Broca Food Market - we'll meat again



Good news for Brockley's carnivores: the very excellent Broca Food Market is selling fresh meat again after a maternity-based hiatus during the past six months or so.

Broca gets its regular meat from a single farm, Hampshire's Mill Farm Organic, which supplies a good range of beef, lamb and pork. Gloriously, at this time of year you can also pick up some excellent game, in this case supplied from Bank Farm in Kent.

Last night the new meat fridge, complete with Morley-esque branding, was bulging with wild duck, pigeon breasts and pheasants (trussed and barded for the oven). There was also some very tempting thickly-cut strips of pork belly, but Brockley Central can't promise they're still there...

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

great news.

mintness said...

Just me who reads the first paragraph as "they're selling fresh baby flesh"?

....OK then.

Anonymous said...

Why does it always have to be organic?

Brockley Ben said...

It doesn't. Although it certainly suits the policy of this particular shop. What's your objection?

Tamsin said...

It's like Aristides the Just - so damm irritating... Say "delicious, farm-reared, rare-breed meat - and incidentally we are certified 'organic'" rather than parading ORGANIC!! as if it was a guarantee of quality.

drakefell debaser said...

Dunno, from a marketing perspective, Mill Farm Delicious Farm Reared & Rare Breed Meat Purveyors is quite a mouthful.

I am certainly going to have nose around the game selection tomorrow morning when I pick up my weekend allowance of bacon rashers.

Brockley Ben said...

@Tamsin The thing is though that organic *is* a guarantee of quality, or at the very least good husbandry. I'm completely with you in that I am mainly interested in the qualities you identify, but they're quite subjective (battery hens are reared on 'farms' for instance) so it's hard to judge whether you're buying into the truth or being sold a line. Soil Association organic status at least provides some level of confidence.

Anonymous said...

The reason I buy organic meat is that the animals are reared in their natural environments and slaughtered humanely near to where they are bred. We humans are clever enough to minimize the suffering we cause animals.Last time I looked the bacon in the Broca was not labelled organic so I did not buy it.
Chris

Monkeyboy said...

I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole organic thing. The methods we use are either harmful, less harmful or, rarely, completly benign. I tend to go organic for meat for the reasons stated, it tends to be less cruel. As for veg, I suspect it's as much a lifestyle and marketing opportunity - I'm sure you can have decent, healthy, veg that uses modern methods. Uranium and crude oil are natural but I wouldn't sprinkle them on my carrots.

Tamsin said...

I'm pretty sure that you can have good husbandry (which is the main consideration on meat) without ticking all the boxes that need to be ticked to get Soil Association certification and I suspect that there could still be bad practice even with what is properly certified as "organic". Does "organic" have any guarantee that the animals are slaughtered humanely at a local slaugherhouse as Anon. seems to imply.

But the main thing is the irritation factor - and perfectly good reasonably produced stuff being rejected by the chattering classes because the producers can't declare that it is "organic".

Don't forget - when shopping tomorrow - that there is the Farmers Market in Telegraph Hill Park - a variety of organic and un-organic produce to test our theories on.

This Is England said...

Many farmers don't go down the organic certification route because of the cost. It can take up to 4 years to go fully organic, during which time production falters; then there's the frequent inspections on top of the extraordinary amount of paperwork the modern farmer has to deal with. So quite a few farms are 'organic' without the certification. A farmer once said to me "no one got rich selling organic produce", and I believe him.

Brockley Ben said...

Tamsin: you can certainly have good husbandry and humane slaughtering and not be organic. The Ginger Pig at Borough Market and elsewhere - my favourite butcher - is a good example. Not organic but top quality meat from happy herds, flocks and broods.

But in order to qualify for SA Organic status you can't (in theory at least) get away with shoddy welfare standards. So if you're buying meat in a situation where you have to rely on labelling then I think organic is currently the best label we have for guaranteeing the beasts had some level of happiness.

I'm not sure about slaughter. Organic farms have to use an organic slaughterhouse (which I assume means humane practices) but I'm not sure if it needs to be local.

