Whatever your food plans this January, it’s worth reducing meat and dairy wherever you can, as highlighted by the IPCC and in our ‘5 things we can all start doing right now’ campaign. So… what to eat instead? Here are some ideas from local co-operative and fellow Community Action Group, Cultivate, purveyors of local, ethical and delicious fresh food in Oxford:
ENGLISH ROOT VEG. OK, so there’s nothing exotic or edgy about root veg but it’s something we do really well in the UK. Forget buying your cheap imports from supermarkets, try the real deal from organic farms less than 25 miles from your door. A carrot that actually tastes of carrot, celeriac fresh enough to ribbon and eat raw, beetroot where you can still taste the minerals of the soil it was grown in. Now THAT’s root veg! Try half / half potato and celeriac mash with a little garlic and olive oil or raw grated carrot / swede / beetroot salad, tossed in sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and a little soya sauce and chilli flakes.
SQUASHES. It was bumper season for squashes and whether you prefer the chewy texture of the Sweet Dumpling or the pasta alternative and aptly named Spaghetti Squash, there’s something for everyone. However, for us, the King, or rather Prince, of the squash is the Crown Prince. With its beautiful edible duck egg blue skin and gorgeous orange flesh, they are equally good roasted, mashed or sliced thinly and seared in a wok. Toss the seeds in oil, season with salt, pepper and a little chilli then roast them in the oven until crisp and golden. Like all squashes, they store for a long time but need to eaten by Spring, so get munching while you can!
COMICE PEAR. One of the few organic English pears we can still get hold of but, my, what a beauty. I don’t even like pears that much but I’m getting through a stack of them a home. I love the way they are firm but juicy, sweet but not too over powering. Great one their own but amazing chopped on cereal or nibbled with a glass of port.
PRESERVES & HONEY. Is this cheating? I think not. Cracking open a jar of summer’s bounty on a cold frosty day is one of life’s pleasures. All our preserves, jams, chutneys and marmalades are produced and packed by Elder Stubbs Allotments in East Oxford, part of the Restore project that supports those with mental issues. Our honey (which you can skip, if you’re doing Veganuary) comes from bees at Brightwell and as opposed to many processed supermarket honeys, our set and runny varieties are simply a product of the different seasonal flowers the bees gather pollen from. Nifty work bees!
About Cultivate and our weekly home fruit and veg delivery
Cultivate is an Oxford-based members cooperative set up in 2011 to provide healthy food and education, and to grow the local food economy. We buy organic produce, mostly from farms within 22 miles of the city, giving them a fair price – 50-70% of selling price goes back to the growers. We sell at a local market and also offer an online delivery service in Oxford by bicycle courier, thus reducing carbon and congestion on our steeets. Any of our own unsold produce is provided to local ‘food poverty’ projects plus we use 25% of any profits we make to fund local projects increasing access to food across the county. We think of it as good food doing good!
The Cultivate online market is open from 10am Friday – 10am Monday every week, for home delivery (by BIKE!) within Oxford on Fridays. This year we are launching our Cultivate Core. 4 of your seasonal staples weighing in at 1.6kg for just £5 (10% off our normal price). You can use this as your core staples for the week or as a base for your weekly order. We’ve made it for 1-2 people for a week, so if there are more of you, just order more!
We have all the amazing products from last year; seasonal fruit and veg, eggs, tea, coffee, juice, honey, dried foods, detergeants and deodrants and we have even added some more dried foods, pasta and more cleaning products from SESI…