When the South Manchester Food Assembly opened, I got very excited.
Fresh food, direct from producers, delivered to the bar next door to us in Stretford. The Food Assembly process is very simple, go online and create a profile. Then shop – ordering as many or as few of things as you’ll need. Fresh vegetables, meat, milk, even chocolates and cakes, can be added to your list and paid for, then collected from a central venue, in this case the Sip Club.
But it closed earlier this year. I admit, we hadn’t even used it as much in recent months. Primarily because the kitchen is kind of my domain and I’ve been so busy, I’ve not really spent much time in it. It makes me sad, and guilty, because it’s as much my fault as anyone else’s. Don’t use it, and you lose it.
But my second chance has come in the form of the Ancoats Food Assembly. Sure, it’s in the city centre, which means I have to journey there from work and head back out again, but it means again, I’m meeting suppliers, buying great produce and, even better, supporting them. Far more money goes to the farmers and makers through an assembly than it does through a supermarket.
As before, the process is easy. Register online (or just transfer over if you’re already on there like I was). Order whatever takes your fancy and pay online. Then collect, as I did, on a Thursday night after work from the Seven Brothers Beerhouse.
Refreshing pint as you do so is optional.
As well as many familiar faces such as Oakbank Farm, Abbey Leys Farm and Little Heath Farm. So our veg, eggs, pork and beef are all sorted. But there are also lots of new suppliers that have me rather excited.
If like me you’re a bit of a kimchi or sauerkraut fan, then Hello Pure have all the fermented goodies your tastebuds might require. Try their Thai style kimchi on a chicken burger. It’s delicious.
There’s fresh bread and bakes from Campanio Bakery (on my list for this week) and ready made food from Moveable Feasts – such as hummus, chutneys and veggie roasts.
Definitely going on this week’s shopping list is smoked salmon from Cheetham Hill. The family behind the Manchester Smokehouse have been smoking fish for over 100 years. No I didn’t know they existed either, so yeah, we’re going to need some of that.
And at the first collection I treated us to some pesto from The Pasta Factory. They’re offering fresh pastas and sauces, and having tried their pesto, I can tell you it’s most definitely worth it. The best pesto I’ve had, probably ever. So good, we’re currently fighting over the last bit in the tub. It’s a race to see who gets home to finish it first.
In fact this week I may have bought more than I can carry, so may need Mr GFB’s help getting it home.