Sitting at my computer with a little nervous anticipation, but determined to practice what I preach, I typed my postcode into the search box on www.bigbarn.co.uk (@findlocalfood). Up came a few options, and one even had a ‘£’ sign on it which was excellent news, there it was, as simple as that, I’d made my choice and decided to pay a visit Calcott Hall Farm Shop (@calcotthall) that morning. Fresh local produce here I come.
It was like a local farming wonderland, I expected to arrive and be directed to the corner of an old barn with someone selling some veg on top of a rickety old table. What I found as I drove down the long driveway that meanders through their fields full of crops, was a large but welcoming shop full of great food and delicious treats.
OK, I’m a bit of a ‘foody’ so I immediately started grinning like a Cheshire cat as I saw the displays and smelled the food on offer... Tomatoes that were a deep, rich, red; fresh beetroot with its distinctive colour, and locally grown asparagus just in season. And that’s to name just a few of the treats on display. For the first time in months I actually enjoyed the whole shopping experience, and now, I’m a convert. Every Saturday the bulk of my food shopping is now done at Calcott Hall. The experience is simply better, the food is the same price but the taste... oh my, the taste is out of this world. And the feeling of handing your hard earned money over to the person who grew and cut the produce, it’s just more fulfilling.
So how did I end up at Calcott Hall Farm?
I was introduced to Anthony Davison, founder of BigBarn, early this year and immediately warmed to him and his passion for connecting thousands of people to local food every day through his Community Interest Company. I shared two of his passions, one for good food and the other for supporting and promoting independent and local businesses. I knew then that I had to get involved. Causes you are this interested in and opportunities to help don’t fall into your lap every day.
BigBarn has been trading for 13 years and currently has some 6,500 members around the UK, of which 480 promote and sell their produce directly through www.bigbarn.co.uk. Anthony works tirelessly to promote his site through twitter and currently has over 14,500 followers. His following is growing fast and with the increasing awareness for supporting local business, organic food, and protecting our environment, it is surely only the beginning.
What could I do to help?
Well, I am delighted to announce that Annecto UK Ltd has agreed a partnership with BigBarn to offer all members’ preferential terms on their credit and debit card processing by switching to Annecto. All members who do switch will be offered full membership of BigBarn at a discounted rate of £50 per annum rather than the standard £90.
I’m really pleased that we have agreed to work together with the mutual aim of helping Farm Shops, Butchers and Delicatessens SAVE money on their card processing which will help them compete with the Supermarkets.
My experience was a great one and I’d love to hear about yours, go on, why not click on www.bigbarn.co.uk and find your local farm shop or butcher... I think you will be pleasantly surprised.