Can't afford free range? Don't talk #^@*!

One of the few joys of commuting into London is the opportunity to catch up on my favourite podcasts.

This week, I drew more than a few dirty looks from my fellow passengers, as I narrowly avoided snorting latte down my nose whilst listening to another of Marcus Brigstocke‘s inspired rants on the Now Show.

The king of corduroy was on top form as usual, chewing over reaction to Channel 4’s Chicken Run series featuring Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay, and aiming a few choice words at those who claim not to be able to afford free range…

“It’s not a question of not being able to afford free range. It’s a question of there wasn’t enough money left after you’d bought over 3,000 Lambert & Butler, every flavour of Pringles on the market and 50 value pizzas in the shape of Shrek’s face!”

Some will no doubt view this as elitist, leftie drivel but I, for one, agree with him. And it’s got nothing to do with animal rights (a worthy by-product though that is); I happen to like knowing the provenance of my food and, bottom line, it just tastes better.

What’s more, it’s not as if it takes a whole lot of effort, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Thanks to sites like, you can go direct to the source and find fantastic, great value food right on your doorstep.

That’s what my wife and I did last weekend – we literally drove right up to the farmer’s door and were able to pick up a beautiful 1.5kg shoulder of lamb for a ridiculously reasonable £6.90.

If you’re a full-on foodie like me, I really urge you to give it a go. What’s not to love? Top quality food, very reasonably priced, and you get to support your local producers in the process.


One thought on “Can't afford free range? Don't talk #^@*!

  1. MrPete

    Visiting the farm is a great way to get truly good food (we grow our own chickens / eggs for the same reason.)

    But be careful about the next step: it can be difficult-to-impossible to know that “free range” is really what you think it is, at the grocer’s.

    The USDA defines “free range” as “has been allowed access to the outside.” No inspection, no requirement of how much or when.

    In reality, this literally can mean one day outside in the life of the hen. Or, five minutes a day. And typically, chickens who have never/rarely been allowed outside will be too afraid to go out!

    Of course, it can also mean they really do have 24/7 access to a nice barnyard.

    Visiting the farm may be the only way you’ll know.



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