I AM not a little Englander. I like foreign things. I like Spanish tapas, French wine and Belgian beer (I actually like wine and beer from anywhere, but you get the point).

By the same token, I also think we do some things remarkably well in this country.

As much as I like Roquefort cheese, I think Stilton is better.

I really like aged manchego cheese, but for me, a strong, vintage cheddar has it beat hands down. I could go on.

Salami and chorizo are great but are they any better than a good, farmhouse Lincolnshire sausage?

I’m all for a bit of variety in life and I certainly have no objection to foreign food.

But I’m now very, very confused.

I did a bit of supermarket shopping in Winsford at the weekend and on my list of things I needed was pork chops.

A quick trip down the meat aisle brought me to the pork section. And yes, there was an ample selection of various types of pork products.

No problem, I thought, all I have to do is pick what sort of cut do I want.

Will it be the boneless thin-cut sort or the ‘proper’ pork chops with the bone in?

Or do I go for the ‘basic’ ones which were really thick and still had all the fat and rind still on them?

But that wasn’t the end of my shopping dilemma, not by a long chalk.

The thin-cut chops were the product of France. The ‘proper’ chops had come all the way from Germany and the basic ones, I think, were from Holland.

This set me thinking.

I really don’t understand why we have to import pork – or any other meat for that matter – from Europe.

There’s nothing special about the climate in Germany that’s conducive to the growing of pigs, is there.

It’s not like growing grapes or tomatoes when you need hours of sunshine.

And it’s not like there’s some local aging process or secret herb mixture involved.

Surely British farmers can raise pigs for market just as well as our European counterparts, or have I missed some point here I really don’t understan?

Maybe the supermarkets, with all their buying power, have driven down the price paid to farmers to such a point that it’s not economic for farmers in this county to raise pigs for market.

But if that’s the case, how can our European counterparts do it?

I put this forward for serious consideration and if anyone has the answer, I would be delighted if you could let me know.

Anyway, having got on my British produce, I then conducted a completely non-scientific investigation into the contents of my shopping bag.

Full marks for British radishes and potatoes.

Less so for the green beans that were the product of Egypt and the tomatoes from Spain.

The packet of mini-veg was like a trip round the world with most of the contents shipped in from various parts of Africa.

I was bordering on being mildly irritated at this point and asked the very nice woman on the customer services desk why so much of the fresh produce came from all round the world.

It turns out it’s my fault.

Not me personally, but me as part of the great British food buying public that wants fresh green beans in January and strawberries at Christmas.

She said the supermarket was just meeting public demand for these products and if they are out of season in this country, they have to be shipped in from faraway places with strange sounding names.

She more or less said if we stop buying them, they would stop selling them but while there continues to be a demand, they would continue to meet it.

So here’s the quandary.

I quite like having the choice that the current supermarket offer provides but I also feel as a result, we’ve moved away from seasonal eating and thereby removed one of the great delights of my childhood.

Back then, the only produce available was that which was in season.

So the first new potatoes of the year provided an event to be looked forwards to, savoured and enjoyed. The same applied to strawberries, rhubarb, and later, when my tastes became a little more developed, asparagus.

Perhaps it’s time to get back in tune with the rhythms of life and eat seasonally.

Perhaps if we all did, we could also eat British as well and that can’t be a bad thing.