Over the last few years, we have seen our lives disrupted from lockdowns and staying indoors, petrol shortages and delivery delays. Recent headlines in the papers indicate we could be in for more months of food product shortages due to delays in transportation issues meaning less variety on our supermarket shelves.
Food shortages also happened during the height of the pandemic when the world ground to a halt and toilet paper was being rationed. The restrictions limiting us to one trip out a day and minimal delivery slots for online supermarket shopping pushed us to seek out new independent and local companies to source our weekly food shops from.
Reflecting on these shared experiences, there is no better time than now to continue to support local when buying our weekly shop. Continue reading to discover the benefits of eating local, food item shortages, local ingredients – and FOUR easy recipes you can make at home.
Benefits of eating local
- Foods grown locally are picked when ripe and so are more likely to contain more nutrients than foods that have travelled for several weeks on a lorry as nutrients depreciate over time. Eating local also encourages you to eat more seasonally which ensures the produce is as fresh as possible.
- It benefits the local economy, supporting local farmers and producers – why buy an apple shipped over from Turkey, China or the US when you can buy one right on your doorstep from a local orchard or even just your neighbour’s garden? Why buy supermarket honey, usually a mix of honeys from different countries when you can buy local honey in your area that will benefit your health?
- Shopping local is better for the environment. It reduces fuel emissions, it reduces packaging costs and reduces our carbon footprint.
- You can trace the product back to source making it easier for you to know about the farming processes used and whether it’s a product you want to eat. For example, if pesticides have been used on crops or the conditions an animal has been kept in before slaughter.
Food item shortages
Although the supermarkets are only likely to slim down their ranges of products rather than totally miss out on certain food items, there is a likelihood that meat availability will be affected due to the shortage of workers, packers, and drivers in the industry.
Boris Johnson has appointed ex-Tesco boss Sir David Lewis as the government’s supply chain adviser to address the issues but for those that don’t already, now is the time to support your local farmers.
Over the years, I’ve seen a huge increase in local producers in my area and around the UK and I want to support their businesses as much as possible.
I live in the Southwest, between Bath and Bristol, where the business of independent producers is booming. We have dairy and vegan cheese producers, fermented foods, bakers, coffee roasters, chutneys, curry sauces, wines and beers, cakes, fresh produce, and quinoa. The list is endless.
The season of Autumn brings produce such as: pumpkins, apples, beetroot, blackberries, Brussel sprouts, celeriac, celery, chestnuts, cranberries, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, lettuce, runner bean, swede, sweet potato, Swiss chard, and locally reared meat.
I have chosen three recipes to try which incorporate seasonal produce, which is available locally combined with local artisan food products to inspire you to break free from relying on supermarket stock and use the food that’s on your doorstep. The recipes are simple to incorporate into busy family life using the everything on ‘one pan’ idea or slowing cooking overnight.
One Pan Lemon Spiced Chicken and Potatoes (4 servings)
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (205ºC) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut half the lemon into slices and set aside.
2. Add the chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, and sea salt to the baking sheet. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon over top and toss until well coated. Layer the lemon slices over top and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
3. Slice the chicken and garnish with yogurt and parsley. Enjoy!
Lemon (divided), 450 grams Chicken Breast, 750 grams Mini Potatoes (quartered), 300 grams Cherry Tomatoes (halved), 15 milliliters Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 0.5 tsp Turmeric, 3 tsp Ground Allspice, 0.5 tsp Sea Salt, 100 grams Plain Greek Yogurt, 30 grams Parsley (chopped)
Pumpkin Loaf (12 servings/slices)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Lightly grease a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, combine your eggs, nut butter, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy. (Note: You can also mix by hand if you prefer.)
3. Add the coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, ginger and sea salt. Blend again until smooth.
4. Transfer the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. (You can test if it is done by inserting a toothpick. It will come out clean when the loaf is finished.)
5. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool entirely before slicing. Enjoy!
3 Eggs, 190 grams Almond or Peanut Butter, 100 grams Maple Syrup, 120 grams Pureed Pumpkin, 40 milliliters Coconut Oil, ½ Lemon (juiced), 30 grams Coconut Flour, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 0.5 tsp Nutmeg, 0.5 tsp Baking Powder, 0.5 tsp Ginger (grated), 0.5 tsp
Sea Salt Roasted Pumpkin Salad Bowl (2 servings)
1. Preheat oven to 420ºF (216ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the pumpkin in half the olive oil and spread across the sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
2. Combine the quinoa and water in a sauce pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add kale and saute until wilted (about 3 to 5 minutes). Turn off the heat.
4. Add the quinoa, roasted pumpkin and balsamic vinegar to the skillet then toss until well mixed. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
5. Divide into bowls and top with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Enjoy!
280 grams Pumpkin (diced into cubes), 15 milliliters Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided), 60 grams Quinoa (uncooked), 150 milliliters Water, 80 grams Kale Leaves (finely chopped), 7 milliliters Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste), 30 grams Pumpkin Seeds, 30 grams Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
Brussel Sprout Slaw with Chicken (2 servings)
1. Add the cubed chicken to a small bowl with the oregano, garlic powder and half the salt. Toss to combine.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add 1/3 of the oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and set aside.
3. Add the brussels sprouts and cabbage to a bowl. Add the lemon juice, coconut aminos, remaining oil and remaining salt. Mix well with your hands to combine.
4. Divide the slaw evenly between plates. Top with chicken and enjoy!
220 grams Chicken Breast (cut into cubes), 2 tbsp Oregano (dried) 1 tbsp Garlic Powder, 0.5 tsp Sea Salt (divided), 20 milliliters, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided), 260 grams Brussels Sprouts (shredded), 180 grams Purple Cabbage (sliced thin), 20 milliliters Lemon Juice, 5 milliliters Coconut Aminos.