A refill shop aiming to cut packaging waste for foodstuffs has opened at Ballycruttle Farm not far from Downpatrick.
Dawn Stocking has opened a food refill shop near Downpatrick. Her innovative food enterprise will be a boost to a healthier environment with less waste from packaging writes Jim Masson.
The basic concept is that you bring along your food containers you need filled with the loose products. The container or jar etc is weighed and a label generated. When you fill your jar and scan the label, the computer calculates how much your bill comes to.
On visiting the farm refill shop, I bought plain and self raising flour, wholemeal flour, porridge oats, cous cous, whole grain rice – all in sealing glass jars and a small container of smoked paprika powder (which I’ll add to Mediterranean dishes such as rissoto which I love cooking.)
Generally there has been an increase in people cooking and baking over the lockdown and that in itself is a positive and possibly a healthier way forward away from convenience foods.
And the packaging waste ? Well, I have to confess, I did use one medium size brown paper back – I felt guilty! – but I will re-use it.
It reminded me in the good old days when I was a child going to the Co-op nearby for the weekly messages with a wicker basket. The food was served up in paper brown bags. No plastic and little packaging in those days!
So Dawn’s idea is getting back to basics. No packaging, no waste, just sensible sustainability.
Dawn said: “I’ve been thinking of getting this project off the ground for a good few years now and finally towards the end of last year things started to come together – despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It gave me time to think.
“I have a range of flours including gluten free flour, different types of rice, pastas, lentils, oats, mueseli, rice crispies, brown and white and caster sugar and more. They are all granular so feed well into jars and containers.
“Also, I have different cooking oils such as rapeseel oil. I am a bee keeper too so hope to get my honey production sorted out this year. Honey is such as healthy foodstuff too.
“I’ve also a good range of dried herbs and spices for those who enjoy cooking. By the summer I will have a good range of fresh herbs growing too to select from.”
Dawn explained that she has already been in contact with other artisan food producers and has in the shop a range of chutneys, jams etc and even has a brand of hand made soap for those with sensitive skins.
“Eventually I will get round to developing the other projects I’ve been dreaming about, but in the meantime I am now opening up the shop today (Thursday 11th February) and I can be reached at the contacts below.
“So if you call out, bring your containers from your kitchen with you and get aboard the packaging-free experience.
“I am juggling minding my three children of school age but I’ll be available most of the day – and also in the evening if you give me a phone.”
So if you want to cook Italian, or Indian or Chinese, or just something to spice up a stew, check out Dawn’s refill shop for quality produce.
Check out the Ballycruttle Farm Facebook page for contacts and directions at: