Local Produce in Suffolk
Published: Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014
Written by: Suffolk Secrets Team
Staying in self-catering accommodation is a great way to experience all of the culinary delights that Suffolk has to offer. You’re able to visit a variety of local restaurants and farm shops, whilst not forgetting that you have a well-equipped kitchen in your holiday home in which to cook a delicious selection of Suffolk-grown and reared produce.
One great way to make the most of local ingredients is to know what is in season and when. Buying vegetables from five miles down the road where they were grown, means that you not only benefit from the very freshest of ingredients, but you also have peace of mind in the knowledge that you have reduced your "food miles" which assists in being environmentally friendly.
Many people would also agree that meat which is reared locally and purchased from a local farmer's market or farm shop, tastes so much better than supermarket-bought meat. Again, it also means that you are supporting the local community and buying direct from the farmer - and not via a third party source.
To assist you in finding out about what produce is in season and when, here’s a little list of a few of our favourite fruits, vegetables, meat and fish:
- The winter months belong to the root vegetable including carrots, parsnips and potatoes. But don't overlook other great winter vegetables including cabbage, leeks and kale. The late winter months are also when game season falls so why not be adventurous and cook up a storm with some pheasant, duck, partridge or venison. There’s also a lovely selection of seafood on offer during the colder months, so make the most of the Suffolk coast by trying some sea bass and scallops. Delicious oysters are also available during winter and are cultivated on the beds of the River Deben in Woodbridge. These succulent, salty heroes are also celebrated at the Woodbridge Shuck Festival each year.
- Spring starts to see a wider selection of seafood and produce on offer including crabs, sardines, spring onions, lamb, asparagus, new potatoes, gooseberries and rhubarb to name a few.
- The warmer summer months bring about some delicious English fruits including strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and tomatoes. (Yes tomatoes are technically fruit!) Delicious vegetables include beetroot, courgettes, peppers and sweetcorn. Seafood available includes mackerel and grey mullet. It is also the best time for marsh samphire. Samphire is a delicious, wild tidal plant and with its salty undertones, is an ideal accompaniment to fish and seafood. In Suffolk, you can find marsh samphire growing wild in many places where there are mud flats and salt marshes. Orford, Blythburgh and Snape are common places to harvest marsh samphire. If you are foraging for this delicious "vegetable" yourself - please do not collect plants from protected areas, natural nature reserves or SSIs.
- Autumn brings with it damsons, apples, mussels, pumpkins, celeriac, wild mushrooms, spinach, potatoes and plums.
All of these lovely food stuffs are grown, reared or caught in Suffolk. Much of the locally reared produce is also harvested during more than one season which means there is always plenty of tasty produce to choose from all year round. With around 20 farm shops and a fantastic selection of farmer's markets to visit in Suffolk, you’ll also be sure to find somewhere local to your Suffolk cottage that sells nutritious and delicious, locally reared produce.
Suffolk also hosts a fantastic selection of food festivals and food safaris throughout the year. To find out more information about the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival which takes place near Snape Maltings every September, click here.