Country mouse buys game

The Hampshire farmer’s market is on a fixed circuit of the major towns in the county. Last weekend, it was the turn of Petersfield, our local market town, which is only bettered by the enormous market at Winchester for scale and choice.

I was lured there by the desire to buy some of this season’s plump, young partridges and cook them with some of the wild mushrooms that have been popping up everywhere in this wet weather. Partridges are shot from the beginning of September and, although game can now be sold all year round, I like to keep my eating habits focused on the seasons. Besides, partridges, like grouse, are best when eaten young and everything tastes better when it’s in season.

However, my eldest son, Harry, is just about to start at Cardiff University marine geography, since you ask and having opted for the self-catering option, I couldn’t help noticing that he could buy four frozen pheasants for £10. That is astonishing value, far better and far healthier than the cheapest chickens. Eating game is the solution in these straitened times. Venison has already become fashionable; it’s time for birds to catch on, too.

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