• 06/11/08
  • Comments: 6
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Finding commonly eaten foods locally may present a problem for us locavores.

I have been eating much of my food locally for about two years now and thought the following observations/methods may be informative to others. The sources provided are the geographically closest that I could find. If you do consider any of the following, maybe you could get free appliances from freecycle. I have seen all of the following advertised over the last year.

I also like to make my own commonly eaten foods as I know how they are made, and what they contain.

Organic Bread

I could not find a source of Scottish wheat and therefore have purchased this from Northern English farmers. I buy hard spring wheat (grown in England) by the 20kg sack. If you can find this more locally all the better.



There is lots of fancy (read expensive) equipment you could purchase for grinding flour. I used what I had, a coffee/spice attachment for my liquidiser. This has served me fine for two years now.

Wholemeal loaf is rather dense, so I do cheat by using 50/50 white flour with home ground wholemeal. You may ask why grind your own wholemeal flour at all. Well wholemeal flour quickly goes rancid if not treated by nasty chemicals. Read the following and you may take the same view.



Grain to loaf:


If you can be bothered baking the loaf by hand, this takes about 15 Minutes of needing which may put busy people off.

The above loaf took 5 minutes of work. 2 minutes grinding wheat and 3 minutes putting ingredients into my bread maker. Bread makers are now very cheap and will pay for themselves in less than a year.

Organic Pasta

Organic pasta is easily made using the above flours mixed with water or eggs. Roll out and make lasagne or Tagliatelle . Or get a past machine if you make a lot of pasta.

Organic Yoghurt

Mix a spoonful of natural yoghurt (Biopot or Rachaels Organic) with some milk and leave it in a warm place until it sets, easy. Then use your own yoghurt as the starter culture in future. Yoghurt makers can also be used which are just heater plates. A radiator works just as well. Do this in glass or plastic as yoghurt is acidic and reacts with metal.

Beer and Wine and Vinegar

Like most Scots I like an occasional :0) libation. Making your own wine and beer is a great hobby and is very cheap to get started (or zero on freecycle). Beer and wine can be made from local ingredients when you get into the hobby. Even if you use kits, its still far more environmentally preferable as only concentrates are being transported and bottles can be reused indefinitely.

Cloudy wine from the bottom of the fermenter makes great wine vinegar as it is left to oxidise allowing the yeast to settle out. You can obtain mother of vinegar from traditional vinegar makers.

I got mine kindly from the following and now have a barrel of my own vinegar.



I use this for cooking and pickling onions, shallots and beetroot from the garden.

Organic Ice cream

Local cream, milk, honey and eggs can be used to make ice cream. Best made using an ice cream maker but not essential.

Organic Lard/Dripping (this one is critical from a cancer point of view)

Have you ever heard the one about eating a lot of meat putting you at risk of cancer? Pollutants (pesticides fungicides, herbicides and untested GM grain) in animal feeds are most probably the cause of this. Organic meat should not contain these toxins which concentrate in animal fat. We are what we eat, and what we eat eats.

I cook using organic lard and beef dripping but could find no source of this local or otherwise. Most probably as the health conscious have been brainwashed into thinking these saturated fats are bad for them. Well here is how to make it.

Ask your local organic farmer (the one you buy meat from) for beef or pork fat (fat from any part of the animal is OK but the fat from round the kidneys is the best. I get my beef from Blackmount Organics at the local farmers market.


The last batch of fat I kindly got free with my meat order.

Cut the fat into 1cm cubes. Put them into a large soup pot. Put this onto the lowest heat on your cooker ring. Leave for several hours. The solids will float to the top and the lard/dripping will form a liquid below. Strain this with a metal colander and pour into containers. Keep in fridge or freezer and use as required.


Are cholesterol and saturated animal fat bad for you?

For some other alternative ideas on traditional diet see:


My next project is keeping chickens and bees. I’m making coups and hives from old pallets (lots to do).


  • Ahtahkakoop November 6, 2009 at 05:08

    I am on a 1,500 calorie diet, and I always have trouble finding foods that are satisfying without it having alot of calories. Anyone have any recipes or ideas of some food?

  • Graeme November 17, 2008 at 23:49

    Thanks for that, the website you gave a link to was quite something, very detailed!

  • Matthew November 12, 2008 at 21:17

    Hi Graeme, You can read all sorts of American (the end is nigh) sites about food storage. There are many convoluted methods for long term storage. By long term, I mean nuclear war or the collapse of society (think mad max). These include oxygen removal, nitrogen atmosphere and Diatomaceous earth etc. These methods kill insects and many more. Since we have not as yet reached the end is nigh (I hope), you can ignore most of this storage advice. Some of these sites contain valuable information though, so they are worth a read, don’t write them of for their extremism.
    Sometimes the best information is found in the strangest places. e.g.


    If your house is dry and not running with mice, then a sack of grain should store well for months on end. A sack lasts me 6 to 7 months and I have not had any problems. If your worried about mice keep the sack in a 5 gallon brewing bin. I’m on my third sack and as yet have not had any problems. I hope this helps reduce any worries.


  • Graeme November 12, 2008 at 01:35

    I was wondering how well does a 20kg bag of grain keep in a domestic situation? Do you have any advice on storage techniques or am I getting my knickers in a twist ?


  • Zillah November 10, 2008 at 20:14

    We have found the meeting of Nourishing Traditions/Weston Price ideas with the Fife diet extremely beneficial, both in terms of the fantastic food and our feeling of health and wellbeing. We get suet at the Edinburgh farmers market from Mrs Hamilton’s. Haven’t yet sorted out a lard supply.

    Here is our latest successful Fife-ish recipe

    Fife-ish Farinata (serves 6)

    Farinata is a Ligurian speciality, a savoury pancake made with chickpea flour. We’ve been experimenting with peasemeal in order to get some local pulses into our diet. The peasemeal comes from Golspie Mill in Sutherland, so not exactly Fife, but the closest we’ve found for dried pulses.

    300g peasemeal
    1 litre tepid water
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tblspn sea salt
    110 ml olive oil, plus more for cooking. I think you could do this with lard, for a more authentic Scottish experience, but we haven’t experimented that far yet.
    2 sprigs worth of fresh rosemary leaves.

    In a large bowl whisk the peasemeal into the water, pouring the meal in slowly. Add salt, and pepper, stir and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

    Preheat oven to very hot, or preheat grill.

    Skim off any foam which has risen to the top of the batter. Stir in 110 ml oil.

    Heat a tablespoon of oil in an oven-proof frying pan (a crepe pan would be ideal). When oil is very hot pour in about 100ml of batter. The pancake should be very thin, about 2-3mm. Sprinkle with some rosemary leaves. Put in the oven, or under the grill and cook for about 10 minutes. It can be tricky to get out of the pan. Use a good thin spatula, if the middle is sticking, it probably needs a little more cooking.

    The basis for this recipe is ‘Farinata al rosmarino’ from River Cafe Cook Book Green by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray.

    If anyone has any other good ways with peasemeal, I’d love to know!


  • fifediet November 7, 2008 at 21:03

    Thanks for the great posts Matthew.