I’m a big fan of meeting local food producers (remember my Orkney series?) Well, I’m excited today to share a new organisation for Inverness and the surrounding areas – a new way of doing your weekly food shop!
The Food Assembly is known nationally – it’s a local initiative that brings people together to buy fresh food directly from local producers. The difference between this and a Farmers Market is that customers order prior to collection.
Every week Food Assembly customers from the Inverness area can order food online from local producers before picking it up every Thursday – early evening at Fairways, at the south end of the city. What makes Inverness Food Assembly different is that all of the food comes from an average distance of 28 miles, compared to the 600 miles to get to a supermarket shelf.
Community is at the heart of The Food Assembly – it connects neighbours to farmers, neighbours to each other, and everyone to their food. By choosing to buy local, shoppers can support the Highland community, with 90p. from every £1 spent in the Inverness Food Assembly staying in the local economy.
It also ensures your money reaches the right people; food producers keep over 80% of sales for every product sold, compared to 15%-25% through supermarkets and of course there’s less food waste as all the food is ordered in advance. Using an iPhone app, laptop or iPad, weekly shoppers can choose from unique and award winning local products.
Producers who have signed up include: Black Isle Tarts, The Chocolate Place, The Oyster Shed,Rose Cottage Country Kitchen, Connage Dairy, Black Isle Veg Boxes, River Croft, Highland Drovers and Forest to Fork.
The Inverness Food Assembly is organised by local crofter, Michelle Anderson-Carroll along with help, support and encouragement from MFR presenter and local journalist Farmer Jones. Both are passionate in supporting and promoting local producers.
I made my own order for the very first event using the app on my phone, and was very impressed by the ease of which you can view and filter product types. The only negative I could see was that once your basket is checked out, you cannot change your order (I really should have ordered eggs, but I forgot!)
Pick up of our produce was easy enough, but as we had another appointment and didn’t want to get stuck in rush-hour traffic going back across town, we had to leave quite quickly so it meant that we couldn’t chat to the producers more. Hopefully we can in a future collection! It wasn’t easy choosing what to buy but in the end we settled for;
Hog Roast burgers from Knockfarrel Produce,
A huge vegetable box from Black Isle Veg Boxes which contained a huge array of vegetables, including salad leaves, coriander, ruby chard, pak choi, red Russian kale, purple sprouting broccoli and carrots – all grown on Fearniewell Croft on the Black Isle.
A couple of sweet treats from Little Kitchen Bakery based in Muir of Ord – a slab of mint aero rocky road for him, and white chocolate, macadamia and cranberry for me. Tasty indeed and Mr B already has eyes on ordering Aero cupcakes in future!)
I also ordered pork steaks from River Croft, which also handily were frozen which meant we can plan a really lovely meal with some of the veg box goodies. We’re already looking forward to next week’s Food Assembly!
Do you use a local Food Assembly? If you don’t have one nearby, start your own! Find out how you can get involved here.
*I write about things that I like and Inverness Food Assembly is one of them. I was not asked to positively endorse the organisation*