Ludlow Food Centre is one of those wonderful places where you can browse for the best and freshest produce, organic meat from beasts reared locally, hand made pies and ready meals actually cooked fresh on the premises, breads, pastries and cakes baked in the ovens at the bakehouse and vegetables from farms in the surrounding areas. There's even honey from the beehives in the back gardens.
Shopping here is not cheap, how could it be. Everything is beautifully presented; the quality of the produce is evident; there's nothing that has been mass produced. Attention to detail is of great importance. For the snobs among us, there are connections to earls and ladies, on whose estates some of these goodies are produced. Their noble pedigree doesn't make them any better than the products of good, honest husbandry and crop farming of course, but dropping the provenance into a discussion of shopping habits pleases some.
Occasionally, we treat ourselves to a basket of goodies, particularly at this time of year, when many of the goods for sale serve very well as presents for foodies and those with pretensions to foodiedom.
I am sure that my home made pickles, chutneys and jams and jellies are as good as the ones on sale; and who in their right mind wants hibiscus flowers in syrup (anybody know what they're used for?). Fancy bottles of vinegars and oils infused with the most outlandish ingredients sit in tidy rows; just to read the labels is a pleasure and an education to boot.
A place like the Ludlow Food Centre will never serve the same purpose for us that a good supermarket does; we could neither afford the prices nor find the everyday items one piles into ones basket as a matter of routine; but an occasional browse is a treat. Quite often we find things which are simply not on offer anywhere else, certainly not deep in rural England. And sometimes, just sometimes, there is an offer on something really delicious; either because it's nearing the end of the day and the cake or meat pie hasn't been sold on time, or they want to entice casual shoppers like us to become rather more frequent visitors.
Also a part of My World, but absolutely free, are these spears of snowdrops emerging. I saw them a few days ago, before the snow covered them up temporarily. On Christmas morning I shall go out into the garden and check their progress. The darling little bells have been known to ring out for Christmas.
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