Elderflower ice-cream, blackberry jam, horseradish puree, apple and plum pie...I could go on but these are just a sample few of what I remember when I think back to my childhood of growing up in the countryside. From a hands-on perspective, the tastes that nature has created for us to use were there for me on my doorstep, in my back garden and along the overgrown footpaths that entangled themselves through the village. Of course, it is only within the last couple of years that I have truly started appreciating the benefits of having such a wilderness to get lost in as a nipper.
Back then, it was the norm - I was yet to realise that I was actually priveleged in experiencing the proximity to such divine and yet, the most wholesome of produce. Back then, as I grew into a grumpy teen, I resented the fact that there was no decent public transport links to the nearest town, that there was no shop nearby that sold anything but home-made bread, conserves, pates and cheeses. Back then, I was naive and lost sight of what I loved to do as a child...before those horrendous hormones kicked in! Thankfully enough, this torrid period didn't last and I was soon back out, basket in one hand, thick glove on the other - ready to pounce on the sunshine-glazed fruit that adorned our garden and hedgerows.
I am 26 years old and have truly reverted back to my roots - embracing all that Mother Earth pioneered and all those who get cosy with it. I live in Surbiton - a definite half-way house between the bright lights of London and the leafy environment of Surrey. Being here gives me great perspective on both sides and allows me to inspect the blurred lines of rural and urban living, haute-cuisine and seasonality (not that I'm defining them as mutually exclusive), and excessive and frugal living. I work for a company that supplies specialist fruit and vegetables to an extensive number of restaurants ranging from Le Gavroche, Fifteen, Pied a Terre, to fantastic gastropubs including The Builders Arms, The Windmill and The Guinea Grill. The insight is wondrously eye-opening and speaking to fantastically passionate chefs is an opportunity I only could have dreamed of. The farm is in Milford, Surrey - a haven of tranquility and freshness.
The main driver for me to start this blog was an ever-increasing need to vent my feelings on the importance of our independent producers. The more I have become involved in the direct source of where our food comes, the more I have seen apparent the destructive forces of those behind the gigantuan supermarkets that dominate in our cupboards, freezers, minds all for the simple reasons of convenience and, more often than not, mis-placed, perceived value. Once upon a time, the high streets of our country were full of independent butchers, fishmongers, bakers - all arm-in-arm fulfilling not only the nutritional needs of a nation but also the metaphoric communal kitty of warmth, respect and kind.
The projects embarked on by the likes Rosie Boycott, Henrietta Green, and Philip Lowery to name but a few are fine examples of highlighing the steps we all need to take in this fight against big-wigs and their commercial babies.
So, in this vain, this blog intends to do exactly as the name suggests and get everyone going LOOPY ABOUT LOCAL!! Sanctimonious and pious, it is not, simply a review of the best of those places and people that welcome and have taken on the transition. Enjoy!
Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and tip-offs!