Posts tagged ‘living without supermarkets’

February 13, 2014

George & Joseph cheesemongers, Leeds.

It’s safe to say that avoiding supermarkets is a lot easier if you have brilliant local alternatives. Specialist shops might mean that you need to go from place to place rather than buying everything from under one roof, but the pleasure you can take from buying your food from someone who really knows their stuff turns food shopping from being a chore to a delight.

In North Leeds, one such shop is George & Joseph, a cheesemongers in Chapel Allerton. Tucked away down Regent Street in LS7, this little gem specialises in Yorkshire cheese and warm welcomes. I’ve been in a few times now, and always come away with gorgeous wax paper-wrapped cheese which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed. There’s something for all palates ranging from soft, mild goat cheese to strong blue cheeses as well as the crackers, chutneys and platters you need to serve your cheese on.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Fleming

Photo courtesy of Stephen Fleming

The first time we visited, Stephen the friendly owner of George & Joseph recommended the Old Winchester cheese which has become a firm favourite. It’s not a Yorkshire cheese—it’s from Lyburn cheese makers in the New Forest— but its firm, almost crunchy texture and strong nutty, Parmesan-esque flavour have got me firmly hooked. It’s genuinely my favourite cheese of all time. And that’s not a thing I say lightly.  Also, the cheese is made with a vegetarian rennet, which means its great for those looking for an Italian style hard cheese without the animal rennet that Parmesan always contains.

I’m thinking that a George & Joseph themed cheese tasting evening might be round the corner. Although don’t expect me to share the Old Winchester…

Do you have great local stores near you? Are there any other places in Leeds I should try too? Let me know!

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Margot and Barbara is changing! I’d really appreciate your feedback. Click HERE to take part. Thank you 🙂

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January 28, 2014

Living without supermarkets: blog inspiration

Our’Living without Supermarkets‘ challenge continues. We do have our failures, but overall, things are going well. I refuse to beat myself up if we have to venture into the Co-op for the occasional item, life isn’t perfect. The main thing is to keep trying.

Our reasons for reducing our reliance on supermarkets continue to be:

1: Spreading the wealth. I heard a statistic a while ago that said of every four pounds spent in the UK, one of those is spent in Tesco. This may not be true, but it still made me shudder a bit. I’d like to put money in the hands of more than just a handful of multinationals.

2: Keeping our local stores and markets alive. With the British high streets and giant shopping malls up and down the country turning into a homogenised experience, you could probably be parachuted into many of them and simply not know where you were because of the identikit brands. Supporting those independent retailers who are fighting against this tide is important to me.

3: Eating seasonally.  Buying from local growers, producers and suppliers as well as eating what I’ve grown myself, helps to ensure that for some of the time at least, we’re eating with the seasons.

4: Less packaging waste. Our vegetables are delivered in a cardboard box that is returned for re-use time and again. Buying from a local market stall means paper bags instead of plastic – these can be composted. In many cases, I take a cotton bag and dispense with packaging altogether. There are many ways to reduce packaging by shopping locally.

Since starting on this journey, I’ve discovered and been inspired by many, many other folk. A handful of those are here:

The inimitable Mammasaurus has written a lovely, uplifting series of posts on supporting local suppliers.

You’ll find great supermarket-free and plastic-free posts over on Westywrites.

On My Make Do and Mend Year, the incredibly inspiring Jen writes about a variety of subjects, initially based around her year of not buying anything new. She writes passionately about upcycling, transition, community and positivity. I love this site and learn a lot.

Over on A Year without Supermarkets, Team Pugh are basically doing just that – living without supermakets. I’ve only just discovered this great site and I know I’ll return.

Are there any other great blog about going supermarket-free or plastic-free? Or do you write about eating seasonally, sustainable living or minimalism? I’d love to hear from you! 

December 10, 2013

A Month without Supermarkets: end of month review.

Well, our first month without supermarkets is over and generally speaking it was a great success.

We have loved getting our weekly food delivery from Abel and Cole. We’ve really enjoyed searching out alternative suppliers, local specialists and great independent shops close to home, including the local butcher, bakers, and cheese shop. We’ve had lots of successes. And we’ve had a fair few failures – needing milk when the only shop open is Tesco (grr) is a notable one. However, let us not use our plans as a stick to beat ourselves with.

We’ve decided that this is how we want to live forever; to reduce our reliance on the supermarket as much as possible, but to not get over-anguished about those times when we have little choice. Which is usually, as I mentioned in a previous post, down to a lack of planning.  We’ve also changed the way we buy our food slightly from Abel and Cole, so we plan our weekly menu beforehand so we know what will be coming in the delivery, what we will cook with it and when. This might sound pretty regimented,  but actually, creates a lot more simplicity on a day-to-day basis and means for much less food waste.

Now we’ve got into something of a routine when it comes to food, and made our main decisions about where we buy our food from, the next thing we really want to tackle is the amount of waste and rubbish we create. As I said, planning a weekly menu ahead makes for less food waste, but also we’re looking at packaging too. Recycling is obviously one way to deal with packaging waste, but it shouldn’t be the first ‘r’ in waste reduction. Reducing the amount of packaging we bring into the house in the first place should come before that.

So, that’s our next step. We’ve bought a bokashi system to help us deal with the food waste and we’re looking at ways to reduce packaging and rubbish.

I’ll share our progress with you in a further post – but if you have any tips to share, please add them in the comments!