Saturday, November 25, 2017

How to buy Cheese and other Deli items Zero Waste

When it comes to buying cheese and deli items, this is my favourite part of my shopping journey. I say a journey, because I don’t just go to one supermarket in order to buy my weekly food shop. Instead, I start at the butchers, followed by the fishmonger and the bakery. Just before I move on to veg and the rest of my shopping, I come to the deli shop.  You would think that this takes me a long time, but it doesn’t add that much time to my weekly shop. Even if it did, I welcome slower paced shopping. Why does buying food have to be so rushed and full of stress?
How many people do you know who enjoy going food shopping? I blame the supermarkets for this. They want you to spend as much money in the shortest time possible. This kind of approach is stress inducing, rather than giving you feelings of calm and enjoyment.  We all have to eat and buy food. But is there an alternative to food shopping which is not a chore but a pleasure? 

One of the surprising effects of shopping Zero Waste in my local community is that I started enjoying food shopping. Not the kind where you have adrenalin rush as you swipe your card, but really looking forward to Friday/Saturday morning when we go to our local shops. The thing is, if you are shopping Zero Waste, you have to invest something into the relationship with your local shop owners. You chat, get to know them, ask them about how their week has been and you moan about the weather together. Surprisingly enough, just a small chat like this makes you feel connected to people. You have invested the most precious commodity that you have in this busy day and age- your time. Your 5 minutes extra in each shop will surely add up to a longer shopping time. But I don’t mind that. I would rather spend 15 minutes longer enjoying myself than the whole time feeling stressed out of my eyeballs, wanting to get the experience over with. 

So this brings me, as I said, to the favourite part of my shopping journey - cheese and deli meats shopping.  I love strongly flavoured cheeses- the stronger the better! But don’t worry, if you are more of a traditional cheese sort of person, my local cheese shop - The Porter Brook Deli has it all, all 60 of them to be precise! There is the classic Cheddar as well as Manchego, Brie, Yarg, Blue, many of which are sourced locally.  Not only that, but they sell all kinds of olives and cured meats. They are happy to give you a taste so that you can be sure that you like what you are buying.

Over time, we have slowly perfected my ZW shopping routine.  I buy Cheddar every week which goes straight into my cotton produce bags. If I want any other kind of cheese or cured meats, my jar is weighed, tared and the items go straight in.  A lot of delis have their own slicer and a jar will not fit under it so they use greaseproof paper (not recyclable) to catch all of the sliced ham.  We have solved this by simply not using one at all or putting a cotton produce bag under it which catches all of the slices. This way the whole process is Zero Waste. Sometimes it takes a while to figure things out, both for you and the shop owners and that is fine! Transitioning into Zero Waste is a process, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t reach your goal straight away. In terms of my trusty tools, I usually take a few jars, cotton produce bags and a cotton tote or a rucksack to put everything in. 

 Next time you go shopping, ask the person at the counter how they are doing today. It might just be, that for both of you, the experience will be a lot more pleasurable. 


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