living in Cornwall in  June time

this is


June: Are you really being served?

In a conversation with a friend who lives 'up-country' the topic of supermarkets was discussed. She expressed how much she disliked Tesco; I asked, 'So, where do you shop, at Sainsbury's?' and the conversation continued, ' No, I prefer Waitrose! '. She would be in a quandary if she came down for her summer holidays as Waitrose has a dodo-esque mystique and there's only one Sainsburys in the county, and Tesco is, well Tesco, and everywhere!

Part of me knows where she's coming from; every time I step into that emporium of E. numbers, something inside me recoils and resists the fact that I'm in a controlled environment where nothing is stacked on the shelves until its been OK'd by a psychologist to ensure maximum exposure to guarantee a purchase and strategically positioned to play mind games for my money. Added to the fact that I'm in need of a rant about the six bottles of wine that fell through the flimsy bottomed wine box, leaving my kitchen floor resembling some city centres on a Saturday night.

I rang customer 'services' to be told that for replacements I had to personally take back the bottle necks with the corks still in place. After the enormous fun of picking through splinters of glass shards from the wine lake, I drove another twenty miles, presented my bottle necks with corks intact, to be instructed to go to the wine aisle and pick out the same wine, take the bottles back to customer 'services' where an 'advisor' would allow me to have the new bottles after checking I wasn't attempting an up-grade. No apology, no complementary packet of Pringles for MY inconvenience, just plenty of attitude and unsmiling suspicion.

What's this got to do with living in Cornwall?

Let's take that effete elitism up a level to a higher stratum of enlightenment where food is displayed in nature's super market - country-style. Uncomplicated food from fields, the sea and farms, not vacuum-sealed, perfectly-sized, salt-saturated, preservative-perforated packs. In the meadow next to our house, beautiful Jersey cows munch lazily on spring-green pastures, the credentials of the herd is traditional and sustainable going back through generations to produce primrose-yellow, organic milk that goes into fudge, ice cream and clotted cream... this isn't just any old clotted cream, this is Roskilly's indulgently silky-smooth, slowly oozing sensuously from each mouthful of freshly baked scone, kind of clotted cream... stop it, Gloria!

our veggie box woody meeting the cows local fishing boats as fresh as it gets

My veggie box, from 'Healthy Boxes', is delivered weekly, eight items, sometimes including fruit or eggs and mostly picked the day before for £5. The box contains staples of muddy, mis-shapen carrots and potatoes and unusual things like black kale and because there isn't a choice its quite a challenge to cook whatever is delivered rather than have a recipe and then buy the ingredients - when in doubt, make soup. While Phil, from Newlyn Fish Company, calls weekly, with the freshest of the catch and crab to die for, straight from the market where it was landed.

It's quite a coincidence that I'm writing this on the day that the E.U fisheries ministers have announced that they are scrapping the current rules on fishing quotas. Environmentalists and fishermen have long argued that the existing system has failed; with a third of the fleet lay-up and lost for ever over the last decade..... could it be that those who actually catch the fish might know something more than a desk-bound jobs-worth from Austria? Not that I've got anything against Austria, it's a lovely place, but doesn't have much by way of fishing expertise.

Oddly enough, I haven't spent the day foraging in hedgerows for edible weeds to garnish the mackerel I didn't catch. I'm not pretending that we can buy all our food locally from sustainable sources and in village shops. Supermarkets have a role, but fish should be bought from fish shops and meat from butchers supplied by our farmers and fishermen; at last, veggie boxes are being delivered across the country and farmers' markets are springing up in the middle of the suburbs...hooray!!

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