In the wake of Eat Cambridge, a number of Cambridge based twitter food obsessives have come up with a new challenge: Shop only at independent local shops instead of supermarkets for one week, starting on the 2nd of April, right after Easter. Depending on where you live or work, this will be easier for some than for others. The main hurdle for those of us with regular work hours will be opening times as those of indies often coincide with typical office hours. On weekends, the choice for me is quite good but during the week it will be interesting. I work in Chesterton where there is nothing but a post office inside a tiny convenience store that doesn’t carry any fresh produce. Veg will be covered by my Riverford delivery and if I want meat, I can take a detour early in the morning. Milk and juice I get from my milkman delivery every other day so that is covered, too. Domestic essentials (as Carri put it) like toilet paper, soap/shower gel, cleaning products and so forth I will have in the house and could in an emergency get from the Daily Bread.
A few months ago, I collected the following list of shops in North Cambridge (mostly Arbury and King’s Hedges):
The Art of Meat (Arbury Court)
This is my local butcher with a good selection of various cuts and joints of high quality beef, pork (from Dingley Dell, no less), lamb, chicken and sometimes game. Their own sausages (three main varieties and a number of changing specials) are superb as is the bacon that is cured on site. Service is friendly and superb, always happy and willing to accommodate special requests and recommending substitutes should something not be available. The little extra cost is easily outmatched by the superior quality. Highly recommended.
Les Ward (Arbury Court)
A family run greengrocer offering very reasonably priced veg and fruit, some dry goods and preserves and, er, fresh flowers. So much better and even cheaper than Budgens opposite.
There’s also a baker’s in Arbury Court but for me it’s not very good, I still have rather continental tastes when it comes to bread.
The Daily Bread Co-op
This place in an industrial estate between King’s Hedges Road and the green behind Nun’s Way (accessed either via KHR or a footpath from the green off Campkin Road) offers only organic or at least fairtrade goods. Mostly dry goods like muesli (a selection of varieties mixed on site as well as the basic ingredients to mix your own), flour, pasta/rice/couscous/grains, tinned goods, soy products, gluten free and vegetarian alternatives. A little bit of veg, too, but they do not get regular deliveries so it’s always quickly gone or looks a bit sorry. There are also artisan breads (also not always fresh, depending on when they get their delivery) and non-food supplies like eco-friendly cleaners/detergents, reusable nappies etc. I get most of my dry and tinned goods there.
Cambridge Quality Meats (Arbury Road)
This butcher is a bit further from me so I don’t go there often but they have a similar selection to the Art of Meat, own sausages (incl. biltong) and they tend to have more non-chicken poultry and game. If you’re on Milton Road/bottom end of Arbury Road/Chesterton, this is the butcher for you.
This Asian grocer has a good selection of fresh (and sometimes unusual) vegetables and fruit, dry goods, spices and tinned goods as well as a halal butcher. They are inexpensive and also open until 8 which is great as I can drop in on the way home from work. All the others are available (to me) on Saturdays only.
Radmore Farm Shop (Chesterton Road)
I haven’t been there but various people have recommended it.
Nasreen Dar (Histon Road)
Asian supermarket that also offers takeaway curries.
A Waller & Son
A butcher’s on Victoria Avenue, just before the bridge. A prime address for game and more “exotic” choices like hare.
Maskell’s (Akeman St.)
Another independent but basic baker’s shop
If you happen to know any others in the area, feel free to comment/recommend. If you would like to provide a short description of the shop (a couple of lines, as above), you’d be more than welcome.