WHILE the drive to buy local produce is as strong as ever, two North Yorkshire businesses have teamed up to play their part in providing ethical options for shoppers.
Roots Farm Shop in East Routon, near Yarm, has developed a new range of ethical ready meals with Figs Catering Company, which is based nearby in West Routon, close to Northallerton.
The meals, which include cottage pie, lasagne, vegetable pie, are made using locally reared meat and butchered on the premises of Roots Farm Shop, with other ingredients are also sourced locally.
The whole process of creating the ready meals, from animal to butchering to preparation and even packaging is a local affair.
Figs Catering founder Nicola Calder, who has been in catering for more than 30 years, said the partnership was ideal as both companies share the same values about local produce.
She said: “I get my ingredients as close to me as possible, my tomatoes are from Stokesley, my eggs and milk are from farmers nearby and my herbs are from Thirsk.”
For Katherine Brown, manager of Roots, the process has been about providing fully traceable meals that bridge the gap between ethical and convenience foods.
She said: “When you buy the meals you know that the meat has been locally reared, the animals are slaughtered by a reputable slaughter house in Sutton under Forrest and handled by our butcher Darren and his team, and finally prepared by Nicola. It’s fully traceable which can’t be said of ready meals bought in a supermarket.”
The packaging has been designed by textile designer Fiona Bennett, from Hutton Rudby, and made in Thornaby, Middlesbrough.
Roots was established in 2008 in a bid to improve the sustainability of the Hutchinson family’s farm and a desire to sell quality local food to the community. The farm shop offers a local outlet for not only its own produce, but also its farming neighbours.
According to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, more support is need to protect local food “webs”, which it says offer tremendous opportunities for both farms and retailers.