Come and help plan the future of your Food Hub

Everyone is welcome to come to Stroud Brewery next Thursday 29th January to join our free planning meeting, discuss how to make the most of the success of Stroudco and manage its growing pains.  Stroudco has been growing steadily over recent months and we are now at the limits of the facilities we have at Stroud Valleys school.  As we are a not-for-profit social enterprise we will be looking at various ways forward including supporting other community groups to set up similar operations around Stroud.  CADCO Food Hub is already in the planning stages and hopes to start providing a similar service in Cam and Dursley later this year.

Stroudco is managed as a co-operative with the shoppers and the producers jointly owning and managing the business.  This will be a chance for everyone to chip in their ideas for the future of this social enterprise.

Following the success of our High Street pop-up shop on Goodwill evening, where many of our producers sold out all their stock, this will be another opportunity to buy direct from some of the Stroudco producers who will be there not only to contribute to the planning process but also to sell their wares and talk to people about their products.  There will be a definite ‘goaty’ theme this time with Lizzie Dyer from Just Kidding offering a range of mouth-watering cuts of kid meat which has been very popular amongst Stroudco shoppers.  Some say it is even richer and meatier than spring lamb and is much healthier than all our regular meats, being higher in protein and iron and lower in fat (especially saturated fats) than lamb, beef, pork or chicken and lower in cholesterol than any of these red meats.

Marie Yates from Goat Made Soaps will be bringing along her amazing range of soaps made from surplus milk from their goats in Thrupp.  A Stroudco shopper recently tweeted “We are in raptures over the Mint and Rosemary goat soap.  Such a fresh smell to wake up to, or to wash away the rammel of the day.  It has broken my son’s cold and the creamy lather with the mint scent is an excellent shampoo.  He smells edible!!  Try these soaps. You will be regularly buying them from now on.”

The meeting will also be an opportunity to find out more about the new Stroudco software which is in development.  One of the development team will be talking about his work with the Australians who have been piloting the Open Food Network and how the OFN software will revolutionise not only the Stroudco shopping experience but also the ease with which other communities around Storud can set up their own food hubs which can then cross-trade with Stroudco and make it even easier for local food and drink producers to sell direct to shoppers and/or through community food hubs.

Please come along to the meeting on Thursday 29th January from 8 to 9.30pm at Stroud Brewery, Hope Mill Lane – off the Cirencester Road GL5 2BU.  There is no entry fee.  To see the full range of local produce available on Stroudco Food Hub or to download a printable catalogue go to www.stroudco.org.uk

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Kate is ‘in raptures’ about the Stroudco soap

Here is what she emailed us about the Goat Made soap she bought through Stroudco: soap “We are in raptures over the Mint and Rosemary goat soap. Such a fresh smell to wake up to, or to wash away the rammel of the day.  It has broken my son’s cold and the creamy lather with the mint scent is an excellent shampoo: he smells edible!!  Try this, you will be regularly buying them from now on.”

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British-grown Quinoa to welcome in the Stroudco New Year

Stroudco is back to its weekly Saturday food drops at Stroud Valleys school next week (10th Jan – with orders due in by midnight Weds 7th) and is pleased to announce that our regular producer member, Hodmedod has added an exciting new product over the Christmas break.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a superfood which has been grown in Peru, Chile and Bolivia for thousands of years and formed the staple diet of the Incas and their descendants.  As demand for this ‘miracle grain of the Andes’ has soared over recent years, the price has tripled and it is now too expensive for most South Americans.  The local Andean population are now eating more cheaper imported junk food and land that once grew a multitude of diverse crops is now dedicated quinoa fields. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. So Stroudco was very pleased to find a source of UK-grown quinoa.

