In view of the credit crunch, Ros and I have taken the view that it is more important then ever to support local businesses and producers. It satisfies my vague sense that I can do something to 'save the planet', encourages small companies to continue their efforts, and almost certainly improves the quality of our diet.
Alder Carr Farm was the site of the first Farmers Market in the East of England, and only the third in the country, and, it is conveniently close to the country seat. Indeed, so convenient is it that the journey is shorter than to the nearest supermarket (Tesco, outside Stowmarket). The market takes place on the third Saturday of the month, and the courtyard of the farm shop complex is filled with stalls selling fresh beef, home made chocolates, game, and locally grown vegetables.
Ros is not entirely well, having contracted the fairly miserable cold that is doing the rounds. So, in caring husband mode, I decided to feed her cold with a freshly made sausage roll - they really are awfully good, as Lord Bonkers might say. We'd bought other pork products - locally cured bacon, sausages and even award-winning black pudding from a butcher in Peasenhall - but a warm sausage roll is a thing of beauty.
Fruit and vegetables were procured, and our trolley was nearly full. However, something was missing, and I found it on one of the stalls. Rougham is a small village between Needham Market and Bury St Edmunds, famous for very little, I suspect. However, what it does have is Bartrams Brewery, a small micro brewery which produces an interesting range of beers. In line with our newly reinforced purchasing policy, I therefore purchased a mixed case of twelve bottles for consumption at the country seat.
As an oddity, one of the bottles was of 'Alder Carr Ale', commemorating the Farmers Market. At an alcohol level of 10%, this is far from a quaffing ale, more a long contemplatory sip over a solid lunch. It's very dark, and a rather acquired taste, I think. I might have to study the issue further...