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Sarah eats Norfolk food only for a month

PUBLISHED: 14:07 02 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:24 13 July 2010

Sarah eats only Norfolk food for a month.

Sarah eats only Norfolk food for a month.

Mary Hamilton

A woman who has eaten nothing but Norfolk food for a month has urged people to support local businesses by eating and shopping locally.

A woman who has eaten nothing but Norfolk food for a month has urged people to support local businesses by eating and shopping locally.

Sarah Pettegree, who runs a business making and selling pork pies in Letheringsett, near Holt, started her month-long Norfolk diet on February 1.

Since then she has lived almost entirely on food grown, produced or made in the county - with a few vital exceptions such as spices.

She said: “It's been a wonderful way of learning about food and where it comes from, and having fun and eating brilliantly at the same time.

“It's great to support food producers - it's great for people within the region to support farmers' markets and local businesses, to keep them running and available.

“It's also great for people coming in from outside Norfolk on holiday to discover how much fantastic food we produce here.”

Despite doing the diet at one of the most difficult times of year to find fresh food, Ms Pettegree said she had discovered a wealth of new producers and unexpected food in the county.

“I have been offered kiwi fruits by someone in North Walsham who grows them,” she said.

“People have been very generous with giving me gooseberries and damsons from their freezers to help make up for the lack of fresh fruit in February. I haven't found any wine or managed to get hold of any whisky, but I've had lots of local beer and I could have eaten ice cream until it came out of my ears.”

“There have been some disappointments - I have been hunting for Norfolk oats all month but in the end have had to go without.

“I spoke to Jordan's who grow oats at Pensthorpe, who said they would try and put some Norfolk oats aside for me before they were mixed with their other batches, but unfortunately it's the wrong time of year.”

Although Ms Pettegree's Norfolk diet month has come to a close, she said it had changed her experience of food for the better - and made a real difference to her buying habits.

“It has taught me a lot about seasonal food,” she said. “When I was offered some fresh salad leaves from a polytunnel I was thrilled at the thought - it felt like seeing the first nettles of the year to make soup, or seeing the first shoots of spring.

“It's taught me really that even at the hardest time of the year you can eat locally.

“When there is more food around - asparagus, samphire, fruit - why would you want to buy things from anywhere else?”

But she said she was looking forward to breaking her fast today with a favourite treat: porridge oats, bananas and cardamom.

For more information visit Sarah Pettegree's blog at www.norfolkdiet.wordpress.com


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