The Challenge begins at last!

Saturday 1st September 2012

We have reached day 1 of the 30 Mile Local Food Challenge. We’re all very excited about eating local food for the next month and supporting our local producers here in Suffolk!

Building the clay oven, part 1.

We have had a fantastic launch day today at the People’s Community Garden, building a clay oven (see left), swapping seeds and tools, and visiting the community bee hives. Thanks to those of you who came down to join in!

It’s been a busy few weeks preparing for the challenge; we’ve been distributing our mini-directory at the Ipswich Food Festival, and to all the retailers supporting the challenge – not to mention getting in supplies of local food ready for today! It’s great that the time is finally upon us to grow, shop and eat local. If you haven’t picked up a directory yet, pick one up at our next event, or check out the pages on this website to see our producer and retailer maps.

Our project coordinator Lucy is featured in today’s East Anglian Daily Times, and appeared on ICR and BBC Radio Suffolk this week; it’s great to see so much interest in the challenge! We are continuing to learn and discover new retailers and producers and would love to hear about new ones you’ve come across. This week we discovered the Suffolk Garlic Farm, ready to supply us with local garlic to brighten up all our local veg. We’ll be adding their details to the website in the next few days.

We’ll soon be blogging about our experiences undertaking the challenge on the blogs pages, sharing our ideas and recipes. Lucy has kicked it all off with her first post – read all about her challenge preparations (and saying goodbye to the beloved bananas) here.  What can’t you live without? We’d like to hear about what you’re keeping and giving up this month, so please do leave us comments on the site.

There’ll soon be more on the recipes page too; Kirsty has already tried some delicious bean burgers with Suffolk fava beans which she’s keen to share. Please do email us your successful recipes so we can publish them for others too.

There are plenty more events planned over the coming weeks, including a “Transition 2” film showing on Monday in Woodbridge, and our first Cook Local course on Wednesday – this time we’re making local pasta which should be great fun. We still have a few more spaces so sign up if you’re keen; details are here. Our full events listing is on the events page so have a look and see what you fancy.

We hope to see you at events in the coming weeks and wish you luck with your 30 Mile Challenge, be it for the month, the week, or just a few meals – every little change to your shopping habits supports our local producers and economy.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy it!

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3 Responses to The Challenge begins at last!

  1. Kirsty says:

    Wow Steve! What a great start! I hope the Abbot Ale is easing the pain of the lack of tea and coffee in your life!
    The local jam sounds like a good compromise despite unknown sugar provenance. I made some last year with crab apples from Bramford Road and Silver Spoon sugar from Bury. Can we get more local than Bury for sugar? Manufacture is within 30 miles even if not all the sugar is. It seems a good compromise for those with a sweet tooth. What do others think about this?
    Your comment about yeast is interesting. Lucy discovered a yeast factory in Felixstowe run by Lallemand, which supplies a huge proportion of the UK baker’s yeast. I emailed them a few days ago to ask which companies they supply but have yet to get a response. The yeast in my yeast extract comes from Germany according to Meridian, hence it’s wildcard status on my menu! We have used Allinson’s baker’s yeast, not local, but we need to draw the line somewhere, and I for one need my daily bread!
    I picked up some garlic at the People’s Community Garden yesterday, and there is some drying in the Oak Tree shed, soon to be hitting the veg boxes I hope. Suffolk Garlic Farm are still to get back to me about where I can buy it, but I will certainly get some for you when I go for mine.
    We have a freezer bag full of last year’s chillis, grown by Dave and the Oak Tree, you’re welcome to pick some up from us if you can’t get the Mendlesham for a while.
    Thanks for all your comments! Can I tempt you into writing a blog on this website? The more the merrier and we’d love you to share your experiences more visibly – the comments sometimes get overlooked. Let me know if you’re willing and I’ll set you up a page 🙂

    • steve says:

      Hi Kirsty
      I’d be happy to write a blog. I think I’m a good example of someone who’s not prepared and can’t cook anything complicated, so if I can do this, anyone can!
      Cheers
      Steve

  2. Steve says:

    Jam on toast for breakfast on day 1 – missing muesli & porridge already! The jam is home made (from Stowmarket) and the bread is from Victoria’s Bakery in Woodbridge Road. Victoria’s (and Martin’s bakery, further along Woodbridge Road) use Marriages flour which is milled in Chelmsford, so more than 30 miles from Ipswich. And the flour probably come from further afield. The sugar in the jam probably came from more than 30 miles away too.

    Bought lots of local veg from Chris’s on Woodbridge Road – cabbage, spuds, carrots, butternut, lettuce, tomatoes, rocket and strawberries. Chris is ready for the Chalenge – he’s planning to stock up on veg direct from Home Farm Nacton. I expect I’ll be seeing Chris again in a few days!

    I was hoping to be able to buy some apples from Dave at Ipswich food co-op, but like many growers in Suffolk his trees were hit by late frosts and produced very few fruit this year. His habenero chillis aren’t ripe yet either – aargh! In a moment of panic I bought some Fairfields crisps (I rarely eat crisps). I also bought some Hill Farm rapeseed oil & got my usual dozen eggs from Dave. I then went to Memorable Cheeses where I bought some Shipcord and Hawkston from Rodwell Farm in Baylham. Nice, but pricey. I also bought some Maple Farm flour there, which comes from Kelsale near Saxmundam. I’m going to try to make some bread – things are getting really desperate! Unfortunately I forgot to buy yeast – and in any case, I doubt that I can find yeast that’s produced within 30 miles of Ipswich. I also got some Suffolk kippers from the market – I hope they were from Aldeburgh rather than Lowestoft!

    I bought some field beans from Ipswich food co-op some time ago. They came from a farm near Framsden, and I’ve just made some tempeh with them. Looking forward to seeing how that turns out in a couple of days.

    For a bit of variety, I had Suffolk honey on my toast for breakfast on Day 2 – not sure where Nigel & Debbie keep their hives now but last time I checked they were at the Apricot Centre near Manningtree. I hope someone finds some breakfast cereals from within 30 miles of Ipswich!

    I was relieved to read Kirsty’s post about Suffolk Garlic Farm in Blaxall – I’ve emailed them to ask how I can get hold of some – it’s a 33 mile cycle ride. I also want to get some chilli from the Chilli Company at Mendlesham – about the same distance in the opposite direction. Maybe I can get chilli for someone else and they can get garlic for me.

    I’ve been missing tea and coffee already, though I did enjoy a cup of mint tea today made with leaves from my garden.

    I’m not going to have any “wild cards” for this challenge – I think I’ve already used them up with the ingredients in the “local” food I’ve been eating. But I’m going to stick with the challenge and hopefully my diet will improve as I find more local food and learn some new recipes. And at least I can look forward to an Abbot Ale this evening!

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