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Bungay greengrocer Simon Thompson on the fruit and veg to get you through lockdown
November usually brings greengrocers a lot of pleasure as perennial favourites such as Brussel sprouts and Jerusalem artichokes return to our shelves. This year, our excitement has been curtailed by the arrival of another national lockdown.
I cannot stress how important it is to keep supporting local businesses. Companies such as Amazon are not going to go out of business during times like these, but your local independent shops could, and this fear is very real both here among my fellow traders on Earsham Street and beyond.
With Christmas fast approaching, we need to support each other and not the billion-dollar companies who will survive any storm. And that is where we come in, your local greengrocer, butcher, deli, fishmonger, baker – everyone! So many of you use us time and time again for our service with a smile, and we need you to continue to do so now and tell your friends at the same time.
We are ramping up our home delivery once more, to make it even easier for people to have their weekly stash of scrummy fruit and vegetables, and so much of it is grown locally and thus supports local farmers and producers in turn.
The first flavours of the festive season are starting to appear in my shop – not just those fabulous Brussel sprouts but also chestnuts and cranberries. Sprouts with chestnuts is such a classic combination – just add some pancetta from Maisebrook Farm for a delicious dish. As ever, sprouts always taste better after the first frost but looking at the long-term forecast, I don’t think we have too much longer to wait for that!
Winter squashes are also full of flavour at this time of year – the season goes on much longer than just Hallowe’en! I love to slice them and then roast them with some herbs and rapeseed oil – sometimes, great ingredients need very little doing to them to create something truly delicious.
For those who love game, celeriac is great right now for making a purée, while pomegranate lends exotic flavours to both meat and vegetarian dishes. Apples and pears are both great right now, so there is no excuse not to get baking – heaven knows we all need a treat right now.
Above all, shop local, be kind, and together we will get through this. Hopefully by Christmas, our local high streets will be bustling once more. Just remember, come rain or shine, we are here for you.