Variety is the Spice of Life

30/04/2023 | 0 comments

By Roz Hartley

I was sat in my garden on a glorious late April afternoon, cradling a cup of coffee (my third, if I’m honest) and seeking inspiration for this very blog post. It’s the time of year when everything feels fresh and new, poised to unfurl (but I wrote about that LAST April!) and full of energy (except my brain!).


​Waiting for a flash of inspiration, a bee came into view as it landed on a dandelion at my feet. It got stuck into the golden layers and looked positively joyous as it emerged coated in sunshiny dust. Absent-mindedly, I followed its journey and saw it land on my wallflower, poke about for a few seconds and then on to my rosemary bush where it lingered for longer and delved into the small, lilac/blue flowers, open and welcoming in the sunshine.

​Where next? It hovered around my coconut macaroon for a while (did I fail to mention the coffee accompaniment?!) before settling on my tulips and finally buzzing off where I could no longer follow…to the neighbouring garden. Good luck, I whispered, you won’t find much there!


​How fabulous, I thought, to have such a choice for your coffee break, to flit from yellow to purple to blue to white, to taste a bit of sweetness, a bit of savoury, a bit of herby perfume and spend your day digging into a smorgasbord of different flavours and colours…. KER POW…inspiration!

​Isn’t that just how I feel when I shop in my local farm shop? 


During the week, squeezing a food shop into the window of opportunity between work and school run, I will nip into the supermarket. Uninspiring but necessary, I will be on autopilot picking up what we need in the cupboard, but, at the weekend, when time is my friend, I will venture to my farm shop and browse the shelves and I become that bee.  

Ooh olives in chilli and garlic? yes please…I’ll try a bit of that.

Hand-stretched focaccia with sea-salt and rosemary? Well, I don’t mind if I do, thank you very much.

Grass-fed steak, dry aged on the bone? Why ever not? 

Handmade, gooey chocolate brownies? It would be rude not to.

​I flit from one delicious offering to the next, metaphorically dunking my stripes in their pollen and revelling in their goodness! The farm shop, with its plethora of choice, is the kama sutra of the food shop.


​A very wise man (William Cowper 1731 – 1800) once said that “Variety’s the very spice of life” and, had I met him, I’d have shaken him by the hand (and possibly asked him if he’d been watching a bee in his garden when he came up with that one). We all need choice in our lives to keep them exciting – man cannot live by turnip alone.

​The supermarket can keep us alive but it’s the farm shop that can nourish our soul.

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