We all want our Christmas dinner to be the best possible quality to ensure the most important meal of the year has the wow factor. So, this year, why not look locally for your festive food?
Anthony Davison who runs local food and drink website www.bigbarn.co.uk knows that buying food that’s gone from plot to plate in the shortest amount of time will be tastier and fresher. Here he offers his top tips on how to source a local Christmas dinner and save money in the process.
1. Shop Around
People always think that the supermarket is the only place to do the Christmas shop, when in fact you can pre-order your veggies, meat and other festive treats well in advance from most good butchers, grocers and farm shops and just pick them up on Christmas Eve, thereby avoiding the arguments over that last bag of sprouts in the supermarket.
2. Doorstep Delivery
Many farm shops now offer doorstep deliveries at Christmas time so be sure to ask. Or, if you live in the Bath and Bristol area, why not sign up to our local food hub where you can choose to shop with a whole variety of local producers and farmers and have your shopping delivered to your door in one box! Visit www.bigbarn.co.ukto find out how it works and to sign up to the service.
3. Save Money
The supermarkets like us to believe that they are always the best value option, but that’s normally not the case. Because independent stores deal directly with farmers, buying your onions, carrots, spuds and sprouts from your nearby farm shop could save you pounds, allowing you to splash out on that extra bottle of English Sparkling Wine
4. Enjoy Higher Welfare
The turkey is the centrepiece of our Christmas meal, so ensure yours is the tastiest you can afford. Head to a local farmer for the best possible bird. Our turkey map www.bigbarn.co.uk/turkey allows you to tap in your postcode to find a list of suppliers in your area, many of whom offer online orders for their organic, free range, or higher welfare birds
5. Tell a Story
Wouldn’t it be lovely on Christmas day to be able to tell your guests that the turkey they’re eating is free-range from a farmer just four miles away, while the sprouts were picked yesterday from a field just the other side of the village? Local food always has a story to tell, and your local shop-keeper will be only too happy to tell it. Now you wouldn’t get that information from the supermarket!
6. Crop for the Shop
BigBarn’s Crop for the Shop scheme is now rolled out to over 500 farm shops and independent shops across the country, meaning that you could be enjoying delicious fruit and veggies from an allotment near you. Use Christmas as the opportunity to try out a new variety and support your local shops, or even become a supplier.
7. Buy Fresh
If you really want to ensure your fresh produce is in the best possible condition for your festive feast, then local is the only true choice. Most farm shops and grocers source the majority of their produce from local farms and producers so you can be sure it’s travelled from plot to plate in the shortest possible time.
8. Knowledge Is Key
One of the best reasons to shop locally is to gain knowledge and information. Independent retailers will be able to tell you exactly where the food you’re buying comes from and give you advice on cooking techniques and recipes, something you’ll never get from the supermarket.
9. Love Food, Hate Waste
Christmas is normally a time of plenty, but be sure to think of those leftovers and make the most of every bite. Visit Love food hate waste to find some great ideas on how to use up your turkey, veggies, potatoes and more!
10. Feel Good Factor
Finally, one of the nicest things about shopping locally is the knowledge that you’ve helped your local community by keeping money within the region you live, but you’ve also helped to reduce food miles and, you’ve likely saved a bit of cash in the process. We can all drink to that!
Anthony Davison launched www.bigbarn.co.uk over 13 years ago to offer an alternative to supermarket shopping and give small retailers and producers a platform to promote their products. It is now the UK’s largest local food and drink website and a registered CIC.