picking dandelionsDon’t forget to pick wild nettles and dandelion leaves to make your own iron rich pesto, sauté them in garlic and olive oil, or use them as a replacement for spinach in saag aloo – delicious!

Have you  been enjoying the pickings of July? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. Please drop me a line or leave me a comment.


The BEST PYO in Oxford

Pick your own (PYO) is a wonderful way to get really fresh local produce on the cheap. It’s also a fun afternoon out for the family. Here’s my top places to PYO in Oxford –

1) Peach Croft Farm

Peach Croft Farm OxfordPeach Croft Farm rear award-winning geese and turkeys, so are especially busy at Christmas time. Their Farm Shop stocks soft fruits, vegetables, cream, free-range eggs, free-range poultry, cakes, pies, preserves, fruit juices, and honey.

If you’re looking for something fun to do during a Summer weekend with the family you could try a tractor trailer ride to the pick-your-own fields. The also have a lovely little cafe that serve light lunch using their produce. Delicious!

What’s for picking?
Asparagus – mid-April until mid-June.
Strawberries and other berries are available from the end of May.
Peas and broad beans, available from the end of June.
Runner beans are available from August.
Pumpkins are available from late September to October, in time for Halloween.
Potatoes all year round.

Peach Croft Farm PYOWhere?
12 Acre Drive, Radley, Abingdon, OX14 2HP
01235 520094 / 01235 535978
Opening hours: Farm and Farm Shop open Mon-Sat 9.00am-5.30pm.
Also open Sun 10am-4pm in season (mid-May to August). Wheelchair friendly.

2) Medley Manor Farm

A beautiful small, family-run farm within the Oxford ring road, Medley Manor Farm provides pick-your-own as well as home made ice cream and honey made on the farm. A lovely walk from Jericho or Wolvercote (or a much shorter one from Botley) across Port Meadow. There’s also a cafe open every day serving light lunches (with soft drinks or wine or beer) and afternoon teas.

What’s for picking?
Asparagus: late April – mid June.
Strawberries: mid June – early July.
Sweetcorn: August – late September.

Binsey Lane Oxford OX2 0NJ Website Tel: 01865 241251
Opening Hours: Check out their website or call to find out if they’re open when you want to visit. Wheelchair friendly.

3) Q Gardens
Q Gardens signWorth a visit to see the proud home of the Harwell cherry, Q Gardens has a wonderful farm shop, which stocks deli and butchers selling cheeses, pies, sausage rolls and home made ice cream made from their own fruit! It’s open 9am-6pm daily and the tea room serving hot food until 2.30pm and tea and cake until 4pm.

What’s for picking?
Their website offers information and advice about the pick-your-own. The asparagus season begins in April – Mid June to be bought in the shop only. The other soft fruits (cherries, raspberries, currants, plums, damsons are ready towards the middle of June for PYO.

Q Gardens, Milton Hill
Steventon, Abingdon
Oxfordshire, OX13 6AB
01235 820988

4) Rectory Farm
Strawberry picking at Rectory FarmRectory Farm has grown in stature over the past 2 years. It’s Country Cafe and terrace area has been extended and the shop is well established. Always a fun afternoon out for the family. A wide variety of PYO followed by tea, a delicious selection of home made cakes and a bounce on their bouncy castle (sorry children only).

What’s for picking?
Asparagus season begins end of April and has just finished for the year.
The main pick-your-own and the farm shop are open from the 15th May to the end of August every day, 9.30am to 6pm; the Country Café is open 10am – 5.30pm. PYO crops include strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, whitecurrants, blackberries, asparagus, broad beans, carrots, beetroot. Lots of potato varieties.

Pound Lane, Stanton St  John, Oxford, OX331HF
01865 351677
Wheelchair friendly.

5) Millets Farm
Millets Farm PumpkinsA huge, rurally situated farm centre with large farm shop, garden centre, craft and art gallery, cafe/restaurant, summer maize maze, falconry site, farm zoo and playground. Large selection of fruit and vegetables plus dairy products, fish, patisserie, wine and meat.

What’s for picking?
Open for PYO from June to September 9-5.30pm. A massive choice of over 30 different fruits and vegetables can be picked throughout the warmer months and many new varieties of certain crops.

Kingston Road
Frilford, Nr Abingdon
Oxfordshire, OX13 5HB

The Farm Shop: 01865 392200
The Restaurant: 01865 391169
The Garden Centre: 01865 391923
Pick Your Own: June to September – 01865 391555
Maize Maze: July to September – 07826 132416

Do you know of any other PYO’s in Oxfordshire? Please drop me a line in the comments below or and email at


Congratulations to Oxford Food Surplus Cafe!

Cultivate Oxford Surplus Cafe Cowley RoadDid anyone make it down to the pilot of the Oxford Food Surplus Cafe at East Oxford Community Centre last Saturday? We certainly did, and what a success!!!

The Oxford Food Surplus Café was an event were wonderful volunteers, some from the Cultivate Oxford team are reclaiming surplus food and transforming it into delicious healthy meals for everyone to eat.

Using the pay as you feel system, customers are able to contribute/donate either what they can afford or what they think the food, space and idea is worth. The hope is to create a place that encourages the community to engagement and reconnect people with the food they eat.

Oxford Surplus Cafe Cowley RoadThe wonderful menu that was invented on-the-spot to incorporate all the donated ingredients, included a delicious vegetable tagine with brown rice, scrumptious black beans and a freshly foraged nettle and potato. I hear there were also some yummy puddings too. Here you can see my daughter Melissa tucking into the healthy delights.

I believe the event was a total success – feeding around 500 people. Here’s hoping it’s the start of many! WELL DONE EVERYONE!


