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Saturday, 22 November 2014

More naked shopping!

This naked shopping is becoming a habit.  After my trip to Whole Foods Market a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been hoping to find somewhere to buy pasta other than in a plastic bag.

Rae Strauss, who runs Zero Waste Week, tweeted the question and there followed a wonderful conversation about where you could buy various items without the usual plastic packaging.  From this I learnt about a couple of packaging free shopping options in Oxford...

The first is Farm Fresh Oxford at Jericho Barn.  Farm Fresh Oxford are a hub for local farm produce.  They do deliveries in the local area, so if you are in Oxford, check out their website.  You can also visit  them at Jericho Barn.  They sell fresh tagliatelle which comes in a cardboard box, but I believe you can also use your own containers.  I'm looking forward to trying it out, next time I'm in Oxford on a Friday or Saturday. (They are open Fridays from 3-8pm and Saturdays from 9 to 11.30am).

The second option for naked shopping is SESI which can be found at the Methodist Chapel in Jeune Street opposite the Penultimate Picture Palace.  SESI are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and they have an array of dry goods that they buy in bulk and you take along your own containers including bottles for oils and vinegars.

Rina weighing out my couscous
Some of the dry goods available at SESI

I bought wholemeal and white flour both from a local mill, light brown sugar, wholegrain couscous, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried mango, pistachios and peanuts.  I also bought some Greek olive oil, some cider vinegar and some red wine vinegar in some lovely glass containers my Dad bought me for Christmas.  I had found a beautiful glass decanter style bottle tucked away in a cupboard, so I used that to buy locally produced rape seed oil.

I had forgotten to take my empty washing up liquid container but Rina had a stock of donated bottles, so I bought this locally produced spiced ginger washing up liquid too.  Doesn't that sound just perfect for the Christmas washing up?

What I loved about shopping at SESI apart from the fact that I met some lovely people there, was that everything had a story. The dried mangoes I bought for Junior Daughter were not only Fair-trade but they were from a Women's Copoerative in Burkina Faso, so this, to me, felt doubly important.   I think if I am are going to buy goods shipped from afar, then I want to know that those goods are doing some good.

This was definitely my perfect shopping experience.  It was easy, fun, informative and I got to taste what I was buying.  I recommend it highly, whether it is for reasons of avoiding plastic, buying local, organic and fair-trade or just because you want your food to taste great.  I want all of that, and that's what I got.  When you get all that, you might rightly expect to be paying a lot for it, but that is definitely not the case at SESI.  I spent around £35 pounds which I know is way less than what I would have been able to buy everything for in a supermarket even without going for organic or fair-trade products.

(Okay, here I confess to arriving home with far fewer apricots than I bought, because they were so delicious.  That's the problem when you taste before you buy.  You know how good they are before you get them home.)

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