While supermarkets sell fresh fruit and vegetables labelled as organic, this is really not the best quality food you can buy. The main problem is that it is picked a long time before it is ripe, and some of it can be very old, for example apples can be over a year old (they are stored in special storage rooms with no oxygen and different gasses to keep them looking fresh, although nutritionally they are inferior.) Most of this food will come from large scale industrial farms, often imported from far away.
The place to get the best quality organic food is direct from a local farmer. In many parts of the UK you can find farmers markets where you can buy locally produced, freshly picked, ripe fruit and veg, some of which is also organic. There are also farm shops, some of which are excellent, although be aware as some sell produce not produced by the local farm, so check what you are buying. And if you want to be even more picky about the food you are eating, you could try one of the “Pick Your Own” farms! There is an excellent website with an interactive map of farmers markets, farm shops and pick your own covering the whole of the UK here: FARMA (National Farmers Retail & Markets Association).
London also has a couple of specific websites, the main London Farmers Markets website also with an interactive map of lots of markets across London, plus also City & Country Farmers Markets which runs a few more markets including the excellent Alexandra Palace market on Sundays.
While talking about farmers markets in London, I must also mention Borough Market. This is a large market at London Bridge which has a combination of direct from the farm stalls with fruit and veg, raw milk, cream and cheese, local meat (including wild meat) plus also other speciality food with non local food including cheese from France and excellent olives from Turkey. I love this market and always go when I’m in London. It can be expensive for some things, this is quiet a tourist attraction so not somewhere for regular shopping, although great for special extras.
Of course if you are looking for the best quality organic dried foods, remember to check out the Funky Raw online shop.
What’s your favourite farmers market or farm shop?
Today for the first time we finally went to SAF and I’ve got to say I was very impressed. It wasn’t a planned trip so I didn’t have my camera with me, but good to know you don’t always have to book in advance.
For starters we shared a “cheese tasing plate”. Three types of raw vegan cheese, bread, crackers, marmelade, apple slices and celery sticks, beautifully presented. The macadamia nut cheese was very much like dairy cheese whilest the two cashew cheeses were more like patés, all three were delicious.
For main course I had Pad Thai, couldn’t fault it, lots of flavour, well presented and a good portion size. Jolita had the lasagne which was also delicious. We also had a side dish of greens and flowers, although the dressing was far too salty.
By now we were both pretty full but wanted to try some desert, so we opted to share a coconut cheesecake. Again, it was delicious, very creamy with a raspberry sauce. Although for the price, the portion size was a little small.
If you’ve not been, I definitely recommend you give SAF a try. 152-154 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AT. www.safrestaurant.co.uk
We’ve started a new event at our house every Monday evening from 7 to 10pm, a mini social gathering where you can meet other people into raw food, plus get free advice on your diet. Jolita will be making her amazing raw cakes and you will be able to purchase items from the Funky Raw shop.
- Free raw advice / Q+A with Rob and Jolita
- Freshly made raw cake £4 a slice
- Free herbal tea
- Browse our library of raw and wild food books
- Buy from the Funky Raw shop
- Paintings and ceramics by Jolita to view and purchase
We’re just 10 minutes walk from Walthamstow Central tube/train station. If you want to attend, full details are here.
The Spring issue of Funky Raw is out now, it’s a bumper 44 page issue with all the usual news, reviews, recipes, wild food, poetry, plus articles on permaculture, shamanism, training and lots more. Available as a printed magazine or download.
To give you a taster, here is my raw food resource guide to London: cafes, restaurants, shops and markets. You can download it as a PDF (762kb) or click the map below to enlarge.
If you have any updates or anything to add, please leave a comment. I already have one update: Wholefoods Market (Kensington) are now selling flax crackers, onion coriander & leek bread, raw vegan cheesecake, chocolate orange and cinnamon cake and raw chocolate supplied by Dragonfly Wholefoods.
If you want to learn how to make some of the delicious recipes I’ve posted on this blog and more, then why not come to one of our workshops here in Walthamstow, London E17. You can learn how to make a good selection of raw food recipes including chocolate pudding, soups, salads and dressings, chocolate and of course my partner Jolita’s wonderful cakes.
The date for the next workshop is Sunday January 10th 2010.
Raw Food and Wild Food Workshop with Rob and Jolita
The day runs from 10.30am to 4.30pm and only costs £85 which includes breakfast, lunch and snacks – ie all the food we make throughout the day. You can book on the Funky Raw website or contact me by email for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Less than one year ago, there was only one place to eat out raw in London – VitaOrganic, now there are five and I’ve not been to two of them yet!
- inSpiral, 250 Camden High Street, Camden. Probably my favourite for it’s relaxed atmosphere, great music, and good selection of salads, raw cakes and chocolates and smoothies. Sunday evening is Sunday Harmonies with live acoustic music and Tuesday evening is New Horizons – talks and demos featuring lots of raw food. inSpiral also serve cooked vegetarian food and alcohol, so a great place to go with non-raw friends.
74 Wardour Street, Soho. 25-27 Oxford St, W1D 2DW. A vegan restaurant with a raw menu with some gourmet raw dishes, juices and smoothies and raw cakes. Edit: This restaurant moved and changed name but still has the same owners.
SAF, 152-154 Curtain Road, Shoreditch. I’ve not been here yet, although I understand it is a high class restaurant with prices to match (around £30 per person!) Again, they serve some cooked vegan food and alcohol so suitable for taking non-raw friends. Edit: SAF is now closed.
- Dragonfly, 24 Highgate High Street, Highgate. I’ve only just found out about this place so I’ve not been yet. It’s a wholefood shop with a cafe with a raw three course set menu everyday. It sounds like a great little place, I’ll be checking this out soon. Edit: Dragonfly is now closed.
- Bonningtons, 11 Vauxhall Grove, Vauxhall. Most of the time this is a vegetarian cafe, with vegan Thursdays, but on the second, fourth and fifth Sunday of each month, it becomes a raw cafe. The food is delicious, gourmet raw food, with wonderful cakes and deserts. Highly recommended.
Enjoy! And if you know anywhere I’ve missed, please let me know…
Kate Magic Wood’s new book Raw Magic was released a couple of weeks ago. It’s full of amazing superfood recipes like “Sweet and spicy sunshine soup”, “Flaxtastic olive bread”, “Purple Power Pudding”, “Hempilicious Ice Cream”, “Chocolate Crispy Cakes” and loads more. It’s printed in full colour throughout with beautiful photography by Shazzie. Anyway, Kate is having a bit of a launch party tomorrow (Tuesday 29th) at inSpiral Lounge in Camden (London), with a book signing at 7pm followed by a talk at 7.30pm. They have great raw food available at inSpiral, a great selection of salads, raw chocolates and cakes… see you there…