Q Gardens Steventon Oxfordshire

Q Gardens signMy daughter Melissa’s at home with me on Tuesday’s, we like to get out and about and do some market research for the blog.

I stumbled across Q Gardens in Steventon just south of Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I took a fancy to the name as I’m a huge fan of Kew Garden’s in London where I used to work in a little health food store for a few years.

Q Gardens Farm Shop specialises in seasonal produce that has been grown, reared or made as locally as possible –  including fruit from their own orchards (notably yummy cherries) and meat from their own farm just a couple of miles away from the shop.

Oxfordshire Icecream from Q GardensThey also stock bread, dairy products, a wide range of local beers and wines. They have a huge display of locally milled flour, cakes and biscuits, honey and preserves.  But the crowning glory was the refrigerator full of home made ice cream – I couldn’t resist a sample of the raspberry sorbet. The fruit in the ice cream is grown on the farm too!

I splashed out on a joint of Top Side Beef for Easter Weekend. It was only £7.99 a kg, and is large enough to supply at least two meals for our family. The equivalent joint is £13 a kg in Tesco’s. An absolute bargain.

We’ll be back in the Summer to sample the strawberries and famous cherries! Can’t wait!

Here are the shop details –

Q Garden local flour selectionHow to find Q Gardens
Milton Hill, Steventon, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6AB
01235 820988 

On the A4130 just a few hundred metres from the Milton Interchange of the A34. At the roundabout take the Wantage exit, go through both sets of traffic lights and we are the cream building on your right hand side.


Who said #Oxford’s Covered Market’s expensive?

Oxford covered market 15 farm eggsI had  a lovely email from a reader a few weeks ago that told me where to get some fantastic Farm Eggs in Oxford’s very own covered market. I was surprised I have to say, as I hadn’t ventured there believing that I would not find any deals. I was wrong.

Yesterday I ventured to John Lindsay’s butchers at the back of the Covered Market and found 15 Fresh Farm eggs for only £2.10! That’s 14p an egg. Amazing. I couldn’t resist. I also spoke to Stuart the butcher who said the eggs came from Crowmarsh Farm in Wallingford. The butchers also supply local meat at very reasonable prices. Needless to say, I’ll be visiting more often!

Millet Farm Squash offer

Millets Farm PumpkinsA trip to Millet’s Farm Centre in Frilford, Oxfordshire, is a fantastic day out with the kids. We had some friends staying this weekend and drove down there on Saturday to see the farm animals and falconry centre, play in the playground and have a walk in the woods. You can take a picnic or they’ve got a canteen serving basic home cooked food.

There’s always some deals going in the huge Farm Shop where they sell local organic produce. I spied these beautiful pumpkins and stocked up on a few for the months ahead. Pumpkins keep really well in a cold dry store like the garage. They can be roasted with cumin, blitzed into a hearty soup or even make into some frugal pumpkin brownies. The small stripy kind are harlequin squash and taste particularly sweet with a honey like quality.

This is the reason I love #Oxford!

Honesty box eggsWhen you’re driving along a country road. The sun is beaming and it’s a crisp and cold almost Spring day. At the corner of the road is a sign with Free Range Farm eggs for sale. You pull up and there they are, probably laid that morning, half a dozen beautiful eggs, still with the fluff on ready and waiting to be bought for only £1.

Not only than but there’s no one in site to take the money. Just an honesty box at the side. I love the community spirit and trust of the people in Oxford. It makes me proud and happy to live here.

These eggs were found on route from Islip to Headington. I’m sure there’ll be more around it you keep your eyes peeled!

Monday Shop and Kale Aloo Recipe

Sarah at Monday ShopI was at the Monday Shop, on Monday funnily, where you can pick up surplus organic vegetables that have been on market stalls or veg vans around Oxford over the weekend. The shop runs by donation only, to help reduce food waste in Oxford. It’s a clever way of getting slightly tired looking vegetables to people that want buy organic and create healthy meals on a budget.

I couldn’t wait to get down and see what was on offer. The shop runs every Monday from upstairs at the Cowley Road Community Centre from 4-8pm. Cornflower Bakery in Wheatley and Sesi also showcase their products.

Kale from monday shopI arrived at around 6.15pm to many friendly faces. Thank you to everyone that welcomed me.

I was surprised to see that the vegetables were anything but tired looking. North Aston Organics had contributed some beautiful fresh herbs and there was an abundance of leafy green kale from the Cultivate Veg Van, as well as carrots, potatoes, parsnips and beetroot.

I picked up a bunch of fresh coriander and some of the kale and pondered over what I could do for dinner. I had some leftover chicken curry in the freezer from the other week and an idea popped into my head for Saag aloo – but using kale instead of spinach. So there it became Kale Aloo with fresh coriander.

Here’s the recipe;
Kale aloo1 bunch of kale
4 large potatoes
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp creamed coconut
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 small chilli
Salt and pepper

Scrub and chop the potatoes into small pieces and then boil until soft. Fry the potatoes in a little olive oil with 2 cloves of crushed garlic and a small onion for 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, garam masala, chopped chilli and turmeric and fry for another 2 minutes until you smell the aroma of the spices. In the meantime, remove the very tough bits from the kale and slice finely before adding to the potatoes. Finally, add 1 cup of water, the tomato purée and creamed coconut. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until everything has infused together. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve alone with rice or as an accompaniment to other curries. Simple yet delicious!

How much does it cost?

It’s difficult to say how much this dish costs to make. But I would say you can buy all the vegetables for about £1 and the spices, tomato purée and creamed coconut come to about 50p. So £1.50 for 4 people.