January 28, 2009

The Search for Eggs, Bread and Dairy is On!

Monday 19th January

Wednesday’s All Day Breakfast was imminent! We needed to source as many ingredients within the six mile radius as possible.


Investigating the local free range egg situation was quite revealing: One local supplier gets his eggs from Ireland (a few food miles there!) while Eastern Counties Farm in Waltham Abbey has decided to give up on free range eggs for the time being and offered to sell us 12 redundant Blackrock hens… Business has suffered since Tescos opened, food prices have rocketed and the horrors of factory farmed eggs only tends to stay in people’s conscious for a couple of weeks until laziness draws them to the supermarket again. Hopefully campaigns such as The Compassion in World Farming one will increase demand and help the farm to produce free range eggs again in the Spring. Why can’t the local Tesco’s get some of its stock from there?


Thankfully, the Holyfield Farm on the Crooked Mile, Waltham Abbey is going strong – with 2000 happy hens enjoying life outdoors.


We dropped into the farm shop where farmer Dave served us four dozen freshly laid eggs.


Medium sized makes a very decent fried egg!


Dave and his wife also keep ducks…


and stock locally produced jams, chutneys, Essex honey


and potatoes supplied by another farm. Any advise we can get on local produce is vital for the mapping we are doing… Dave recommended a farmers’ market in Loughton… we must visit!


So we’ve cracked the eggs for Wednesday…thanks Dave! Now bread… thats a challenge!

Our search for small scale, independent bakeries within the six miles wasn’t very satisfying…Greggs and Percy Ingle seem to have the monopoly. They do bake on the premesis, but we’d like to find out where the flour comes from and how its made. A real bread campaign is underway initiated by Sustain. Dave mentioned a watermill in Hertford where they produce flour from their own wheat. Its outside the six miles – but maybe this is the closest we are going to get.


We’ll investigate water-powered flour milling in time for the bread oven we’re planning!

A quick visit to Hayes Hill Farm – managed by Lee Valley. They have dairy cows among other farm animals – but no milk for sale there as its imported out.

If anyone has any tips on where we can source local dairy produce please get in touch!

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