Grocer's Jars and Flagons

I have something of a collection of old grocery bottles, jars and bowls.  I’ve been collecting them since I was a teenager.  I have sold, broken and given away lots of my collection over the years but I still have a number of these always on display at home.

They are solid and simple, natural, neutral colours; brown, beige, cream and white.  Some have their provenance stamped on them; Boots or Manchester Brewery... many do not.

Stoneware was the Victorian and Edwardian storage jar of choice, while flagons were used for beer and spirits. In the kitchen fruit & vegetables would be salted and laid down for winter in large jars. They would be covered with cloth or paper & tied with sturdy string.

These days the jars are ideal for preserving, holding kitchen utensils or for use as a vase. Along with the bottles and large flagons they are terrific for decorative purposes.

I love the simple functional nature of these pieces of ceramic.  They had a simple purpose usually to hold or cook food in.  They are always the same, yet each piece unique, the shape and glaze never identical from one piece to the next.

Most of all, in this time of throw away consumerism and plastics destroying our environment, they show another way.  We could reuse and recycle our packaging, if we only had more traditional grocers that would weigh and measure out our dry goods into containers that lasted, were beautiful enough to want to display on our shelves and keep in our larders.  

Then we could return with them to the grocers time and again to be refilled and returned to the kitchen.  

And so that is what we are doing at LHSTORES.  At the moment you can buy; organic red or green speckled lentils, organic brown or white basmati rice, organic corn cous cous, organic omega seed mix and organic oats to weigh and take away in your own containers.  We plan to expand this offering as demand increases.

The jars & flagons on sale in Little Hadham Stores are all original grocer's stoneware and each is unique. 

Small Jars - 20cm tall, diameter of base 14cm, diameter of opening 10cm (All measurements are approx)from £12
Large Jars - approx 30cm tall, diameter of base, 16-17cm (All measurements are approx)from £20
Flagons - approx 31cm tall, diameter of base, 16-17cm (All measurements are approx)from £25

Wake Up to Organic - Date & Apricot Oatmeal Cups

wake up to organicwake up to organic

We're celebrating breakfasts, and more specifically organic breakfasts, this week in Little Hadham Stores.  We are taking part in the Organic Trade Board's national campaign Wake Up To Organic to  encourage our friends and customers to switch to an organic breakfast, as a first step to eating more sustainably.

Tomorrow, in Stores we'll be giving away Wake Up to Organic's Little Book of Breakfast Recipes, so I thought I should try at least one of the recipes out on the kids.  This morning we had date & apricot oatmeal cups with poached pears for breakfast.


Sweetened with dates, apricots and maple syrup, these oatmeal cups make a tasty summer alternative to porridge.  We eat a lot of porridge in the winter, but tend to switch to muesli or granola, with fruit or yoghurt, in the summer.

I love oats as a breakfast ingredient; they are an incredibly nutritious, gluten-free wholegrain, rich in antioxidants; contain a soluble fibre that we believe helps reduce cholesterol, improves blood sugar control and helps the growth of diverse bacteria in the digestive tract.


These oatmeal cups were a great, nutritionally dense, breakfast; full of wholegrain, seeds, fresh and dried fruit.  They can be made vegan and dairy free, there is only a small amount of flour, which you could probably just omit with no negative effects to the recipe.

They were delicious, the kids definitely preferred to have them with fresh fruit on the side. But considering how often my daughter runs out to catch the bus in the morning with an unfinished breakfast on the table (she is the world's slowest eater) they're a perfect "to-go" food too.  

To get this recipe and others put together especially for Wake Up to Organic, pop into Little Hadham Stores tomorrow 8am - 2.30pm.  We've also got organic mini breakfast and delicious organic foods to buy and try, lets start the day the organic way!



All around the country on the 12th June independent shops and cafes will be dishing up free organic mini breakfasts as part of their Wake Up To Organic events. The aim is to show how easy it is to switch to an organic breakfast, and to showcase the fabulous range of organic food and drink that your local independent stores and cafés offer.

Little Hadham Stores is taking part, (we're the only shop in the area doing so) we'll be open on Wednesday 12th June from 8am with FREE mini breakfasts and a build your own bircher bar, organic coffee and croissants to buy, samples of our wonderful organic fruit and veg boxes, and much more, so pop in and find out more about us and what we do at Little Hadham Stores. 


We also have a great competition to win an Organic Breakfast Box.
To win all you have to do is be on our mailing list by 12th June or come into the shop and sign in on 12th June, we'll be open from 8.00am - 2.30pm.  The winner will be drawn at the end of the day, and must be able to come into the shop and pick up their prize.


Not everything we sell at Little Hadham Stores is certified organic, but we always take the utmost care in our choice of producer.  I blogged about our commitment to organics and four great reasons for choosing our organic fruit & veg boxes here.

They often say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make it organic! 


Four Reasons to Order Our Organic Fruit & Vegetable Boxes

organic veg boxes

Little Hadham Stores' organic fruit & veg boxes are a great deal at £12.45.  The other day I went into Waitrose and bought an equivalent amount of organic veg as is in one of our boxes and spent considerably more.  And it goes without saying that our fruit and veg is likely to be more local and fresher.

organic tomatoes
Organic tomatoes of every colour
Making small healthy changes in your life is much easier to maintain than a huge lifestyle change. A veg box is just such a small change which could make a big difference to your eating habits, health and overall lifestyle.  Here are my top four reasons why they are a 
great idea:

Fresh rhubarb, straight from the field

1. Fruit and veg will taste better.
Really, until you have tasted a cucumber straight from your garden, allotment or a local farm, you have not tasted a cucumber.  Veg box tomatoes, asparagus, even the humble pea will awaken your tastebuds and will inspire you to eat better quality produce as a result. 
Because they are not being picked before their prime to be transported hundreds of miles, the fruit veg in your box will be the freshest, crunchiest, and most flavoursome you have ever tasted. 