I think the problem with organic-fatigue is that we've ended up with a single catch-all label that covers livestock, pesticides, GM and probably various other issues. Frankly I'm mainly interested in the first of those: pigs that have grown at the right rate and have rootled around happily throughout their natural(ish) life make for noticeably better crackling; I'm not sure the difference between organic and non-organic veg is anywhere near as marked.

(Thanks for the reminder about Telegraph Hill. Lost track of the number of times I've got the wrong weekend!)

Tamsin said...

The third Saturday of the month (and the same people - plus some more - second Saturdays in Hilly Fields and first Saturdays in Manor Park). If you go past the park in the days before there are signs up (although sometimes confusingly they are not removed as promptly as they should be afterwards) and when I can I sometimes put up posters around the periphery of the area to remind those who do not habitually pass the park to see the other notices.

The basic stalls that attend seem to do adequately well to keep coming but others (like the person who did meat pies and the lady with the lovely cup-cakes) seem to come and go so I have a slight concern that the thing is on the balance of viability. So the more people who regularly attend the better...

max said...

I once stayed at a farm in Cornwall that was run very naturally (by a fed up city worker that took early retirement) and he told me that he did not qualify for organic certification because among the measures that would have put the cost of produce upwards disproportionately he would have had at times to feed the cattle with mangimes flown in from the other side of the world because of an endemic shortage in the production of thse certified feeds and this besides being anti-economic didn't make environmental sense because of the air-miles involved.

Tamsin said...

Exactly. The bar is set so high - not bad in itself, but very unfair on those who have the ideals and principles but can't quite make it when ignorant shoppers back off from un-organic produce as though it was deliberately painted with a mixture of lead and mercury. I've seen it in the Farmers' Market "Is this organic?" "No, not actually" "Oh well, then..." Puts the goods down and turns away.

Brockley Ben said...

@Tasmin. Yes that is sad. In that sort of environment - where you can actually talk to the farmers - organic should be basically irrelevant. It's the wrong question to ask. Sad that it happens.

In other environments, though, particularly supermarkets, where the overwhelming majority of food gets purchased, what else do you have to go on?

OrganicSchmorganic said...

Organic food isn't necessary local either. The supermarkets like to have a continuous supply all year round which means importing organic food. My priorities where feasible are good welfare for livestock and minimal food miles.

Anonymous said...

Taste and value come top for me.

This Is England said...

Organic potatoes from Egypt, why?

This Is England said...

Sorry, I should have said in Tescos!

Anonymous said...

A lot of organic food comes from abroad. I wonder whether the local version of the Soil Association in each of these countries is as excacting as it is here. Given the premium at which organic produce is sold, I wonder if it tested.

A brief look at the DEFRA site suggests there has been a lot of work on this regarding EU imports.

Given that big companies like Tescos have the facilities to do their own testing and set their own standards for what looks good on the supermarket shelves. But how is a small importer of organic produce to be sure, espcially if it comes from a country with a far less rigourous certification regime.

Much simpler and sure if the food is sourced locally.

Food labelling....maybe they should add the size of its carbon footprint.

Is there and app for that?

Anonymous said...

Yes, called iCrusty I believe

Tamsin said...

Given the premium and their purchasing power is there much incentive for the large chains to investigate beyond the locally legal declaration and do their own testing? And I suspect you are right about the lower standards abroad in applying the same regulations. It seems to be British speciality to insist on the smallest letter of the law and then some...

Food miles and carbon footprint are a huge issue but I think I would have a domestic rebellion if I fed my family in winter on increasingly wrinked carrots, brassicas and dried peas as my grandmothers would have had to do. Also if Kenyan farmers and farm workers are making a better living than subsistence crops by producing beans for me in the middle of winter am I right to boycott them?

Agree with the Anon who said taste and value (although not usually in the same product) and I add in a dollop of sentiment. I subscribe to Farmaround - I like the newsy chatty letter/diaries that come with it from Isabel Lane, the owner. She also (to reflect a comment above) actually seems to visit and check out personally even her foreign suppliers. But it is pricey. So at the other end I get Sainsbury's basics and stuff from the markets.

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