James Heappey weekly column

I am sure I was not the only one to read with delight the story from the weekend encouraging us all to eat more meat, chips and cheese throughout this lockdown period.

This is clearly great news for carnivores, but it is also important for us here in Somerset to think about our local food economy.

If you are fortunate enough to have a garden with the weather improving, this is a perfect time to support our farmers and enjoy a barbecue with your household.

There is no doubt that Somerset’s two big industries – tourism and food – have been hit extremely hard during this crisis but we can all continue to support our food economy.

On my way home just last week, I stopped at the excellent Cobbs of Cheddar and there was no queue – unlike many supermarkets at the moment. Buying the fantastic meat available, I was confident I was buying good local produce and helping a local business which deserves our support.

So, when we go out for our essentials it might be just as well to avoid the queues and buy the best of Somerset’s food and drink at a smaller, local business – they need the help to ensure when this is all over we can enjoy their fantastic produce all year round.

Agriculture is also in need of our support and so if you are on the furlough scheme or off work now and want to earn some extra cash, you can apply to be a fruit picker for our farmers. This is a great way to support our famers, our butchers and many other brilliant small businesses still open throughout this time.