Buying local has many important advantages – and in Chester we have a varied menu right on our doorstep.
By buying local, not only are you keeping your global impact to a minimum but you are also making a valuable contribution to your local economy.
A farmers’ market is held in Town Hall Square, Northgate Street, Chester, on the first Wednesday of every month and we have a number of shops who have built solid reputations for selling local produce.
Francis Thomas in Northgate Street is a family-run shop which has been selling fruit and vegetables in the city for 60 years.
It has always had a policy of sourcing locally wherever possible and encourages people to shop at local stores.
Owner Francis Thomas said: "As far as carbon footprints are concerned, I think out of town supermarkets are the worst culprits because you often have no choice but to travel to them by car.
"But people can shop in the city centre, perhaps after work, so that they do not have to travel by car to the supermarket.
"You not only buy fresh local produce, but reduce your carbon footprint as well."
Carole Faulkner has owned The Cheese Shop in Northgate Street for 24 years.
She said: "I am dedicated to buying local produce – I have promoted Cheshire cheese all my life and I even used to make it.
"More and more people are buying local and I can definitely see a difference over the last few years where more people are shopping at farm shops instead of the supermarket."
EW Edge & Son, in Handbridge, sells only British meat, with the exception of a small amount of Danish bacon. The family also raise beef on their own smallholdings.
Owner Bruce Edge said: "Buying local is important for many reasons.
"Our customers are concerned not only with the quality of the meat but also with the suffering caused to the animals. We have a number of good local producers who not only produce quality meat but ensure that the animals are looked after properly and slaughtered as humanely as possible.
"Slaughtering locally keeps travelling time to a minimum and means less stress to the animal concerned."
Willington Fruit Farm has been growing and selling Cheshire produce for 57 years.
Co-owner Ella Wood thinks that people are definitely becoming more aware of the importance of buying local.
She said: "Customers go out of their way to shop at farm shops because they are getting a better quality of food and service, and we have seen a rise in the number of farm shops as a result.
"Our philosophy is that if we don’t make it ourselves, we will get it from Cheshire, and most of the time we can. "We sell everything from fruit and vegetables to Cheshire-made chutneys, jams, cakes and even Cheshire Brie."
Buying local is not just about the basics – Chester is full of talented individuals and small companies who make luxuries like cakes, chocolates, wine, beer and spirits.
Rosie Sedgwick set up My Gineration three years ago and makes gin and flavoured liqueurs mainly from locally-produced fruit.
She said: "I made an ethical, as well as practical, decision to keep it local as much as I could.
"Most of the fruit comes from Eddisbury Fruit Farm but I am a one-woman operation so I have been known to go out and pick the fruit myself.
"Some of my neighbours have damsons growing in their gardens so they give me some of their fruit in exchange for a bottle or two of the end product!"
Eating out can also be done with an eye on the local economy and there are several restaurants who serve up fresh seasonal produce, including Joseph Benjamin in Northgate Street, Chester, owned by brothers Ben and Joe Wright.
Ben said: "As a small independent restaurant, it is important for us to provide what food should be – regional and seasonal.
"We source as much as we can locally and do as much as we can ourselves. That way, the local economy benefits, as well as the customers."