Category Archives: Deals on local produce

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

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.

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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.

Fish Market Oxford off Botley Road

Oxford fish marketI recently discovered the Fish Market Oxford tucked away on Osney Mead, just off the Botley Road (Station end). It’s the wholesalers that supplies the Covered Market. The fish is extremely fresh and beautifully kept. Plus they have some fantastic deals that you won’t get in the Supermarkets.

I bought 1 kg of Cobbler (white fish) which I’ll keep in the freezer to make curry with. It cost just £3.99. I also picked up some Fish Pie Mix at just £6.95 a kilo which contains plenty of salmon and white fish perfect for a delicious family meal or two.

Oxford fish market fresh fishAll produce sold at the Fish Market is sourced from fishermen on Devon and Cornish ports. The fisherman use sustainable methods that can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the target species’ ability to maintain its population, and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.

There’s free parking and it’s walking distance from Oxford Train Station. They also offer a delivery service, and are open 7 days a week!

Here’s the details –

Fishmarket, 7 Ferry Mills, Osney Mead (off the Botley Road), Oxford, OX2 0EST: 01865 242827 info@fishmarketoxford.com

 

Alder’s Butcher’s on Cowley Road

Alder's butchers shop frontI’m in love with Alder’s on the Cowley Road. The friendly personal service from the ‘Governor’ Andy never fails to impress. They’ve got one of those traditionally cheery model butcher outside advertising their trade. Alder’s has a range of fresh meats including game and some organic, along with local eggs and preserves.

Melissa and I popped in there this morning to get some chicken for my chicken and leek pie tonight. We bought 500g of Chicken thighs for just £2.50. I’ll be roasting them before making stock from the bones to make sure the pie is really nutritious and flavourful.

Alder's butchers on cowley roadOn my visit I noticed that they stock Farm Eggs at just £5 for 30 – this is the cheapest that I’ve found. If you don’t get through that many eggs at a time or can’t find a way to carry them home you can always just buy 6 large farm eggs for just £1.25. They really are beautiful with deep orange yolks.

Alder's butcher's 30 eggs for £5I’m planning squash soup so I also bought a huge bag of bones for stock which cost me just  £1 – the money for these goes towards a charity donation.

This butchers is pure quality. If you haven’t already, do make sure you check them out.

W Alder Butchers

224 Cowley Road, OX4 1UH
Tel. 01865 248524
Delivery service available.

Sesi Food & Household

Sesi wholefoods dried beans, rice, oats and pulsesLast week I discovered a little gem of a shop held in the Methodist Church on Jeune Street, just off the Cowley Road, OX4. It was really quite a wonderful surprise to stumble across this incredibly environmentally considerate outfit.

Sesi (School Ethical Supplies Initiative) Food and Household are what they call a ‘refill station’ of local organic fair-trade food and eco-friendly household cleaning products. The idea is that you bring your own reusable containers, and fill up with the exact quantity of food or product that you require.

This means that if you want just 100g of cashews or quinoa for example you can have just that. Or if a recipe calls for 80g of dried borlotti beans you can buy just what you need, and no need to purchase more.

By reducing packaging and therefore minimising plastic waste, it means that Sesi can offer great organic and fair-trade products at very reasonable prices. Furthermore, by buying the exact quantity you need, often at the same price as it would cost to buy in bulk, there’s no unnecessary waste which is better for the planet as well as your pocket. It’s a fantastic scheme that I wish more shops would offer.

One of the most serious threats to our oceans is plastics pollution. Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on theSesi wholefoods and home cleaning products ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Unlike other types of rubbish, plastic is not biodegradable. Instead, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, which never really disappear. These plastic pieces are then eaten by marine life, washed up on beaches, or broken down into microscopic plastic dust, attracting more debris.

Here’s some plastic facts that might shock you….

  • 50 percent of plastic is used just once before being throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
  • More than one million plastic bags are used every minute.
  • The majority of plastic bags are not recycled and instead sit in landfills.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in California, is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals including turtles are killed every year from plastic in our oceans.
  • More than 1.6 billion gallons of oil are used each year to make plastic bags.

If we could just say no to plastic bags we would be slowing down the waste in landfill sites, save billions of animals from dying and stop the depletion of the Worlds oil reserves.

I think the Sesi team are doing a fantastic job at getting the ball rolling on this mammoth task. It’s important to remember that we can all do our bit to help save the environment as well as our pennies. I’m certainly going to make a concerted effort to carry my re-usable bags with me at all times.

SESI, School Ethical Supplies Initiative info

Nuts and seeds sesiSesi sells ethical dried goods, Ecover/BioD refills, organic lentils in bulk, fairtrade chocolate, tins, gluten-free pasta, local and gluten free whole foods refills etc. You can order via the order forms on the website (www.sesi.org.uk) and pick up or just pop into this handy new shop and see what they have in store.

Opening hours: Depot at Jeune Street Methodist Church open Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm. Home deliveries Mon 7-9pm, also to be found at East Ox Farmers Market on 1st & 3rd Saturdays and Wolvercote Farmers Market 2nd Sunday of the month, and at the Gloucester Green Farmers Market on Wednesdays too.

Oxford Dexter Beef – Pegtop Farm Woodeaton

I believe that we are born carnivores and so should consume some meat as part of a healthy diet. However, I do not agree with the quantity of meat we consume in the UK.

If you look at the past Century, meat consumption overall has risen dramatically, and with this, standards for animal welfare have fallen in order to meet demands. Growth promoting hormones and steroids are given to livestock to help speed up the production of  beef, and cattle are given unnaturally rich diets to fatten them up.

Meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That’s because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport.

The answer to this, from a health, animal welfare and budget perspective is to focus on quality not quantity. In other words to eat small portions less frequently but source local organic free range produce where possible.

Pegtop farm mince beefI discovered Pegtop Farm during my research for this blog. It’s in Woodeaton a little village in East Oxford just outside the ring road.

The beef produced here comes from cattle that are mature (24 months) and have grown slowly with an emphasis on animal welfare and a care for the environment.  It’s also processed and packaged locally for supply direct to the consumer from the farm.

The unique nature of the Dexter Breed means that the meat produced has exceptional flavour and succulence. It’s so delicious that many of the local restaurants have discovered this little secret.

I dropped in one day in December to investigate and was warmly welcomed and shown around. I was surprised to find that whilst you can buy premium cuts of beef, the stewing steak, steak and kidney mix and mince are as competitively priced as Tesco’s which has come all the way from Ireland. There really seems no comparison.

Frugal beef and bean chilliI bought a pound of mince and have been using it for this weeks meat quota.

On Monday I made a huge chilli (recipe to follow), with plenty of beans and vegetables to bulk it out. So far it has provided enough for two family meals, and my husband took it to work one lunch.

If you’d like to find out more about Pegtop Farm and Dexter beef have a read of their website here.