Shopping! A guide to where we shop and why.

Calcott Hall (2)Since becoming sugar free last year I have been on an amazing journey learning about food. Food is the fuel that will keep our bodyies and minds well. Many health care professionals, such as doctors and nutritionists believe that food should be our medicine. If we eat the right kinds of foods, exercise and rest well our bodies will respond in amazing ways. The way I now see it is if your car needs fuel and you fill it with mud it’s not going to work well. If you give the car the right fuel it will go for miles.

So at the beginning of this year my husband and I decided to shop as locally as possible. I’m beginning to understand that eating locally grown, or as local as possible, is much better for our bodies. Also, it is better for us to eat seasonally and it’s so much better for the environment. I have become very disillusioned with the major supermarkets in this country. I’m not a fan of the way they try to grab your attention and it always feels like they want us to spend more money.

At the beginning of this year we started shopping at a family run business called Calcott Hall Farm. There are several reasons I decided to start shopping here. Firstly, it is a small, local business which is helping the local economy. They grow a wide variety of fruit and vegetables themselves and they have been farming at Calcott Hall for nearly forty years. The Mcturks started their business just selling potatoes and other vegetables to the locals. Then in the 1980’s the business expanded.

Another reason for shopping at Calcott Hall is the farm uses tradional farming methods to grow the crops and they use minimum amounts of pesticides. Almost all the produce from the farm is sold exclusively through the shop. It means they cut out the middle man and reduces the carbon footprint. Their 60 regional suppliers are within a 50 mile radius. Not all the products can be grown locally so bananas and other exotic fruits are brought in from abroad.

My final reason, but probably the most important, the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The atmosphere is pleasant and they seem very contented in their work and always happy to help. The female workers pay a lot of attention to my son and, touch wood, Ted is always happy when we visit.

Great-ShopMy next destination when doing the weekly shop is French’s Farm Organic Butcher’s Shop. As a family we now only have meat about two or three times a week as I believe that this is also better for the body. It also means that as we are eating less meat, we can afford to buy organic.

The bonus’ for me are that French’s are committed to respecting the countryside and working in as green a way as possible. It is a small business run by a husband and wife team who are passionate about the countryside and the green policies. Their farm is completely in harmony with nature and they are confident they are building a farm that will stand the test of time.

French’s first started trading in 1984 and they are a totally organic farm. Their herds are fed with organic feed with no growth hormones added and they use no herbicides or pesticides on the land. Due to good field management and grazing the pastures are clean, and the dung left by the herd is parasite free. The cattle have a high level of natural immunity so they do not use antibiotic or worming drugs.

They have forged a good Green Partnership with Essex County Council and they have a tenancy in South Weald Park where they organically graze their cattle. The cattle grazing encourages new growth on the fauna and flora of the park. This is a healthy and natural way to promote a well balanced natural environment.

French’s also have great relationships with their suppliers because they produce their own meat on the farm. So they know exactly where the meat is from, there is no middle man and they know that it hasn’t been through any nasty processes.
The final reason I shop here is the staff are friendly and polite. I have asked them lots of questions and they are always happy to answer. They know a lot about the products they are selling. I always get a great service when I visit the shop.

Sadly, I still have to shop for a few items in our local supermarket but I do try to avoid them if I can. I’m pleased to say I have found shopping more locally affordable. As we have given up a lot of processed food we can now afford to buy organic produce. I also find that we are eating less because we have more filling main meals.

These are the two main places I now do our family’s weekly shop and I’m so pleased I have maintained using the local shops as much as possible. The effect of eating a healthy diet I feel has helped me enormously and I will continue to do so. Shopping locally is not only helping our wellbeing. As a mother I’m pleased to know that my family are eating food that will help to fuel them to hopefully live a long life.