Monday, 26 January 2009

Cusgarne Organic Farm

I interviewed Greg Pascoe, an organic farmer who runs Cusgarne Organic Farm the other day. He's a gregarious fellow, very intelligent, good company, and a thinker. He has been described as “what Liam Neeson would look like if he was a farmer” so you can imagine I had a very enjoyable few hours.

He is passionate about eating decent, fresh, organic food that is local (not flown from the other side of the world) and is also very concerned about the farming industry. I heard on the radio the other day that the average age of a farmer is 58. As Greg said, “it doesn't take a mathematician to work out what will happen to farming in the next ten years. Farmers' sons don't want to take the work on because it's too hard, the hours are too long, you can't make a living and you can't find any woman who'd want to share that life.”

He is also very concerned about the fact that few people buy local produce (though farmers' markets are helping that).

He said, “The way I see it, most people are stuck in a situation where they don't care about the countryside; they don't care that they are supporting supermarkets who are screwing producers in this country and screwing their neighbours – they don't care that the countryside that they look at is where their food comes from. By supporting that regime they are helping the destruction of a way of life. Also they're paying quite a lot for that privilege”

He continued, “According to a book called “Tescology”, 50% of people who shop in Tesco's come out feeling depressed, and here in Cornwall over 50% of their grocery bill is spent in the Tesco in Truro.

“I'd like people to be aware of that and I think people can do more good with the way they spend money than with their vote. They can make more difference more quickly and do it every week.”

The recession is hitting us all, but his prices, for vegetables in particular, are generally lower than the supermarkets – so what do you think?

Would you – or do you – buy your vegetables and meat locally, cutting out the supermarket?

20 comments:

JJ said...

Well, it's different here for us because we can't find out where our food is from - because of the language problems. When/if we're back in the UK, I think a more local approach is the ONLY way.

Flowerpot said...

JJ - good for you!

Elaine said...

I always go to the farmer's market when it's in town (and spend far too much money!) but it's difficult getting out and about to other places with no transport. I do try to buy locally sourced produce in the supermarket though. I think knowing what is IN our food and where it has come from is crucial these days.

I have considered getting local organic veg delivered, but at the moment the only option is to buy a box of whatever they decide to put in it, and unfortunately, a lot of it would be wasted as I'm here on my own.

Great post, FP.

Aoj and The Lurchers said...

I buy all my fruit, veg and meat at our local Sunday market and only buy groceries at the supermarket - and I NEVER EVER shop at Tesco.

Unfortunately, living in SW London, our Farmer's Market produce is priced accordingly and it's stupidly expensive.

Flowerpot said...

Elaine - good for you. I quite agree.

AOJ - very impressed to hear you have a Sunday market. I bet it's expensive but good for you for boycotting TEsco - not easy.

MarmiteToasty said...

I get a box delivered :).... and inbetween I buy from the farmers market and off little roadside tables in the next village of things that are in season...

We still have a little village greengrocers so thats always nice and fresh to...

x

ChrisH said...

We're actually poorly served for farmers' markets here. The supermarkets (such as they are) have got the monopoly.

Flowerpot said...

marmie - you sound well catered for and a proper village greengrocer - they must be nearly extinct now!

Chris - and I'm sure you're not the only ones.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Good interview. We do try to buy our produce locally. We have a regular farmer's market in our local town which is a wonderful way to buy. We also have a great butchers in the next village, expensive but well worth the cost.

CJ xx

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I would buy my meat locally if I could afford it on my small budget. Lunch meats is what I want and I want them to come from well treated animals that have been raised in good conditions and slaughtered humanely. I don't mind paying a little bit more, but it can't cost a fortune. I don't have the money for it.

Akelamalu said...

I buy my beef and pork from the farm just down the road where they rear their own animals and they deliver for free. I buy Lamb from an organic farm in Wales who deliver for free if your order is over £80, not difficult to spend if you buy a whole lamb at a time. I would never buy meat from the supermarket. I have toyed with the idea of having a box of organic fruit and veg delivered but even their small boxes would be too much for MWM and I, however we have just discovered some allotments nearby that sell fresh produce so will be giving that a whirl soon. :)

Ellee Seymour said...

Yes, and I do when I can, it's often cheaper than the supermarkets too. I'm just watching Hugh on TV taking on Tesco over their cheap chickens and the inhumane way they are reared.

the rotten correspondent said...

We have a food co-op here during the growing season. A group of farmers comes to town once a week with their goods, and for a set fee you get a huge bag of lovely, organic produce. We always have a choice of items and it's all terrific.

As the growing season winds down, they switch to things like honey and nuts, to extend it a few weeks.

I love it. It isn't dirt cheap, but it's delicious and I feel like I'm supporting our local growers.

Flowerpot said...

Crystal - good. I'm trying to encourage Himself to think that we can eat less meat but better stuff and that way it wont cost any more.

FTW - I quite agree.

Flowerpot said...

Ak - that sounds good re the meat, and as for allotments - a friend has just started one and we were thinking of doing the same thing!

Ellee - I meant to watch that but went out to the pictures instead.

RC - a food cooperative sounds good. We have the same sort of thing here with farmers markets.

Lane said...

I do what I can but here's the thing. Travelling into town means petrol, time and car parking costs. Travelling out to farmers markets means the same. And of course you still have to go to the ordinary shops for the basics.

It's a tough one fp:-)

Philipa said...

Yes I do.

It's cheaper too.

Have you noticed that you spend more in a supermarket because there is so much stuff? How many of you go to the supermarket with a list of only what you NEED and only buy that?

Flowerpot said...

Lane - I quite agree. I am fortunate in being within walking distance of a farmers market but for those who don't I know it's a real conundrum.

Flowerpot said...

|Phil - I agree its very tempting to be swayed by the sheer volume of stuff in a supermarket. We put aside a set amoutn each week for food shopping so we're on a fairly tight budget; having said that we've kept having to put more into teh kitty the last few weeks.

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