Eight Reasons Why We Think Buying Locally From Darach Croft Makes Good Sense
Part of our ethos on the croft is to reduce our environmental impact as far as possible. At the moment there is also a lot of coverage in the media about how bad for the environment farming, and particularly eating meat is. Here on the croft, we firmly believe that it is intensive farming practices are the issue, and this applies equally to any type of intensive farming whether livestock or arable. That’s one of the reasons that we are kicking off this list with environmental impact.
1) Reducing Environmental Impact
Local produce has to travel less far from the producer (us) to the consumer (you). ‘Food miles’ contribute to green house gases, traffic congestion and air pollution. We looked at the food miles associated with our latest beef and calculated that the cow started her life and ended her life on Mull, a total of 62 miles and two ferry trips travelled in total. The meat then travelled another 32 miles back to the croft.
We also farm less intensively using methods that mean our cows produce less methane (currently blamed for a lot of global warming). Less travel also means less time from our croft to your plate. This brings us nicely to Point 2 - Freshness.
As our produce doesn't have to travel as far, it is fresher than produce bought from the supermarket and so is at its best. Supermarket eggs for example can be a week or so old when they are first put on the shelves - you can calculate the age by subtracting 28 days from the use by date to give you a ‘laid on’ date. Our eggs are usually sold the day they are laid or the day after. They don’t sit about for long as they taste so good! Neatly linking to Point 3 - Taste.
Commercially grown meat and commercially produced eggs lack the depth and intensity of flavour that small scale production achieves. People often comment on just how great our eggs taste, and many people who don’t like commercially reared lamb for example, find our croft-reared lamb much tastier and less fatty. This is in part because our lambs grow more slowly and so are more mature - think the difference between pine and oak if you’re burning wood! - as the way that we raise our lambs is geared towards flavour rather than the maximum weight in the shortest time.
4) Health Benefits
Locally sourced food is often healthier as fresh food is most nutritious. Also, when you buy fresh, unprocessed ingredients, you are more likely to create and cook your own food, rather than consuming processed food, which is better for you.
5) You Know Where It Came From
Buying locally gives you a better idea of where the produce you buy was grown or reared, and in the case of animals, that the welfare of the animals was a high priority. You can come and visit our free ranging hens whenever you want.
You are also more likely to get a personal service and the producer is more likely to be interested in your feedback and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction. This relationship also means you are also more likely to get to know your producers better, and they will get to know you. We have met so many new people that we might not otherwise have met through our regular egg deliveries. There is therefore an important social aspect to buying locally - often having a chat over the croft gate.
6) Supporting the Local Economy and Community
Buying from independent local and locally owned businesses increases the likelihood that money will then be spent with other local businesses and service providers. This is really important, especially in remote rural communities where there is little in terms of major industry or large employers. Local producers and suppliers are also an important part of what shapes your local community and makes your community unique.
7) Supporting Traditional Farming Practices
By buying locally you are more likely to support small scale agricultural producers and traditional farming practices. Buying local also means that more, if not all of the money goes to the farmer (or crofter) themselves, allowing them to continue with traditional farming practices and avoid more intensive farming. Such traditional farming practices often use less fertilisers and other practices that can affect soil quality and impact the local wildlife. On to the local environment …
8) Supporting Your Local Environment
The countryside has historically been shaped by farming practices (which isn’t always good we admit), but buying locally and supporting small scale agricultural ventures means smaller pastures and more hedgerows, which is certainly good for wildlife. It also means that small scale producers can still raise livestock in an affordable way. This is most important as it means more cute lambs and calves!