Hodmedod-Quinoa-500g

Peter Fairs’ family has been farming Warrens Farm since the 1850’s and has a long tradition of trying out new crops.  So he was excited when a professor friend brought him some quinoa seed back from a research trip to Peru.  Peter’s early experiments were unsuccessful but he bought and planted any additional seed he could get his hands on and made selections from the plants that grew.  He is now harvesting consistently good crops and has scaled up to sell through Hodmedods.  Peter is not a registered organic grower but uses no chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

So why are people so excited about quinoa?  Vegans see it as a nutritious substitute for meat with its high protein content – between 14%-18% which is twice as high as rice or barley.  It also contains all nine essential amino acids – including the elusive lysine and isoleucine acids, which most other grains lack.  Naturally high in dietary fibre, quinoa is a slowly digested carbohydrate, making it a good low-GI option.  It is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese and possesses good levels of several B vitamins and vitamin E.

Quinoa is high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which make it potentially beneficial for the prevention and treatment of disease.  Quinoa contains small amounts of the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in comparison to common cereal grasses has a higher content of monounsaturated fat.  Packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron it is also gluten-free and easy to digest.  The facts suggest it is as close to a perfect ingredient as you can get.

Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the grains and is actually in the same family as beets, chard and spinach.  Cooked quinoa seeds quadruple in size and become fluffy and creamy while maintaining a slight crunch.  It has a delicate and subtly nutty flavour and can be used as a breakfast cereal, with salads or as a side dish with a main course.

Don’t take my word for it – try it out along with the other Hodmedods products such as the tinned British Baked Beans made with home-grown fava beans or the dried black badger peas.

To see the full range of local produce available on Stroudco Food Hub or to download a catalogue go to www.stroudco.org.uk or just pop in and see the food hub in operation any Saturday from 11am to 1pm at Stroud Valleys School on Castle Street GL5 2HP

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Honey Roast Ham, Sausagemeat Stuffing, Streaky Bacon, Chipolata Sausages and much more for the last Food Drop until 10th Jan

For a traditional Christmas dinner Rob Holditch is offering fresh delivery of all these products on Saturday 20th: Chipolata Sausages, Smoked Streaky Bacon, Sausage Meat, Honey Roast Ham and his usual range of Dry Cured Back Bacon and Sausages – all delivered fresh.   Orders need to be in by midnight Wednesday 17th.  Here is the link to find our more or place an orderrob's honey roast ham

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Mince pies – special recipe from Beau’s Bakehouse – 4 pies for £2

Buttery homemade pastry filled with homemade whisky mince meat.

mince pies

Ingredients:

Pastry – Wheat flour, butter, icing sugar.

Mincemeat – Raisins, currants, brown sugar, vegetable suet, apple, whisky, mixed peel, orange zest and juice, spices.

4 pies for £2

Get your order in here

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Kidmeat Wraps, Hot spiced Almond Milk and Mince Pies at Stroudco Goodwill High Street Shop on Friday

Stroudco’s pop-up shop for Goodwill Evening will be at the top of the High Street (number 48) on Friday 5th December.  Ten of Stroudco’s producers will be there to showcase their products and talk to the public – many of them offering tasters and all of them bringing produce to sell.

You will be able to buy delicious roast kidmeat wraps carved and served by Cotswold Kidmeat farmer Lizzie Dyer who will also be offering a selection of cured kid skins and some amazing hats made from the kid skins.  KIN Juicery will be selling warming cups of hot, spiced almond milk and offering tasters of their delicious range of fresh, cold-pressed raw fruit and veg juices.  For desert you can buy delicious freshly made mince pies direct from the baker Jenni Willis.

Jenni will also be offering tasters of her range of delicious sourdough and gluten-free breads.  These will be complemented by a range of preserves and jams from Maryanne who will be offering a selection including her Caramelised Red Onion Chutney, Dumpsie Dearie Jam made with local apples, plums and pears and Zesty Blueberry Marmalade.

Marie and Chris from Goat Made Soaps will also be in the shop to chat about how they make their amazing soaps in Thrupp with their surplus goat milk and organic chea butter.  You will be able to try out some of their soaps and buy some special ‘stocking filler’ soaps.

Sarah Mace will be offering her fantastic Paleo or Primal breakfast cereals and snacks based on natural, unprocessed foods without any modern grains or sugars.  Sarah will be able to explain why her delicious, locally-made products are proving so popular with people who have food allergies and intolerances and those with auto immune and inflammatory illnesses.

Seb Buckton will be selling sweet, barn-dried walnuts from walnut trees that have never been sprayed – so even better than organic.

The Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen will be selling their fantastic Stroud tea towels – you can already see one in the window display of the shop at 48 High Street in readiness for Goodwill evening.  These towels which celebrate all they love about Stroud make great presents and they are only available through Stroudco.

Stroud Community Agriculture farmer Sam Hardiman will be bringing a selection of meat joints and freshly-harvested vegetables to sell.    Cotswold Kidmeat will not only be offering a range of delicious cuts and joints with farmer Lizzie Dyer explaining how they care for their kids rescued from the dairy industry; Lizzie will also be offering a selection of cured kid skins and some amazing hats made from the kid skins.

Finally of course, our Goodwill shop will be a last chance for anyone who has not yet put in an online order for their hand-made Christmas pudding from Jo Neale who will also be there offering mouth-watering tasters of hot Christmas pudding served with cream.

As well as all this local produce, we will be offering the Hodmedods beans and black badger peas, a selection of Stroudco’s store cupboard range bought in from Essential Trading – a workers co-op in Bristol who supply us with everything we cannot source locally.   There will also be several lovely Stroudco volunteers who can chat to you about how Stroudco works and hear your views on how we can improve your Food Hub.

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Last chance to order handmade Christmas puddings – online Wednesday or face-to-face on Friday

Christmas pud

Jo Neale will be at the Stroudco pop-up shop on Goodwill evening offering tasters of her delicious home-made Christmas puddings.  Jo started making these delicacies in her Thrupp kitchen twelve years ago – four years before Stroudco even started trading!.  Her family enjoyed them so much that she started making extra puddings as gifts and soon she was being asked if she could make even more to sell to friends of friends.

Jo’s Christmas puddings are lovingly made in small batches by hand.  She takes fair trade raisins, sultanas, currants, Bramley apples from her Dad’s garden, dark cane sugar, mixed peel, breadcrumbs, vegetable suet, flour, spices, flaked almonds, grated carrot, lemons, local free-range eggs and of course, brandy!  All the ingredients go into a large mixing bowl and Jo’s 10 year old daughter helps with the hand mixing.   She says “I feel like Christmas is just around the corner when I make Christmas puds with my mummy and it makes my home feel even cosier than it normally is!”   When the mixture is well-stirred it is potted up and simmered for 14 hours in an Aga until it is moist and cooked. The finished puddings are cooled, wrapped in muslin and then kept in a cool dark place to mature for a few weeks before Christmas.  This maturing process means that Jo’s deadline for orders will be 5th December – Goodwill evening.

Of course many of us who have tasted Jo’s Christmas puddings in previous years have already put in our orders on the Stroudco website, but if you want to taste them first, pop in on Goodwill evening to the Stroudco pop-up shop where you can meet Jo and her chief stirrer!

Next year Jo is planning to expand her range.  She will be using Stroudco to sell preserves made from fruit and veg grown on her allotment, her Dad’s apples and neighbours’ plums.  Jo has also set up a business partnership called Thrupp Bakers which will be offering cakes and pasties through Stroudco.  Jo has already been supplying cakes to Rush Skatepark who say “Thrupp Bakers have been providing us with homemade brownies and cakes for our café.  Our customers always look forward to a cup of coffee and a piece of delicious chocolate brownie.  They are excellent value and absolutely delicious.  We would highly recommend Thrupp Bakers”.

After some extensive taste testing Jo has also developed a pastry she is really proud of.  In September, Stroud Brewery (another Stroudco producer) kindly offered Thrupp Bakers the use their bar premises for lunches on the last Sunday of each month where they serve homemade pasties, pies, soup, fresh salads and desserts.  Feedback has been excellent with several customers saying that the flaky, buttery pastry was the best they have ever tasted. To try it for yourself, why not pop in to Stroud Brewery in Thrupp for lunch on Sunday 30th November.

Jo says she chooses to sell her produce through Stroudco, because she truly believes that a local food hub that supports small local producers, does not take a big cut and is a non-profit co-operative organisation is the way forward.  For her, Stroudco epitomises all that is good about locally produced, seasonal and high quality produce.

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