Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a lot to answer for. Last night I watched the Channel 4 programme in which HFW attempted to persuade Tesco to change its policy and stock free range chicken instead of those poor flabby barn-raised ones.
What really incensed me was Tesco's attitude in general (making Hugh foot the £85,000 bill for the postage costs; on-camera and off-camera interviews etc). It is far too easy to rely on Tesco. I'm forever banging on about this, but then 'just popping in' for something (pesto, for example) and coming out with our food shopping. (I was going to describe it as our weekly shop, but I only manage to get to a supermarket about once or twice a month - it's 17 miles away and local shops are just more convenient. It almost makes going to such a palace of consumption a bit of a treat. I said almost.)
So this morning, in need of a bit of green grocery I popped out to Narberth (a mere 11 miles away) a nice little town, twinned with Ludlow no less, and filled a bag full of lovely things from the oddly-named Wisebuys. Its name makes it sound like a pound shop, but it is a large deli-style place. Possibly the only place in Pembrokeshire you can get wasabi, for example. It also sells bunches of herbs in buckets, smoked things from local farmers (and Scottish ones too). It probably sells pesto (I must check).
It sells good quality fruit and veg too, such as the monster comice pears I bought this morning. These pears would be far too big for the likes of Tesco, but are pears like I remember from our comice tree in Worcestershire. On slightly breezy sunny pear ripening days the ponies and I used to stand beneath the mighty comice waiting for it to drop its fragrant bounty (it was about half a mile tall - or seemed so.) One gust of breeze and a soft, perfectly ripe pear the size of a small football would plummet to the ground. If it hit you it bloody hurt. Then you'd have to fight two ponies for it, but the taste was worth it... ah, memories.
Anyway, also available today was purple sprouting broccoli. I phoned my husband to brag and then ate all of it lightly steamed with a poached egg, lots of black pepper and a dash or two of tamari. A simple pleasure, a lovely treat, and all thanks to the hard work of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the stubborn intransigence of bloody Tesco.