Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Better Food Company & Barley Wood Walled Garden

Seeking Local Vegetable & Fruit in the Bristol Area, England

picture photograph image The Better Food Company shop front bristol england 2007 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/
If you have been following my blog over the past few days you will know that I am stuck in Bristol, England, waiting for a visa stamp, and that to help while away the time I determined to try and cook a meal made from only locally sourced ingredients. Our search for meat yielded great results when we visited the inaugural Westbury-on-Trym Local Produce Market at Channells Hill Primary School where there were choices a plenty from within a 20 mile radius that makes San Francisco's 100 mile locavore perimeter look like eating local for dummies.

But fresh local fruit and vegetable produce was more elusive. After consulting the Bristol Local Food Guide I decided that The Better Food Company, 2.7 miles from my parent's house might be the best bet as a one-stop shop for everything else we needed to cook a large, local Sunday lunch.

The Better Food Company is a typical, independent, medium-sized whole foods store. It has a cafe, organic wines, eco cleaning produce, bulk bins, a small cheese counter and much more, you can probably imagine the kind of thing. The company has a Walled Garden and Cafe just 14 miles South of the store, in North Somerset, where they grow produce to supply their customers.

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We had to illicit some help from a member of a staff but soon got used to the labelling in the produce section. Everything they had grown themselves was labelled "walled garden", other items were marked with the word "England" meaning they were British but their origin was unknown and yet more items were from other countries in Europe and were labelled as such. We managed to pick up a beautiful Savoy cabbage, some pattison squash and a lovely green lettuce, all of which were from the walled garden, along with some of their handmade chutney. We also picked up pots of Organic cream from Devon, flour milled in Shipton and cheeses from Bath as well as English wine.

If I lived in Bristol, I am sure The Better Food Company would be a regular haunt on my shopping schedule. Not so my mother, unfortunately, I am glad she humoured me and was game to try but I haven't convinced her to eat more locally as a way of life just yet. I think she much prefers the convenience of Sainsburys...

PS - If anyone knows any other great resources for local fruit and vegetable produce in the Bristol area, please do leave a comment, thanks.

PPS - My favourite person has returned from Paris and so now starts our real very mini-vacation. We are off to the land of pasties, clotted cream and fishing boats and so you probably won't hear a peep out of me for a few days. Sorry to keep you waiting on the local meal - I'll get there in the end...

Local Resources
The Better Food Company, Bristol
Local Produce Market, Westbury-On-Trym, Bristol
My own Eat Local Bristol Challenge
Bristol Local Food Guide

2006 | Breast-shaped Cake

© 2007 Sam Breach
The Better Food Company & Barley Wood Walled Garden


  • At 25/9/07 02:42, Blogger Unknown said…

    If you're still in Bristol this Saturday, you should give the "Fresh" market within St Nicholas's Market a go. When it launched last year, it was a much bigger collection of local producers but has sadly dwindled to just a few stalls along St Nicholas Street. But Leigh Court Farm still seem to have a regular stall and they do wonderful local produce, grown on their farm a few miles out of the city. It's not cheap, but it's worth it.

    Link: http://visitbristol.co.uk/site/shopping/

  • At 25/9/07 03:06, Blogger sallywrites said…

    Enjoy Cornwall! Or it Devon? Did you get the visa sorted?

  • At 25/9/07 03:45, Blogger Gemma said…

    Good luck with the meal. If you're still stuck for garlic and don't mind extending your search for the odd ingredient then look up the Really Garlicky Company, they are in Scotland and grow great garlic.

  • At 25/9/07 07:44, Blogger Dagny said…

    Congrats on finding local produce.

    I see that Sally had the same question that I did. The pasties makes me think Cornwall. Either way, have some extra clotted cream for me. I love the stuff.

  • At 25/9/07 07:51, Blogger Alice Q. Foodie said…

    Mmmm...clotted cream... Hope you're having a great time Sam!

  • At 25/9/07 08:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I get local fruit and veg delivered to my door via a veggie box scheme. These are many and varied across the UK - and some farmers make so much from the boxes they've made it their main activity. Note too that a veggie box can include meat and dairy products. I also get fish delivered to the door - I think it's great that the global reach of the internet has enabled local deliveries, what could be more ironic? CaroB

  • At 26/9/07 05:51, Blogger Jeanne said…

    If you're stuck much longer, you could always take a fast train into London and come and see some friends...! Never been as far as Bristol (regrettably)but have been just outsie it - the whole area is great for food as I recall, wth lots of locally produced stuff. I envy you Devon/Cornwall - hope the weather cooperates :)

  • At 26/9/07 11:17, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Enjoy the rest of your holiday, Sam and Fred!

  • At 26/9/07 18:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there you have a great blog,lovely recipes. Feel free to visit my blog too :)

    Jeena xx

    click here for food recipes

  • At 27/9/07 02:53, Blogger Beccy said…

    It sounds like a great store Sam, where exactly is it?

  • At 27/9/07 09:00, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hope you both have a wonderful vacation!

  • At 27/9/07 13:53, Blogger Mallika said…

    I wonder how the costs compare of eating fresh, local farmers produce here with the US? It's so expensive here. I've got a local farmers market now and it blows a small hole in my wallet every Saturday!!

    Good luck with the visa...

  • At 28/9/07 10:48, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tu vas passer nous voir à Paris?

  • At 28/9/07 13:13, Blogger Dive said…

    Rock the Casbah!


  • At 29/9/07 14:33, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is Bath considered local to Bristol? It's only 15 mins or so on the train ;)

    They have some great shops in Bath - bread and cheese specialists spring to mind ... And up at the uni they have an Asian store - speicliising in southeast Asian food and spices which is wonderful :)

  • At 30/9/07 20:38, Blogger Sam said…

    Thanks for the link Amy - I will send it to my mum. The stars aligned so that I was able to get a flight back to SF on Saturday and so I wasnt able to check it out for myself.

    Sally - yes i did - thank you ! Sorry I missed you last week.

    Gemma I am going to send that link to my mum too - thank you.

    Dagny - DOn't worry I ate your share of clotted cream!

    Alice - thank you

    CaroB - I love that irony. When I lived in the Uk - about 10 years ago I used to get an organic farm box delivery - hard to believe that because it almost sems like they have only just been invented.

    jeanne - I would have loved that but unfortunately I became unexpectedly unstuck to my surprise and was on the next plane back to the US

    shane - thanks

    Beccy - st werburghs

    alison - thanks

    mallika - I have to confess I wasnt doing a price comparison this time - mum said it was more expensive

    JOC - non, pardon

    Dive - Rocking it.

    elegant sniff - we went to bath to visit the spa and its only about 15 miles away so definitely local. If I'd have had more time I might have gone there again - it has a lovely little fishmonger we discovered.

  • At 14/10/07 03:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, your blog is great, and I intend trying many of your recipies when i have time!!
    I work just around the corner from the better food company (Crabtree Kitchens) and i do pop in for lunch, their salads are wonderful!! You may want to visit the chew valley which has a wealth of local tucker. Chew magna is the center of gozero, a local organisation promoting local produce.www.gozero.org. you may want to take a look. Have fun in cornwall.


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