Friday, 14 December 2012

SHOCKingly good local produce

Here in Enfield we are experiencing an exciting new phenomenon: the SHOCK Cash Mob. Conceived and brought to fruition by the seemingly tireless Karen Mercer, owner of the wonderful My Coffee Stop at Enfield Chase railway station, the SHOCK Cash Mobs are a fun, engaging and inclusive way to get people to think about using independent local businesses rather than falling back on the big supermarkets out of habit (as so many of us do). The idea is really very simple: a group of people (opting in via the Facebook page)  gather at a pre-arranged meeting point, each clutching a tenner which they pledge to spend in whichever local shop Karen has picked for that day.  Nobody (except Karen) knows in advance where it will be and the shop owner is also kept entirely in the dark.  The first unsuspecting recipient of the enterprise was Jill Simpson at The Village Wholefood Store and it was a tremendous success, bringing new customers to the shop. They then went on to spread the word via Facebook about both the SHOCK Cash Mobs and the shop itself. The SHOCK Cash Mobs have since hit several other businesses with similarly joyous results all round. We have so many really great local independent businesses in Enfield, even before you consider the wonderfully eclectic market that opperates on Thursday, Friday & Saturday (everything from books to basques to bags to baking to Brussels sprouts).  It seems such a shame that it is still so much easier to fall into the supermarkets than to make the effort to get really inspired by the great food options on our doorsteps. This of course is true of villages, towns and cities all over the country, not just in our corner of Northern-most London.

Before the big reveal

Last Sunday I went along to my first Shock Cash Mob and great fun it was too!  We met at Enfield Chase station & there was a palpable air of excitement as we all posed for photographs with our ten pound notes and waited for the big reveal... The destination was to be Botany Bay Farm Shop (no website to link to - sorry) slightly out of town, set on farm grounds.  Apart from the fact that the poor woman running the shop (not the business owner I should state) was more than a little taken aback at being suddenly besieged by a rowdy gang of about fourteen adults and seven children, it was a resounding success in terms of a shopping experience.  

Arrival at Botany Bay

Some of the Mob crowding into the shop with our tenners
As the children went to investigate the various dogs, donkeys, ducks & chickens dotted around the place, we grownups fell to shopping with vigour. Outside is a barn filled with really beautiful seasonal fruit & vegetables, displayed in baskets and boxes around the walls.  Inside the shop is where to find the meat section (always my first destination) at the back and a staggering array of eggs (and what a choice of egg varieties too!) biscuits, cakes, jams, chutneys, dairy products, sweets, drinks and other ridiculously tempting treats.  Back to the meat though: all the meat here is free range of course and the pork products all from Gloucester Old Spot pigs.  

Perusing the produce



I was fairly restrained, buying only some properly smokey thickly cut streaky bacon, an impressive slab of belly pork, a couple of rib eye steaks and some diced beef for stewing.  Having polished it all off now, I can tell you that it was absolutely of the highest quality.  The stewing beef made a hearty goulash, the belly became a slow cooked treat in a SE Asian broth (no surprise there to those who know me) and the bacon & rib eye both shone on their own as the butcher intended.   The thing that I found really stunning was that I came away with a large haul of fresh vegetables and all the meat listed above but parted with only £25!  Had I bought the same things in any one of the big supermarkets, the produce would have been vastly inferior and the price tag much higher. So, slightly grumpy service notwithstanding, Botany Bay comes very high on my list of favourite local places to stock up on a week's worth of food.

1 comment:

  1. What an excellent report on the event, accurate, descriptive and so many juicy words. Thanks so much for coming along and taking part. Xx