Autumn is finally here and the winter social calendar is hotting up as the temperature cools down. With no less than three dinners with friends this week, I’m on the hunt for some decent seasonal vegetables. This is one of the reasons I love this time of year. We tend to hunker down and spend decent time with friends round the table or on a walk scuffing leaves, rather than trading comments whilst doing the gardening or playing email tennis to find a date where neither party is at a summer wedding or off on holiday. I can’t wait!
I’m heading into the local market town for the traditional afternoon market stall set up, where you can buy everything from an entire boar (should the mood so take you) to a carpet ‘straight from Persia’, or a pair of lovingly knitted socks. I love supporting stallholders who grow, make or bake their own produce, although I’ve never yet found a use, or freezer space, for a whole roast pig. There are some real characters bantering away with all the shoppers. Somehow it makes me feel more grown up to shop this way, rather than pushing a trolley round the nearest supermarket. It’s nice to have a conversation with the chap who sells eggs because his wife wanted him to ‘have an interest’ after he retired. It’s great to know he’s really passionate about animal welfare and that if I was so inclined I could go and see his happy chickens with their evil beaks and beady eyes, roaming happily over a huge field. One of my worries about modern food production is chicken health and welfare. Now that’s a conversation you can’t have easily in a supermarket.
I’m after beets, sweet potato, squashes and root vegetables. I’m also after double sided sticky tape, the remaining Christmas cards – having woefully undercatered for this year’s batch – and some advice on how to stop the washing machine squeaking from the man on the plant stand.
And I think my sock drawer might be running a little low.