Supermarkets – do I really need them?

A month back I restarted my vegetable box, from the good people of Riverford Sacrewell. I stopped the box last year, simply because I was getting so much veg from my garden. I should have restarted it when my garden’s production ended, but I got into my bad habits of not planning, and buying from the supermarket as and when I ran out of something.

This seemed to coincide with my other bad habit of buying prepared food and ready-meals. But it is not a coincidence. Walking round a supermarket (whether it is Tesco, Coop, Waitrose or whatever) it is just so easy to see things and think “that looks nice” and put it in your basket.

For me, it is totally unnecessary, as I am a pretty good cook. However, I have proved to myself that my good intentions go out of the window when faced with a paella that can be cooked in 10 minutes.

It is not just a matter of pride, though; as my weight is much more controllable when I am cooking from scratch.

Add to that the recent revelations about how our food has become adulterated. Not just the horse-meat scandal, but that’s what has brought it home to me.

So I am wondering if I can go cold-turkey on supermarkets.

Meat and veg, are no problem at all. I have the veg-box scheme, which is backed by local farms; the local butcher is superb, and owned by the local pork farm – I am ashamed that I use them so little.

Bread, I have proved I can make for myself, with very little effort (bread machine for daily bread; by hand for specials). However, coming up with 30+ hamburger rolls could be a challenge, for when I feed my gaming group.

Eggs I can get from a variety of places – the veg people, numerous local garden centres, or even, occasionally, friends who keep chickens!

The one problem area is goat’s milk. It is something I buy regularly; I certainly prefer goat’s milk to cow’s, but outside of the supermarket, it is not that common. I have found a farm in Huntingdon that will sell it to me, but it’s a long way to go for a pinta! Actually, they will sell it, in bulk, and frozen; so a possible solution is a monthly milk run, but that is going to tie up a whole section of my freezer!

Two other things to consider. Would this just be for food – would it still be permissible to go over to Tescos (which is a 5 minute walk) to buy things like batteries and stuff, or would that be the thin end of the wedge again. The other thing is whether I should include the local Spar corner-shop. My understanding is that Spar is simply a branding (and where they get their wholesale supplies from), but the shops themselves are privately owned. By that logic, they are a local store, and therefore perhaps one I should support.

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