LESS’s Local Food Directory is now up-to-date, having been refreshed during the summer months by local resident and food eater Trevor!
Although it is only a year since we last reviewed it, plenty of changes have been made. People have retired, people have gone out of business and some people have moved on…
This local picture in Lancaster reflects national trends, with the catering industry being very volatile. (Even Jamie Oliver is having a hard time of it).
A number of local pubs and other eateries have either closed or changed hands. Sometimes the change has been for the better, sometimes it has not and some have not re-opened. Encouragingly, some new cafes and restaurants have also appeared over the past year. Even more encouraging is the number of cafes, pubs and restaurants that now make a point of using local suppliers and producers as much as possible. (These businesses are listed on LESS’s online local food directory).
Where once vegetarians (let alone vegans) struggled to find anything of interest on a menu, it is now unusual for an eatery of any kind in Lancaster District not to provide vegetarian options. Some catering outlets now offer only vegetarian (and in some cases vegan) food, including the Whale Tail Cafe, the Herbarium and Roots Cafe in Lancaster.
The provision of gluten-free or lactose-free options is also becoming increasingly common.
With small retail outlets coming under pressure from the big supermarket chains and home deliveries, it is good to see a number of village butchers and farm shops managing to survive and thrive. Street market stalls also deliver a variety of local produce, both cooked and uncooked. Local bakeries also appear to be doing well, which is good news for real bread lovers.
Beer lovers are also in for some good news: Micro-breweries appear to be springing up everywhere, and sometimes in the most unlikely of places. It is now possible to get a drink at a range of local venues, from a yard in Cartmel to a farm in Cockerham. The idea of a (legal!) brewery on a farm would have been unthinkable not long ago, but the new reality reflects the pressures farmers are under to diversify.
This pressure to diversify has also affected the offerings of the local dairy industry. Some dairy farms have moved into providing raw milk, sheep’s milk or goat’s milk.
For those who want to know more about buying from and supporting the local- to- Lancaster food eocnomy and community initiatives, LESS’s online Local Food Directory can be viewed at www.lessuk.org/directory