I Have just reviewed the take at Hampshire Farmers Markets for the 6 weeks since Christmas and we are about 10% up. Before I did that I had the misfortune to read the grovelling, crawling apology from TESCO on page 15 Telegraph 16th February, begging forgiveness for its incompetence in the horse meat scandal. I also watched Tim Smith, head of technical dept TESCO, squirming in front to the Parliamentary Committee, and telling everyone it is just a one off, but subsequently, it has become apparent that the big chains have not had the remotest idea as to what is in their burgers and ready meals for some time. Fear not though, Tim Smith has decided to spend between £1-2 million annually, on testing, to make sure the sweepings they buy abroad has no horse in it. You would have thought the money might have been better spent on buying good quality local meat, nothing changes.
So does it, come as any surprise to find local sales up and village butchers sharpening their knives. Sadly, not many of those butchers left, most of them put out of business by the lovely Tim and his mates buying cheap meat and filler from around the world and turning a bind eye. Credit where credit due, Morrison’s, Sainsbury and Waitrose seem to have done a better job.
On a brighter note, the tale of a lady called Jess. Jess has spent some time travelling the world, including a spell in South Africa. If you can imagine the sun going down on a warm balmy evening, sun glowing red on the horizon, gin and tonic in one hand and the other hand retrieving nuts, local nuts, laced with local flavours, from the bottom of a hand made clay pot, no more than nibbles really. On returning to England the sun and the warm balmy evenings were gone, but the memory of the nut lingered, and the catalyst for a new business, called Sundowner. Now you might say, nuts, where do they they fit in here, well they don’t, but Old Winchester is used to flavour Jess’s Wessex Chive and Cheese biscuit, to quote Jess;
‘We English love our G and T time and these crumbly cheese and chive biscuits are perfect with evening drinks, and come to think of it pretty good for that other great British invention – a picnic in the rain.
Then the word rain brings us all back down to earth and we have published our evening tour dates. We have now had four wet years, the weather can only get better. We cant offer G&T, with nuts but can offer a cheese supper.