Hazel Roberts talks us through the farmers and community markets, community fridges, cookery schools and more in her top tips for 2020.
Now that winter is here, there are few fairs taking place and the street food events are paused until their return in March.
Whilst the vendors recharge their batteries, revamp their menus and devise new products for the season ahead, it is still possible to buy local food and drink.
My top tips for 2020 are:
1) Shop on the High Street to support local independent retailers.
2) Seek out farm shops, such as Hunters, Pecks and Pastures Farm.
3) Visit monthly community and farmers markets.
4) Sign up for a local veg delivery scheme such as Riverford or Moorgate Farm.
5) Go out to dinner at a local independent restaurant.
6) Have a drink in an independent pub, such as MK Biergarten.
7) Look out for key events in the coming year, such as MKFoodFest in September.
Each month there are seven farmers markets. Olney and Winslow are on the first Sunday of every month. Wolverton takes place on both the first and third Saturday. Stony Stratford is on the last Friday and Newport Pagnell is the third Friday. Woburn pops up on the third Sunday and Leighton Buzzard happens on the third Saturday.
In addition, there is a monthly community market in Woburn Sands.
Every Friday there is a community market at the Old Bath House in Wolverton and every Saturday there are local food traders in Odell’s Yard, Stony Stratford.
Over the past year, several new community fridge ventures have sprung up across Milton Keynes, offering you somewhere to drop off unwanted food.
Whereas the MK Food Bank can only accept dried and canned foods, the community fridges can accept fresh food, including fruit and vegetables and bread. It also differs from the Food Bank in that anyone is welcome to take the food that is there.
The idea is to prevent food going to waste. The flagship one in Wolverton holds a free café every Thursday, serving up a wholesome lunch made from unwanted food.
If your New Year’s resolution involves learning a new skill or improving your cooking, then check out the local cookery schools to see what courses you can book in 2020.
These include Coldsmoking Cookery School and Milton Keynes Cookery School, as well as occasional classes from food vendors such as Saf’s Kitchen and Chin’s Kitchen.