We spoke to our 2016 Events sponsor, East of England Co-Op, ahead of their Sourced Locally fortnight. What is clear is their passion and drive to stock and celebrate local produce. Here they talk to us about keeping it local this spring.
So many tasty products
From refreshing beers and delicious honey to fresh strawberries and delicate rapeseed oil, there are so many tasty products to enjoy this Spring, and all right on our doorstep.
Starting out by simply selling locally grown asparagus, the East of England Co-op now stock over 2,000 different products from over 100 local suppliers across the whole region. Encouraging people to ‘Keep it Local’, they are shining the spotlight on tasty food and drink produced by farmers, brewers, chefs and bakers in towns and villages near them.
Sourced Locally Fortnight
To inspire more shoppers to buy local produce, the East of England Co-op are running their second ever Sourced Locally Fortnight from 30th May– 12th June 2016. The fortnight highlights all the benefits of buying local produce: bringing additional money into the local economy, creating local jobs, reducing food miles and providing lots of fresh and tasty produce from local farmers and suppliers.
Among many other delicious local products at the store on the Thoroughfare in Woodbridge, Crush Foods Rapeseed Oil and Great Tilkey Honey are particularly popular at this time of year, with J.R. & K. Poll asparagus also soon to hit the shelves.
Crush Foods Rapeseed Oil
Rapeseed oil has a delicate, nutty taste and is renowned for having a high smoke point. This means it retains its natural anti-oxidants, flavour and colour. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil contains half the saturated fat found in olive oil and is rich in omega 3, 6 and 9. Its versatility and health boosting benefits makes it the perfect culinary oil for households across the region.
Crush Foods gently press their rapeseed oil without heat and triple filter it to remove leftover sediment. This produces a light and clear oil, which lends itself to baking, stir-frying and roasting as well as being ideal for dipping bread, salad dressings and BBQ marinades.
Stephen Newham, business partner at Crush Foods in Norfolk, says: “Rapeseed oil takes time and effort to produce, with more than 250,000 individual rapeseeds needed for just one bottle. Once harvested the tiny seeds are cleaned and gently pressed without heat and left to settle.”
Great Tilkey Honey
Not only does honey taste delicious, but the bees that produce it are vital to our ecosystem. It’s believed that honey bees pollinate one third of the world’s crop production, so beekeeping really is an essential job.
Great Tilkey have a really hands on approach, from extracting the honey from the bee hives and filtering it, to filling and labelling jars. Their Clear Honey range is runny and works best with cereals, whilst the Blossom Set variety is perfect on toast.
Michael Coe of Great Tilkey Honey says: “Bee populations are important to human health and well-being, which is why I find it so rewarding to manage six apiaries across Essex and Suffolk. I frequently transport my bees to local farmland to help with pollination because there are so few bees in the wild that can do this.”
J.R. & K. Poll asparagus
At this time of year, there is a wealth of seasonal produce to look forward to, grown right on our doorstep. One of the most sought after with foodies is the fresh and earthy undertones of local asparagus. Lasting approximately eight weeks, the season is famously short and sweet.
Once picked, asparagus can lose its colour and flavour quickly. To help keep it fresh, treat asparagus in the same way you would flowers – store the spears upright in a container with the stems sitting in an inch of water. Or simply wrap the stems in moist paper towels and pop the bundle into a plastic bag.
John Poll of J.R. & K. Poll says: “Asparagus is incredibly versatile so can be enjoyed in a number of ways, however it is easy to overcook. I would recommend roasting it in the oven drizzled with a little oil and sprinkled with salt and black pepper. I like to add a nice piece of white fish and my home grown mashed potatoes for a hearty meal.”
Did you know?
Asparagus is a member of the lily family
- Honey bees never sleep
- Rapeseed was first grown in Britain by the Romans
To find out more about Sourced Locally Fortnight and for delicious deals near you, visit: www.eastofengland.coop/sourcedlocally.