I have searched everywhere for Seville Oranges this year. It has been quite a sad little journey really - at one time you could have bought them anywhere at this time of year, but I suppose if there is a lack of demand they are less likely to be imported or stocked - also all our local markets seam to be on a downward spiral.
Our nearest 'big' market is Blackburn. This has been a huge vibrant market all my life and way way into the past, however over the past 5 years the number of stall holders has dwindled. A couple of years ago, the MALL bought the town centre and market. They have been refurbishing the shopping centre and building an all new singing and dancing market hall where rents will be higher and stall holders will have to be open 6 days a week. This has put most stall holders out of business or caused them to move to other markets. Last week the very last of the fruit and veg stalls closed on the old market. Very sad - and all we can do is stand and watch as it all vanishes.
A similar fate has been working it's way through Clitheroe Market - a smaller market for a smaller town, but after a huge over haul about 10 years ago, that too has become smaller and smaller.
It doesn't help that both these towns have a large amount of supermarkets, and that for the average working person a weekday market that closes about 4pm is just not practical, and Saturdays are spent trawling round the huge shopping centres and supermarkets - to be totally honest, we only have our selves to blame.
So it is with a certain amount of shame on my part that I finally found my oranges in one of Clitheroe's Supermarkets. And yes, I am as bad as the next person - I could have supported the markets more, the local shop keepers and helped to keep my community alive, but I do go to each of the supermarkets, have a loyalty card for each, am loyal to none, and if I can get it cheaper their, I probably will.
Anyway - I have those darned oranges now, I just hope the marmalade will taste sweet, and not leave a taste more bitter than it should be!