My Local Choice
After living on an island for five years where every scrap of food was imported from miles away, Julia Lambeth-Dawson thought she had landed in foodie paradise when she relocated to the KZN Midlands. “I was blown away by the taste and constantly commented to my friends about their good fortune at having such delicious food available.”
Julia set out to explore the artisan food landscape. Along the way she discovered incredible produce, passionate producers and, of course, serious deliciousness. She was frustrated though, that it was difficult to buy a selection of local food in one place. “I was annoyed when friends from Jo’burg came down for weekends loaded with groceries, but I did understand that it was not easy to source all what I was raving about without trekking about the countryside. I kept asking Notties Spar to stock this cheese and that flour.”
Late one night, Candice Strydom (owner of Notties Spar) mused on Facebook, “I cannot sleep. This is keeping me awake: What is ‘local food’ and how is it defined?” As chance would have it, Julia was also up late and responded immediately with her views and ideas. The two met up and within a day had hatched a plan to showcase delectable local produce in the supermarket and ‘My Local Choice’ was born. Since then, Candice has embraced her role of supporting (and mentoring) local suppliers.
The next step was to help shoppers use the fabulous ingredients to their full potential. “for example everyone agreed the local trout was best, but after buying it, many were unsure how to prepare it.” Julia, a writer and enthusiastic cook, thought that it was important to tell the good food stories and with Candice put together a delightful booklet that showcases a few Midlands producers and includes her creative recipes. The Winter edition is available now, with Spring in the pipeline.
Nottingham Road resident and shopper, Sue Moller is delighted at being able to buy more local produce easily. “I think Spar is doing a fantastic job promoting local. I remember the old days, before Bow and Arrow, when the choice in the village was very limited. Often we would find weevils in our morning cereal!” Julia feels that she will have succeeded in her mission to make local produce more accessible when “my girlfriends all shop local, rather than schlepping food from the city!”
Julia, in partnership with Spar, is creating a centre of excellence in the heart of KZN. How fortunate we are that she swapped her island life for boots, scarves, long walks and lazy Sunday lunches – some of our favourite Midlands things.
To find out more about local Midlands artisan producers and how to cook their delicious products Julia’s blog can be followed at http://www.familyfoodandcompany.com