October 05, 2006

Tomato strike

Last weekend we went to Mariefred, a cute little town about 20 kilometers from here. There are small wooden cottages, cobblestone streets, a real castle and a very old railway but the main attraction for me was the Farmers´market, taking place on a square in the city center.

Let me just moan a little first: it is in fact hard to get hold of locally produced things here in Sweden, and also there is almost no debate about food. Well yes, about food safety and such of course, but not much about quality, about food miles, about eating seasonally, about why food should cost money. Every month I buy and read some English food magazines (mostly Olive and Waitrose Food Illustrated) and there are large features about what is best right now, why it is best right now and what to do with it. I miss that in most Swedish food magazines, and I miss the local products on the shelves in the large food chains. Sigh. We order fruit for work from one of Stockholm´s best fruit vendors and I doubt they send us anything Swedish ever, not even apples right now. This week they sent us satsumas (why? Surely they will be much better in November-December), and we got plums already in June. Hard as rocks and terribly sour. Why?

Well, I will do my best to change this, at least in our home, as much as I can. Eating locally and seasonally takes a lot of effort here considering where I live. In my nearest food store there are no organic vegetables and most of the other vegs are imported, except maybe the root vegetables. I will have to go further to get my vegs, or shop in Stockholm and lug it home on the commuter train. Well, well.
But, there are options if you have a car and can afford it (I could go on about food prices for ages, will take that another time perhabs), and now I am back (finally! Had you lost hope I would ever get to the point?) to the Farmers´market in Mariefred last Saturday.

This is what I got:
  • a bottle of fresh organic canola oil from a producer actually living just 15 kilometres from my hometown
  • grapes, peppers, carrots and a kind of radish (rättika), also from around here
  • four kabanoss sausages, bought them directly from the producers

You know, there are still fresh Swedish tomatoes, but when they are finally out of season (shouldn´t be too long now) I will go on fresh tomato strike for at least six months. I can find no reason to eat the bleak, watery, sour tomatoes sold here in winter*. Will you join me?

* I will, however, eat canned tomatoes and the sundried ones I buy in 500 gram bags at Hötorgshallen. It is the "fresh" ones I am angry about


Sarah said...

Hi Kristina,

Firstly I must thank you sooo much for my wonderful EBBP package! I am delighted! You'll be glad to hear everything got here intact. Here's the post link...


I'm sad you can't get much local produce, it's a real shame! I always thought Swedes were very environmentally conscious and that it would be the same about food.

Have you heard of the Slow Food movement? http://www.slowfood.com/
They may be able to help you source more local produce, they have members from all over the world.

Best Wishes

Eating Britain.com

Clivia said...

Sarah, I am so glad the parcel arrived and that you like everything!
Swedes are like you say environmentaly conscious, but I guess we are not proud enough about our local products. The climate is of course an issue, and also the large food chains are bad supporters of Swedish products. We should ask for more! There are a few places to go, but I would really like to have an option in the "ordinary grocery stores I frequent on my way from work...
Well, I guess I will write more about this!