Buying local food on holiday lessens your impact on the environment and supports the local economy. And it's a delicious way to explore all that a region has to offer!
Above: Grasmere Gingerbread is freshly made in the heart of the Lake District
One way to lessen the environmental impact of a holiday is to support local businesses in the area you're visiting.
In the UK there's an astonishing range of delicious, locally produced food and drink to sample. Buying such produce is good for the environment, as the energy used to get it from farm to fork is minimal. Often there's a lot less packaging too, with many producers sourcing biodegradable, eco-friendly alternatives.
By supporting the local economy you can give back to the communities you are visiting on your holiday – and that's especially important in these difficult times when many small businesses have been struggling as a result of the pandemic.
Not only that but locally produced food often tastes superb too. It's usually top quality, and fresher – and sometimes cheaper – than non-local alternatives. Many local food producers have won awards for their produce – and you'll know exactly where your food has come from.
It's not hard to find local producers in whichever region of the UK you're visiting – try searching the website for ideas.
Here are five of our favourite local food heroes.
A destination in itself, is an eco farm store and healthy kitchen in Somerset, providing an exciting new place to stop along the A303 – either en-route to the holiday spots of the South West or while exploring some of Somerset's fantastic attractions.
TEALS offers high-quality, individually sourced food, drink, gifts and treats. Reflecting the philosophy of TEALS itself, most of the brands available are small batch, family-run, artisan and with a strong ethical and sustainable ethos.
TEALS is powered by renewable energy and is a highly energy efficient – and attractive – building which blends into the landscape. It was built during lockdown by local businesses using reclaimed timber – with trees planted to help offset the build.
The colourful food market is packed with sustainably sourced products, and offers delicious treats including pink grapefruit and lemon marmalade, black bee honey and freshly baked bread. Or stock up on fresh meats from the nearby hills; award-winning, locally churned cheeses; and the finest Somerset cider. A restaurant overlooking the sunny apple orchard serves breakfast and lunch (currently at outside tables, with some covered seating) as well as locally ground coffee and tasty snacks to take away. It's a wonderful place to take a break and refresh on a long journey.
, 1 Orchard Lane, South Cadbury, Somerset BA22 7FS
Grasmere Gingerbread, Lake District
Still made to a secret recipe that was invented in 1854 by Victorian cook, Sarah Nelson, is delicious and unique.
This crumbly confection has a sweet and spicy flavour that's really quite addictive. The gingerbread is baked fresh every day in a tiny house – once Sarah Nelson's home – in the centre of the village. If you can't find it, just follow your nose – the mouthwatering scent of the baking gingerbread wafts around the streets of the picturesque village.
Today, the business is run by third-generation owners Joanne and Andrew Hunter. The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop also sells its own award-winning rum butter and a variety of ginger-themed foodstuffs, as well as toffee, fudge, chocolates and conserves. Other locally produced treats on sale in the shop include Cartmel Village Store Sticky Toffee Sauce and Kendal Mint Cake.
, Church Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9SW
Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses, Pembrokeshire
was established in 1983 and is a family-run business on a small traditional Welsh Hill Farm located in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains at Rosebush in Pembrokeshire.
David, Cynthia and Jason Jennings produce their cheeses using locally produced milk to unique self-developed recipes. The result is a range of mouth-watering, traditional handmade cheeses. Try award-winning Oak Smoked Cerwyn, traditionally cold-smoked using wood from sustainable forests, with a creamy texture and delicate smokey tang. Or Heb Enw (Goats Milk Cheese) with a smooth texture and delicate flavour. All Pant Mawr cheeses are made with vegetarian rennet, so are suitable for vegetarians.
All the pre-packed cheeses are wrapped in eco-friendly packaging – and to offset the company's carbon footprint more than 5,000 British native trees have been planted in a field on the farm.
, Pant Mawr Farm, Rosebush, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire, SA66 7QU
Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop, Peak District
Shopping at the award-winning is a delight. As well as offering an extensive selection of meat, bread, eggs and cakes produced on the estate and prepared in the on-site butchery and bakery, the Farm Shop showcases some of the very best produce that Derbyshire has to offer.
This includes products from small local companies, such as Brock and Morten, whose cold-pressed rapeseed oil is produced on the Chatsworth Estate at Ashford-in-the-Water, and Holdsworth chocolates, which are handmade in Bakewell.
Or sample some of the regions delicious beers, including Peak Ales, which are brewed nearby.
One of the most impressive areas of the Farm Shop is the deli counter – and in particular, the extensive range of imaginative vegetarian savouries. These include homity pies, tomato and mozzarella tartlets and sweet potato and goats' cheese scotch eggs.
Meat eaters also have plenty to choose from, including 12 different varieties of ready-to-cook chicken breast – try piri piri, chicken Kiev or lemon and coconut. There's also a mouth-watering range of ready meals and sausages – all prepared in the on-site butchery.
, Pilsley, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1UF
Bay Kitchen and Stores, Isle of Arran
Islands are often home to fabulous local produce, and Arran is no exception – sampling a few of the island's culinary delights is one of the highlights of a visit.
The Isle of Arran Cheese Shop produces a range of different flavoured cheddars. Try chilli, herb or cracked black peppercorn, preferably served on an Arran oatcake made by Wooleys – a traditional family bakery that has produced baked goods on the Isle of Arran for generations.
To go with the cheese and oatcakes, add some chutney from Arran Fine Foods – tomato and red pepper or spicy beetroot are excellent choices.
For beer drinkers, try one of the award-winning beverages from the Isle of Arran Brewery. These are created with water from the island and natural ingredients, using traditional brewing methods. A range of whiskeys and gins is also produced on Arran.
The Bay Kitchen and Stores at Whiting Bay is a good place to stock up on many of these local goodies, with fresh bread, cakes and locally grown fruit and vegetables also on offer. It stocks an impressive range of vegan foods too.
, Shore Road, Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran KA27 8PZ
Green Adventures April 2021