Today the farmer and I have been to the supermarket to do our weekly shop. He has to come with me because I still have not got a driving licence since my illness. I must say that he is very patient and uncomplaining and follows me round while I take things off the shelves and put them in the trolley. But today he got very irritated and so did I.
Outside there is a huge poster which says "We support local farmers and local produce."
When I tried to buy tomatoes, out of the twelve different sorts on offer only one was from Cheshire in the UK - the rest were all from Holland. In July? Do you mean to tell me it is impossible to buy British tomatoes in July?
Then we moved on to the meat. British pork? Oh no - plenty from Holland (where pigs are kept on slats) and plenty from Denmark and Germany. Chicken breasts - some were from France.
In fact - once you start reading the labels you become obsessed with it. I feel very strongly about this and, being a farmer's wife, will willingly pay a bit more for British products (although why this should be necessary when the farmers get such a poor return for their money and where the produce has less mileage to come I can't imagine).
When we were on holiday we sat chatting to a fruit farmer from Norfolk UK, who had just retired and sold out. When we remarked that he looked young to retire, he agreed that he was not retiring age. But he could no longer cope with the demands of the supermarket. They required British Cox's Orange Pippins to have ten percent red on them and it all had to be on one side. This meant that he had to cross pollinate with another species in order to fulfil that requirement. Then the packing regulations became so stringent and batches were rejected for the slightest error, so he got out.
Were there any British apples on the fruit counter today? Sorry, only New Zealand, South Africa, France - just good old British Bramleys for cooking. I wonder how long it will be before they begin interfering with those.
We found this very depressing - yes I know we do not have to shop at the supermarket but it is convenient, it is clean, well-set-out, the staff are pleasant. It has everything going for it. But give me our local market on a Friday for my fruit and vegetables in future because getting it from the supermarket has become too depressing.