Quality British Farming from Red Tractor:
May is Red Tractor Month – A chance to highlight the Red Tractor logo, what it means for food, and its support for quality British farming.
The Red Tractor mark provides assurance that food has been produced responsibly and to the most comprehensive and respected food standards in the world. The Union Jack in the logo indicates that your food has been farmed, processed and packaged in the UK by trusted producers.
So when I was offered a hamper of Red Tractor food to feed me for a week I jumped at the chance. There was an extra challenge of coming up with exciting recipes using the food was thrown in.
When the hamper arrived I was shocked by the range of Red Tractor products available. All fresh and healthy, I could see there was food for a week, for the three of us. The hamper included:
Leg of Lamb
Hillfarm Rapeseed Oil
Sliced Green Salad
Al the products were supplied by a mix of mainstream supermarkets, so there was nothing in the hamper that you could not easily get in a normal weekly shop. All had the Red Tractor logo, the quality of the products lived up to its promise.
Westin Gourmet, a specialist online meat retailer, supplied the chicken breasts. Each fillet is hand trimmed, a decent size at 225g, and contains no added salt or water; which means no shrinkage and disappointment when you cook it.
The Gressingham Duck was supplied by Gressingham, supplying this unique breed of duck since 1971. The duck has a higher percentage of breast meat and stronger flavors than ordinary duck. With many ways to cook it, it is an ideal replacement for steak.
Aldi supplied the Lamb and Beef, well packaged and clearly showing the Red Tractor logo. The quality of the lamb was superb, and I would say was the best lamb I have ever tasted, at home or out. This was a surprise as I had considered Aldi to be at the lower end of the market; clearly not the case as they have won the prestigious Grocer of the Year award as well as the Supermarket of the Wear award. The meat was exactly as it should be, natural, well trimmed and without any additives. This is probably the best advertisement for the Red Tractor logo you could have.
The Co-Operative supplied the pork, always a good quality meal maker. The Co-Operative stipulate Red Tractor approved food guarantees for their meat and produce lines as well as for their own brands, recognizing that the Red Tractor scheme gives customers the highest farming quality assurances available.
Tesco, Britain’s single biggest buyer of British agriculture products supplied the beef. They fully support the Red Tractor scheme and publically recognize its importance in delivering the quality British produce that consumers now actively look for.
Morrisons supplied the dairy and rhubarb, which allowed me to make a superb rhubarb crumble. With fresh fruit, it is easy to make a really tasty dessert which is enjoyed all the more because it is not just out of a packet. And let’s not forget the cheese; great on biscuits but also in a nice cheese sauce over cauliflower.
The vegetables were supplied fresh by a mix of the above supermarkets, and whilst including all the basics, like potatoes and lettuce, also included items you may not always think of – pac choi, asparagus, radishes, celeriac. When you have these to hand it opens up while new directions with food that is both healthy and tasty.
As I write up some of the meals made with all this good food, it is easy to recognize that the meat has been better tasting, with less wastage, the vegetables have been crisper and taste fresher than you may have expected. Indeed, the vegetables almost have a market freshness to them. The Red Tractor mark does mark out these items as better produced, and more responsibly packaged (and a smaller carbon footprint as my daughter would say) Looking around the different supermarkets near me, there does not seem to be much of a price premium for Red Tractor items – so there is no excuse not to choose the Best of British produce.