The bureaucracy files

Over the weekend, Jeremy Clarkson was in the Sunday Times, noting that while the rest of us were in the garden, enjoying the sunshine, he was in his office filling out government forms for his farming activities. I am sure some of our readers were with him, filling out those same forms. He also rightly pointed out that few farms could manage without the government help the forms provide, but now that Brexit is occurring, the subsidy will eventually stop.

Meanwhile, the current government has voted against banning the import of chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, and the UK only produces around 60% of the food it needs. Now, I come from the land of the chlorinated chickens, and if you want to spend your time in a supermarket, desperately looking for an animal that tastes of anything and hasn’t had a miserable life, I am sure immigration to the US will open up again eventually.

I for one left that a long time ago and I’m happier here. My next big meat order is with the local farm, and there’s something nice about having properly cut meat from the local butcher businessman. My eating habits have improved immensely over the last two decades, and it’s down to the easy access to these good foods, rather than vast access to frankly not very tasty foods.

It has improved even further in lockdown, as I am not travelling further than the local greengrocer or butcher (The Village Greengrocers, Charlton, London. Butcher is on Twitter @GGSparkes) for our food (or the allotment, although that tends to be large portions of one thing at a time). Plus, the fishmonger at Billingsgate (The Upper Scale) says they’ll continue deliveries even after the resumption of normal services. This is good, as we are enjoying our very fresh fish.

During lockdown, I have been buying cheese and handing it out in the neighbourhood, in addition to eating large quantities of it myself. It’s not much, but I hope it helps people to think that perhaps, good quality cheese is worth seeking out. At any rate, it’s fun to have a nice hunk of British cheddar or blue cheese arrive, and there are so many options online.

Waitrose and Booth’s are both doing selections, as is Northumberland Cheese and Neal’s Yard. It doesn’t replace the catering and restaurant trade, but we can but try. Jaap de Jonge is also listing cheese sites on his LinkedIn page, so it’s worth looking there.

Here’s a few other websites to get you started:

#shoplocal #AroundTheCornerMarket

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