Buying organically-produced local food can cut your food carbon footprint by a quarter. While the fruit and veg might not win first prize in a beauty contest, there’s no doubt that it’s tastier and better for the planet. Here’s how to get your hands on it…
1. The effort-free ‘let it come to you’ method
Vegetable and fruit boxes
A veg box is a box of fruit and/or vegetables that is delivered to your home. It usually comes directly from the grower, and the contents are generally seasonal and locally produced.
Not only do you support local farmers directly, helping them earn a fair price for their produce, but you also cut your own costs. You reduce food miles, too. Even seemingly local produce bought at the supermarket tends to be driven to a national packaging depot and transported around a network of distribution centres before ending up on supermarket shelves.
Dig is one such box scheme, based in Altrincham. It specialises in good quality locally-sourced organic fruit and vegetables, bought directly from local producers.
And caterers will soon be able to buy food from Dig, too. It is working to form a co-operative of growers and buyers that will sell locally-grown produce directly to restaurants and catering establishments.
Dig delivers veg boxes to homes across the city, including Didsbury. Boxes start at £10. And they even throw in free recipes. Just tell them if there’s a food that you really don’t like, and they’ll banish it from your box! For further details, call 07511 554353 or visit www.digfood.co.uk
2. The ‘as easy as sticking your head out of the window’ method
Farmers markets have much the same advantages as veg boxes – allowing you to buy fresh, wholesome goods from independent local retailers. The main difference is that you may need a pair of shoes and a coat before collecting your produce from the market.
West Didsbury’s Street Market takes place on the last Saturday of every month on Nell Lane, in front of Withington Community Hospital. If you miss that one, fear not. The markets are virtually round the clock in South Manchester.
Northenden | Palatine Road
1st Saturday | M22 4DH
Withington | Copson Street
2nd Saturday | M20 3BG
Chorlton | Manchester Road
3rd Saturday | M21 9PN
Levenshulme | Stockport Road
4th Friday | M19 3AD
West Didsbury | Nell Lane
4th Saturday | M20 2RL
3. The ‘I fancy having it all under one roof’ method
Situated in Chorlton, Unicorn is a wholefood grocery with a focus on regional, organic and fair-trade ingredients for affordable and interesting cooking. It is a worker’s co-operative, owned and run by the people who work in it. It aims to offer a price-competitive alternative to the supermarket, and a better way of shopping.
Over the past few years it has started producing its own ready-to-eat food in the shop. Starting with sandwiches and salads and lately expanding to include baked goods, soups and wholesome ready meals, the range allows it to respond to seasonal supply and gluts of fresh produce, and cut waste.
All of the fruit and veg at Unicorn is organic, which is the ideal for a low-carbon diet.
You’ll find Unicorn at 89 Albany Road, Chorlton M21 0BN. It is open until 7pm Tuesdays through to Fridays – perfect for a bit of after-work shopping. Visit www.unicorn-grocery.co.uk for further information.
Unicorn is just 3.1 miles from Didsbury Village. Take bus route 23/23A or 46 and it is a short (2−7 minutes) walk away!
© Amanda Woodvine for Didsbury Dinners, 2o11. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the copyright owner.
Food photography: © Chava Eichner