During the summer holidays, my family finally got to do a challenge that we’d talked about for a long time… The-side-of-the-road-food-challenge.
The idea is that you head out in the car and look for stalls at the side of the road where you can buy food items. Not stalls like burger vans, offering a complete meal (however dubious), but make-shift stalls & tables, where enterprising gardeners are selling off (or giving away) their extra carrots.
We were on holiday in Wales with my sister & her family. We split into two teams – boys (+ Emily) v girls. The only contact we had with the other team during the day was a few taunting text messages about how much food they’d got. Though we did pass them at one point on Aberystwyth pier – also looking for fish stalls.
The rules were simple.
- You’re not allowed to buy anything from a proper shop.
- You must make dinner from whatever you have found during the day.
Less than a mile from the apartment, we got our first bounty – some garlic and two runner beans. The boys team had beaten us to it and taken the best pickings.
South of Machynlleth we found a farm shop. We didn’t buy anything (of course) but we did ask for some hot tips! This decision to tap into local knowledge was what changed the course of the day for us.
Everywhere we went we asked people if they knew of anyone selling things on the side of the road. We were directed to houses with beekeepers selling honey, dog kennels selling potatoes and a mill selling flour.
We found a woman selling an impressive selection of chutney. She directed us to a local buffalo farmer. This turned out to be the tip of the day. When we turned up at the farm, there was no side of the road stall, but after a quick phone call with a slightly confused farmer, he came down the lane on his tractor with bags of buffalo mince, buffalo milk and mozzarella. It was a spectacular moment.
Upon returning to the holiday homes it became clear that the boys had had no such luck and after the initial garlic haul, had tired of the activity and gone to the pub! We should have made them eat their garlic for supper, but we were too kind – and too excited about our success. So we whipped up a glorious meal of Buffalo shepherd’s pie, beans, egg, salad and cheesy courgettes. And for pudding, we had buffalo milk puddings and pancakes.
It’s still a pretty good time for autumn bounty, so if you fancy a drive this weekend, bundle the family into the car and make it into a challenge. Turning your drive into a side-of-the-road-food-challenge keeps the whole family engaged in the hunt and the menu preparations! Marvellous.