Six very sensible reasons to skip the supermarket
Why you should know where your food comes from
Ham, salami, chorizo. Just a few of the guilty pleasures most foodies can’t live without. But the recent listeriosis outbreak, traced to an Enterprise food facility in Limpopo, and Woolworths’ subsequent announcement of all the foods it is recalling, has really provided food for thought. The truth is, when we shop at supermarkets, we have absolutely no idea where our food comes from.After hearing some of the horrors of what goes on in dairy farms, I recently made a point of only buying dairy from free-range, grass-fed cows, one of the milks I buy regularly now being Mooberry Farms. In December they made sure to update customers on their Facebook page, sharing their test results to assure us their dairy products were listeria-free.
“In light of the recent outbreak of listeria we wanted to assure all of our customers that our milk has just been confirmed free from the listeria virus and have attached the latest lab results to give you all peace of mind that the milk you are drinking is free from this disease.”Isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t we know where our food comes from and have direct access to the people who make it? Who knows where or in what conditions the milk from our supermarkets is made?This got me thinking and I chatted to chef James Diack, owner of Johannesburg restaurants Coobs, The Federal, The National and Il Contadino. A “pioneer of provenance”, Diack feels incredibly strongly about knowing where your food comes from, which is why 90% of the food served at his restaurants is seasonal, organic produce right off his family farm, Brightside, in the Magaliesburg.
Here are Diack’s top tips to make sure that you are getting the good stuff for home cooking and not being duped into buying so-called organic, locally sourced ingredients:
Choose smaller suppliers who are generally more honest about where their produce is from and how it was grown.
Buy your meat from the local butcher who can tell you where the animal came from and how it was raised.
Source a farmers’ market near to you and visit it weekly to stock up on fresh goods. You will notice the seasonal ingredients because they are prominently and repetitively featured at each stand.Don’t go to the market with a particular recipe in mind. Wait to see what’s on offer, have a cup of coffee and then plan your dinner around what’s available.
Shop at your local greengrocer instead of your supermarket chain.
Eat out at restaurants you know share the same values as you do.