Here at Smaller Footprints we are striving to reduce our customers’ environmental impact on the world. We try to achieve this by offering our customers the chance to purchase items free from the needless amount of packaging that is commonplace within conventional shops. This blog addresses a different environmental concern – food miles – and promotes some of our products which are grown not so far from home.
In a globally connected world we are now accustomed to having exciting food from all over the world, over and above the seasonal produce you’d expect to find at a local farmers’ market and maybe even the supermarket. However, what is increasingly obvious is the consequences of our buying habits upon the planet. Below is a list for you of some of the products we have that are grown or made either in the UK or by our neighbours in Europe. We are not trying to say that you should never eat the Jasmine White Rice from Thailand or Honduran coffee beans, but sourcing food locally where possible is an effective way to shrink our footprints!
Importantly, none of our products are flown in. Both of our two main suppliers, the workers’ cooperatives Essential Trading (Bristol) and Infinity Foods (Brighton) will only import items by sea. Also check out our seasonal produce poster in-store or on Instagram and maybe then visit our neighbours ‘Reg the Veg’ to stock up on some local, healthy fruit and veggies.
Food we get from the UK include:
Quick, convenient and considered a superfood. Quinoa takes just 10 to 15 minutes to cook and tastes great with only a few other simple ingredients like olive oil, salt, lemon juice and a bit of garlic. Quinoa also has the highest protein content of all whole grains so it’s perfect for those who don’t eat meat or animal products. It also provides all nine essential amino acids, is a gluten and cholesterol-free whole food, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic (as ours is). Our quinoa is grown in Lincolnshire.
Check out the amazing recipes on this website: http://www.britishquinoa.co.uk/lifestyle/recipes
We are very lucky as our honey comes from our doorstep (4 different spots in Bristol). ‘Nature’s sweet superfood’ has an array of health benefits. Honey boosts immunity as it has antibacterial and antiviral properties as well as flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Honey is perfect to put in hot drinks like herbal tea or lemon water, can be put on pancakes or breakfast or in baking.
See the BBC’s list of recipes which include honey: https://www.bbc.com/food/honey
● Rapeseed oil
Rapeseed oil is a popular choice for a reason as it has a high smoke point, comparatively low saturated fat and high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids which can help to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. It’s a great source of antioxidant vitamin E, which, apart from protecting cells against free radicals, also plays an important role regulating metabolic processes and immune system function.
Linseed is the small, reddish-brown or golden-yellow seed of the common flax plant, exactly the same plant as is used to grow the fibre from which true linen has been made for thousands of years. More traditionally pressed to make linseed oil, without which heritage paints and cricket bats would not be the same, the seeds have long been used medicinally to help with constipation but also come packed with many components that have health benefits. They are more likely to be recommended as a vegetarian source of an important single Omega-3 fatty acid, usually found in fish oils. Linseeds are high in dietary fibre so should perhaps be added to any diet in modest amounts and with increased liquid intake, save any surprise laxative effects.
● Pearl barley
Pearl Barley is a whole grain barley that comes from Scotland and is extremely versatile, you can make it in to risottos, salads, soups and stews. It has been processed to remove its fibrous outer hull and polished to remove some or all of the bran layer. It cooks faster and is less chewy than other, less-processed forms of grain such as hulled barley.
● Couscous, (from France... close!)
Couscous is also an extremely versatile ‘tiny pasta’, as it is made up of crushed durum wheat semolina, it can be yummy in a salad as it soaks up any flavours or sauces added to it. It’s also lower in calories and higher in fibre and protein than rice so it’s also good for you.
The UK climate is suited to the growth of a variety of different cereals. Which is great for us because as well as being a very easy meal to have for breakfast they can also be put on pancakes, made in to flapjacks and even added to smoothies.
From the UK, we stock:
● Cereal base - A mixture of four different grains, Porridge Oats, Wheat Flakes, Barley Flakes, Rye Flakes.
● Oatmeal (Organic)
● Oats (Fine and Jumbo, Organic)
● Oat bran (Organic)
● Spelt flakes (Organic)
● Buckwheat flakes (Organic)
● Barley flakes (Organic)
● Millet flakes (Organic)
And from Germany:
● Cornflakes (Organic)
And from Denmark:
● Bran flakes (Organic)
Check out ‘20 Unexpected Ways to Use Cereal’
Our fudge also comes from Bristol and is fab! ‘Fab fudge’ (https://fab-fudge.co.uk/) creates dairy-free/vegan fudge in a variety of flavours. In store we have their Creme Easter Egg that is covered in dark chocolate and edible gold spray paint and also a few varieties of fudge. The eggs even come in a plant-based cellophane packaging so it’s completely guilt-free (well mostly, *winks*).
● Vegan chocolates
Our chocolate comes all the way from Avonmouth from our friends at Chocbox. We sell it in a variety of flavours including Salted Caramel, Peppermint, Roasted Walnut, Dark (75%), White Vanilla and White Raspberry. Greg delivers them when dropping off his daughter at school in Clifton, in bags which he takes away for re-use. Sometimes he takes from us the boxes in which our Loofah (a plant) scrubbing products are delivered for use when he receives online orders.
● All of our flours
Our flour comes from Doves Farm (https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/) and Shipton Mill (https://www.shipton-mill.com/). In store we have gluten- free plain white flour, organic whole meal, organic white self-raising, rhye flour, organic bread flour and organic plain white four.
Food we get from slightly further afield in Europe include:
Pasta, glorious pasta
Courtesy of Italy we have a variety of pastas. Cook yourself up a quick meal with pasta, veggies and herbs & spices and, voila, a speedy dinner is served. All from Italy:
● Fusilli (white, wholewheat and gluten-free)
● Penne rigate (white and wholewheat, organic and non)
● Farfalle bows
● Conchiglioni shells
● Macaroni (gluten-free)
Our noodles, thin and thick, cooked in 6 and 8 minutes respectively, are made in Manchester!
Many of the herbs and spices and dried fruit are from Europe - often Eastern Europe or Turkey.
Also from Italy:
● Brown Short Grain Organic Rice
As well as sourcing some of our grains, pastas, flours, seeds and treats locally we can also try to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables at the right times of year. Please check out these websites to see what should (in theory) have low mileage at different times of year: (http://www.lovebritishfood.co.uk/british-food-and-drink/fruit-and-vegetables) / http://eatseasonably.co.uk/what-to-eat-now/calendar/
And lastly we’d like to give a final shout out to SESI (https://sesi.org.uk/products/) who stock our cream cleaner, dishwasher powder, fabric conditioner, handsoap, laundry detergent, all-purpose spray, toilet cleaner, washing-up liquid, white vinegar and window glass cleaner. What is great about SESI is that they collect the tubs we use and replace them in true ‘circular economy’ style and they also opt out of putting exotic essential oils imported from far away in their products, reducing air miles.
Thank you for reading. Please contact us or pop in store if you have any queries!