Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Supermarket arrogance; picture of asparagus on the back of Tesco vans

By promoting Asparagus on the back of their delivery vans Tesco is telling customers not to worry about food miles, or British seasonal foods. To me, another sign of their arrogance and complacency.

The UK asparagus season is normally from mid April to the end of June, and should be eaten the same day as picked to get the full flavour and goodness. This is true of many other seasonal fruits and vegetables, and is part of the rich variety of tasty nutritious foods available to us all in this green and pleasant land. As many seasonal foods mature they are very often plentiful, and therefor cheap, especially if bought direct from the producer.

The supermarkets would rather we did not buy seasonal food, unless they have them in stock, and can make their usual high margin. Only giving the producer less than 20% of the retail price.

By persuading customers to eat products, like asparagus, all year round they can make their usual high margins and plan their shelf stacking and sales in advance, without having to worry about when seasonal produce is available from local farms.

This is always obvious when English apples are in season, you will see plenty on local trees, but none on the supermarket shelf. A few weeks later some English apples will appear but only about 10 of the 1,000+ varieties we have in the UK. Only those varieties that have a long shelf life meet the supermarket specification.

We consumers really must realise that supermarkets do not care about; 1. supplying us with quality food at the right price, or, 2. giving British farmers a fair price.

They simply want us to become addicted to their loyalty schemes and making as much profit as possible from every shopping basket.

The great news is that most of us have an alternative. There are thousands of other places to buy food on BigBarn’s Local food map. Many places are cheaper than the supermarket, with most promoting local produce that is fresher and more nutritious.

Edible Todmorden, Veg in the Church yard

The tide is turning and there are places where no one shops at the supermarket, and many foods are free, yes free! Like edible Todmorden

In a these austere times what a fantastic way to save money and pull communities together. One of BigBarn’s jobs is to help many more communities follow this initiative with so many positive outcomes, including, cheaper, better, food, improved diet and knowledge of food +++.

Exciting times, as always, your comments are welcome below.


  1. Sharon English says:

    Hello Big Barn

    I am trying to set up ‘Incredible Edible Bromley Cross’ in Bolton (like the Todmorden model) to help our community to support each other, buy local, feel good and enjoy good local produce. I have just looked on your food map – and there really aren’t many producers logged around Bromley Cross at the moment – we will have to see if we can improve on that.
    All the best
    Sharon English

    • bigbarnblog says:

      Hi Sharon and thanks for the message. I will send you an email now about working with you to add more to our map in your area. We can set you up with a special admin password to add to the map, as well as supply you with our map to open within your website to loks as though it is yours.

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