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Low Food Miles


I was very proud of the tomato salad I made for the church lunch today. The main ingredients – tomatoes and a garnish of basil – were fresh from the polytunnel and that can be boosted by the claims of being organic, artisanal (since it was all sliced and assembled by hand) and having a very low food miles count. About 3.3 according to Google maps if you count the full distance from those ingredients being picked to where they were consumed.

The other handy thing about using my own tomatoes was that I was able to pick the best ones for the purpose – some large, ripe red and yellow tomatoes in slices along with a few cherry tomatoes (halved) and some tiny but still-ripe fruits that were still attached to their green collars for garnish. This year we have grown five different varieties of tomato – Marmande, Alicante, Lizzano, Moneymaker and Golden Sunrise. Next year I think we might limit ourselves to just three but certainly to pick very distinct types of fruit; my harvest tallies have been accurate for the overall volume but somewhat hazy on the different types (particularly trying to distinguish Alicante from Moneymaker).

To be fair, my food miles boast doesn’t quite stack up. I also included a little garlic, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Each of those comes from much further afield. A truly local dish would have been possible but the one that relies on the worldwide basket wins out on the taste stakes.

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