Quince a great British seasonal delicacy

2.  You will eat with, and so appreciate, the seasonality of food.

It's too easy to get anything you want from the supermarket at any time of the year.  But you are increasing the food miles of your meal, which is bad for the environment, but also not great for you.  By eating with the seasons you are likely to get fresher food, picked at it's peak and tastier.  Importantly it will be more nutritional because it's had more exposure to the sun and the elements and will have increased levels of antioxidants.

The season’s bounty will also expose you to a wider range of vegetables. You’ll broaden your horizons (which have most likely been drilled into you by your upbringing and culture) from carrots and potatoes to whatever’s available that month, asparagus, butternut squash, broad beans, Jerusalem artichokes, quince...
Another British seasonal hero, asparagus
3. You will be supporting your neighbours
Our veg boxes are run by Stort Valley Organics, based on an organic smallholding in Sawbridgeworth.  The boxes are supplemented by fruits and vegetables from The Cambridge Organic Food Company (COFCO).  COFCO collect produce from lots of organic farms in and around Cambridgshire. And some things from further afield, such as lemons, or ginger.  They are organically certified, which means they have an annual inspections to prove that all their fresh produce is organic.

4.  And finally our veg boxes are good for the environment. 
Organic production is good for the environment  both for the wildlife in and around the fields in which the food is grown, and for the planet as a whole. 

Organic production is good for your health reducing the environmental toxins that we all ingest along with our food when grown conventionally.
By prioritising local produce, we keep food miles to a minimum, helping to minimise carbon emissions.

We think about packaging, minimise the use of plastics and save on packaging by packing our veg in the empty boxes which some of our wholesale veg comes in – and we hope to re-use the boxes as many times as we can, so please return them each week!


Little Hadham Stores

It's our first birthday.  I've been thinking about what Little Hadham Stores needs to do going forward to remain sustainable.

Since we opened our doors that's what we have been all about, sustainability; from our stance on plastics;

Beeswax Wraps - from £15

to our organic fruit and veg boxes;
Organic Veg Boxes - £12.45

to supporting small local producers;

to how I run the business. We are a conscious retailer, being aware of the choices we make, from how we make our signs, to who we choose to stock.  

It's all our there for all to see in everything we do.   

I am a maker, a doer, not a user, not a junk addict. I believe in "Buy Less, Choose Well". And so I have tried to write down a ethical statement for Little Hadham Stores. It may need updating over time, it may need to change altogether, but the point is to think about these things and so, I want to:-

  • Support sustainable, organic production methods, like our organic veg boxes; artificial compounds need not be present in our food.  
  • Reduce consumption of animal products, and making sure there are high welfare levels when we do consume them. 
  • Minimise packaging, it should be compostable, recyclable or re-useable. Bring your own bags, boxes, tubs, jars, any container and we'll fill them.
  • Cut single use plastics. Plastic is an amazing product in some circumstances but OUR use of it is killing the planet, and WE can do something about that.  Bring back your clean veg boxes, egg cartons and paper bags and we will re-use them.
  • Sustainable palm oil - the West's rampant consumption of this is what drives countries to destroy their rain forests, yet like any other crop it can be sustainably grown.  
  • Supporting local, like-minded business, cuts down on food miles and is great for our community. I believe these suppliers are more likely to be responsive to my customer's needs.  Jigsaw Bakery's organic sourdough is made in Linton , Cambridgeshire.
  • I believe in a co-operative approach and work WITH my local suppliers.  My only wholesaler is the UK’s biggest worker’s co-operative; who have been supplying natural, responsibly-sourced products since 1977. They have ethical policies on the environment, trade, palm oil and toxic ingredients, and regularly review their supply chain. I am very proud to work with SUMA.

You've got to start somewhere right?!

Little Hadham Farmers’ Market - A Year On

It has been one year since I took over running the Little Hadham Farmers’ Market.    Running the market involves EARLY mornings, an aching back and a belief in it’s core values; “To  promote the best of local produce...” established by it’s founders, Brian & Brenda Kain. 

The market is usually on the last Saturday of the month, 8.30 - 11.30am in the Village Hall.  We now have around 200 people attending, numbers have been increasing by an average of 30%.  We’ve a new kitchen regime; the Ladies of the Hadhams have taken over making home cooked breakfast.

We’ve got new stall holders bringing everything from gin to sparkling English wine, Italian food to Indian breakfasts, artisan bread to fresh flowers.

I’ve tried to find the produce our customers ask for; and so we’ve had an unending search for a reliable fishmonger. And new soft fruit producers with more variety.  While I have enjoyed the innovations, I have also learnt a lot, and been incredibly supported by the old guard at the market.  My admiration for these farmers who are out there finding ways to make their family run farms sustainable in these uncertain times is ineffable.

To further support our local food producers Little Hadham Stores has been running since May this year.  Housed in the Victorian butcher's shop on the lights in Little Hadham we have been supplying fresh, local, seasonal produce to order.  An order list is sent out weekly and Stores are open for pick up on Thursdays.  If you are local to Little Hadham, get in touch via the Facebook page @LHStores to join our order list.

I have met some absolutely lovely people, stall holders and customers alike, and I would like to say thank you to them all.  My family have been incredibly supportive too; Neil, Una and Louis are there every month helping, and I love that my children are learning that money does not grow on trees but is earned.

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