Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Sunday, 14 September 2008 10:03 UK

Day four: living on local foods

Much has been made in recent times of the quality of food produced in Scotland and the need to cut down on "food miles".

Giancarlo's Sirloin steak stir fry
Giancarlo's Sirloin steak stir fry
BBC reporters Angela Soave, in the Scottish Borders, and Giancarlo Rinaldi, in Dumfries and Galloway, have decided to set themselves a related test.

Over the space of a week they are trying to survive on only food produced from their respective regions.

Below are their reports on how they have fared so far.


Saturday means sport. Or, in my case, watching school football, then Selkirk v Hawick, interspersed with a quick trip to Peebles' Farmers Market. Only the food was Serie A material.

Originally there were four or five farmers markets in the Borders. Now there are two a month: Peebles, then Kelso in a fortnight's time. They're finding the credit crunch is biting - fewer people, spending less.

For some reason, most customers are stooriefits, from Biggar or Carluke, rather than Peebles itself.

With takings down, and dreadful weather, producers are struggling. Gutterbluids*, get out there!

I spent just under 40 - but now have a fridge to gloat over. Stichill cheese, cream, butter and panna cotta, made near Kelso; Hardiesmill's Aberdeen Angus casserole steak, as well as award winning pastrami from Gordon; and two varieties of Duns' Thisselcockrig tatties. Oh, and Hutton Border Organic Eggs. Enough to last well beyond next weekend.

Never mind cooking like Mama used to make - I'm going back to my grans' repertoire

Having had a Hardiesmill pasty, and ice cream at Caldwells in Innerleithen en route, didn't manage my usual (local) half-time pie. But Tracey's excellent home-made soup and Selkirk's 5 - 0 victory over local rivals Hawick Royal Albert ensured a warm glow.

Tea tonight won't be the usual trip to the Chinese. But I have pork steaks, courgettes and potatoes, followed by sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream, so don't feel too sorry for me.

And I have to confess - my plans for a light tea went out the window last night. I cooked my eight-year-old a Friday treat of bacon, eggs and black pudding. We scoffed that then attacked the Galashiels mint choc chip ice cream.

Luckily, I'd forgotten Friday is the day Camerons, a Selkirk bakers, make their custard slices.

Tomorrow I'll be good; I'll make stew and soup (despite not being able to find local broth mix!) for Monday - maybe even Tuesday too.

Never mind cooking like Mama used to make - I'm going back to my grans' repertoire. And throughly enjoying it.

*'Gutterbluids' are native Peebleans. 'Stooriefits' aren't.

You can e-mail Angela at or by clicking here.


Normally I spend my Saturday among football followers in search of a big match.

This weekend I was surrounded by vegetables, home baking and vacuum-packed sausages.

The time had come to acquaint myself with a farmers' market.

In some ways they have the air of an underground movement (for vegetable growers, quite literally, I suppose).

They meet across the country - usually on a fixed rota - which remains unknown by much of the general public.

The Moffat gathering is convened on the second Saturday of every month and, judging by my experience, attracts a broad range of producers.

There was fruit, veg, scones, beer, wine, meat and fish - pretty much anything you could want.

And boy was it busy.

Not only did it have the attraction of getting some fresh produce but it was also a place to see people and be seen.

Rinaldi junior at the farmers market in Moffat
Rinaldi junior at the farmers market in Moffat

Compared with the dodgem-style driving required with a supermarket trolley, this was more of a leisurely country drive.

Some of the customers even stop and talk to one another.

I was able to take advantage of a "try before you buy" policy on the produce of Sulwath Brewery - although I think they might get suspicious if you visited their stand four or five times.

And my son decided that some Galloway beef sausages looked just the trick for tea.

Only time will tell how they stand up to being bathed in a pool of tomato ketchup.

In the end I made off with a couple of bottles of beer, the aforementioned sausages, some bacon and a homemade quiche.

There was even time for a orange and chocolate chip muffin, to which I am particularly partial.

I think I might be getting the knack of this local eating thing after all - last night I produced a steak, onion and mushroom stir-fry that was of near restaurant quality.

Next year I may even try to sell this Dumfries and Galloway food idea to Raymond Blanc on his programme The Restaurant.

In the meantime, I have got a fridge which is full of food I need to think of ways to prepare.

I have scarcely missed my half-time pie at all.

Contact him at or click here.

Day three: living on local foods
13 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Day two: living on local foods
12 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Day one: living on local foods
10 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland
Just how good is local food?
09 Sep 08 |  South of Scotland

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