Young and living in central London I often seem to find myself at awkward social events answering that weighty question, 'So what you do you?' and getting great pleasure replying, 'I make chutney.'
It doesn't exactly ooze sex appeal, brains or sophistication and more than not, I'm probably categorised into a 'mental' box with others in the women's institute or tagged as the 'country bumpkin'.
However, in my opinion, production of any product in the UK is somewhat over looked and needs the highest respect!
Us British seem to have lost our ability to manufacture or manually produce. We love to talk, brand and deliver but (generally) gone are the days when we actually do the hard graft, get our hands a little dirty and make things! Instead we focus on the packaging and the bottom line - both very important - but has production been pushed too far away? Is it a wonder that we don't know what goes into our goods anymore or how its produced?
We need to bring the demand and worth back into the 'local, hand made' products which will hopefully, in turn leading to local job creation, better consuming and community support.
Through 'Rubies in the Rubble', I have the great privilege of working with farmers, suppliers, market traders and independent producers where everyone has a craft and talk about real tangible products. After a meeting last week with a red onion farmer from Lincolnshire and hearing 'an onion's journey' from farm to fork - the effects of the weather, storage and transportation - I left really appreciative of the veg on our shop shelves and the work that UK farmers do to get it there!
Relatively new to the business, Id like to give a big hands up and a well done to all independent producers - its hard work, we need you and I for one fully respect your work!