All the Wine that's fit to drink?
Huttonian has much sympathy with the letter published in last week's Berwickshire
(which I have only just seen thanks to the inability to find a copy in the main Palmers Green newsagent; for goodness sake. They had Le Monde, USA today,the Dandy, The Guardian but no Berwickshire News.
As follows:SIR, - I hope that I'm not your only reader who read last week's item on how Morrison's is celebrating April with a promotion of "all things French" with some sadness and growing anger, when just a few pages on, the headlines included "Concern as pig crisis worsens" and "Fair deal sought for farmers."
Was it an early April Fool's Day joke that they are "the only retailer to sell fresh oysters and crab that have never previously been frozen"? Surely not? When I last looked, excellent fresh local crab was available landed at Eyemouth from local fish merchants such as Collins,' whilst only a few miles away some of the best oysters in the world are available at Lindisfarne - so good they had sold before I'd even got to Kelso farmer's market!
Those of us who are privileged to live in Berwickshire are not just surrounded by stunning scenery, but are lucky enough to live surrounded by a whole host of wonderful food producers. Those lambs now appearing in the fields are not just window dressing, but a reminder that great lamb (and mutton, and beef, and pork too) is produced locally by a whole host of farmers. Whilst their produce can't always be found at the supermarket, you'll find it at the great independent butchers we are still lucky enough to have here in Duns and at Norham and Berwick. Farmers’ markets, also nearby at Berwick and Kelso - but sadly not yet in Duns - give a great introduction to local produce and its producers, whilst increasingly some innovative farmers such as Peelham and Reiver are becoming both direct suppliers as well as farmers.
Meat isn't all that is on the local menu either and a wide range of locally produced food is increasingly available. Duns now has a great greengrocers where produce is clearly labelled as "organic" or much better, as "local," whilst the friendly deli has a range of local cheeses and locally smoked fish among the chorizo and pasta that we love too.
Nearby are Stitchill's wonderful dairy products and Windsheil's organic eggs, whilst Berwickshire now has its own organic box scheme from Tweed Valley Organics.
We even have our own locally produced oil in Olefiera, just over the border Carrolls are supplying heritage varieties of potatoes to some of the country's most famous restaurants whilst locally shot game has always been in demand. On wine I though I'd be stumped until I discovered that Prentice's in Duns were stocking wine from a Berwickshire-owned vineyard (albeit in South Africa) but over in Ayton, Peelwalls are making a whole range of individual wines from each of the classic grape varieties!
If you want a true taste of France this month why not try some local produce? After all, as we still eat our own produce too rarely, the best is frequently shipped to France where they really do appreciate it. There is a lot of great local produce out there and it deserves our support when we can - just occasionally why not ask "is it local?" Bon appetit!
Yes, Sir Morrisons is notable for its reluctance to support local produce-'Central purchasing-economies of scale-value for the customer' is their defence Supporting the local community-forget it.
The writer, in his list of local produce has overlooked the virtually unknown* Hutton Wine Industry run by the viniculture wing of the Hutton Think Tank. Only a small production, 9 bottles in 2007 (not a great
vintage, admittedly) but one which has aroused comment amongst the cognescenti.
The Hutton Hill
was described in the 'Gourmet Grocer' as 'redolent of rural aromas, warm, with a strong astringent appeal, requiring a good strong nose...memorable...slurry without its sting..a worthy companion to Haggis' The 'Australian Wine Buff' correspondent ( a Mr M.Python) with perhaps a touch of envy for an outstanding non-Oz product was less forthcoming:
'A Wine for laying down
(*perhaps that why it was overlooked? Blog-ed)
The image is of the last bottle of the 2006 cru- 'Whiteadder Red': 'The Perfect Companion to a Strong Curry'-the Readers Digestion Guide to Unusual Drinks
Labels: Hutton Think Tank, Local wine, Sir Morrison's