>Ok. Maybe I was a bit angry yesterday.
Mrs Gnomepants and I did eventually get to go to farm shops as planned. But our trip to the international food store in Wakefield will have to wait now until next month.
First port of call was Broad Close Farm Shop in Silkstone. Silkstone is a fairly affluent area of Barnsley. You can tell this because there are few houses and those in the village are all nicely presented and even the village petrol station (yes it still has one) is nicely manicured.
This is the farm shop.
There were also some tasty looking rabbits.
My first worry was that because this shop had been advertising on Dearne FM that it would be overly expensive. But it was new by the looks of it. Small in layout, with only a cooked meat and uncooked meat display, a few baskets of pristine looking vegatables and some expensive looking (locally produced) oils and stuff; brands which I’ve noticed from other farmshops. There is a concern that the more successful local producers are pushing out the smaller ones before they can get a foot hold making them no better than the corporate giants. Sad thing is I see this happening more and more often and because the demand for finest finest finest foods by the middle class foodies, disillusioned with supermarkets (or just wanting to appear more ethical to the Joneses) pushes up the price of locally produced food, I think the quality and ethical standpoint suffers. But no matter.
Broad Close specialises in pork, lamb and beef and, as it happens, we came out with naught but 4 sausages. I’ll tell you about them when I eat them. Anyway, the next stop was to be the Hazelhead Hall Farm Shop in the aptly named Penistone. However just as we were heading into the foothills of the Pennines we saw a sign beckoning us to a seemingly previously unknown farmshop which specialised in fruit and veg. So we stopped off there for a nose.
In a little shed there was a vast selection of fruit and veg. Veg you’ve never even heard of. Not only that locally produced stuff was clearly labelled. We bought locally produced honey, Brussels sprouts, carrots and some free range eggs. This little farm shop didn’t do meat. But that was not to be a consequence because we spent nearly £40 on fruit and veg there which, no doubt, should last us 2 weeks.
So on to Hazelhead Hall. The approach to Hazelhead Hall was nice. A dirt track taking you past future meals (ie live pigs and free range chickens) up to the farm shop itself.
Hazelhead Hall looked expensive from the outside. A sign in the window announced that their coffee shop was closing for good next week. This probably means that they are going to expand. Again, a farm shop that seemingly specialises in meat. Notably beef and chicken. However there was no chicken available because there had been a run on Free range chicken since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV programmes the other week*.
We ended up spending £10 on a HUGE bag of stewing beef (which should last us the rest of the month if not longer), £4 on a really nice and tasty looking steak and a further £10 on some barn reared chicken which the butcher assured us was not intensively reared (though I do have my reservations about that statement). Either way we spent a heck of a lot of money on that
* Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey are TV Chefs here in the UK. They recently did a series of programmes about how intensively rearing chickens is really cruel and how supermarkets are tricking customers into ignorance about the cost and method of production of bargain basement chicken. It was very interesting. Indeed you should go to http://www.chickenout.tv and teach yourself something about some of the shit the supermarket has you shovel down your throat.
When we came back from our trek across Barnsley we just put the car away when Joey texted to say her and her boyfriend, Mart, were inbound to the Three Horseshoes in Brierley. I offered to pay for a meal for the missis and we hastily headed down Church Street to join them. However there was a 40th Birthday party on in the restaurant bit so food was off (which was a pisser) but we had a nice drink and chit chat with them before going our separate ways. The wife and I returned to Gnomepants Cottage, ordered a pizza and watched a bit of Red Dragon before falling asleep (Manhunter is miles better than Red Dragon IMO)
Today we nipped down to Blythe to have lunch with Philip (formerly Philip-in-Brighton), his partner Jaq and their lovely little girl Isobella. Philip is a vegetarian so we had a veggie goulash with rice and served with “potato pancakes”. After all that roughage I’ve been making some interesting smells in my trousers this evening. But no matter. It was a delightful repast.