Her Basket Spilleth Over With Delight…
Alex Nightingale gives the lowdown on London Fields’ new Farmer’s Market
Today saw the first London Fields Farmers’ Market at the London Fields Junior School. Run by the city-wide London Farmers’ Markets organisation, the rain did little to stop the flood of local residents coming down to pick up fresh produce, organic vegetables, cheeses, juices, bread, cakes, pastries, meats and fish from the ace selection on offer.
Greeted by the London Farmers’ Market team, Louis (who also works at the Bermondsey Market and the long-established Islington market) was really impressed by the great feedback residents were giving. He sees the new London Fields market as a “great alternative to Broadway Market,” emphasising the local community feel and the chance to escape from the crowds of tourists that flock to Broadway every Saturday.
One of the best things about the market is that it really provides a great range of foodstuffs for every cook and any budget; Choose some freshly-picked local ingredients to start from scratch or have the work done for you by picking up some of the many ready-made pies, tarts and cakes on offer. There are some great bargains to be had and, if you’re feeling more extravagant, some beautiful artisan treats too! Here are just some of the many stalls that caught our eye:
Artisan Foods – Based in East London, Artisan Foods can be found at Broadway Market and five of the London Farmers’ Markets. They see the new London Fields Market as a great replacement for the dwindling presence of food stalls at nearby Spitalfields and offer an amazing range of sweet and savoury pastries, artisan breads and cakes (from individual portions to surprisingly affordable whole cakes!)
Church Farm, Ardeley – An ecological and low-carbon farm based in nearby Hertfordshire offering a wide variety of goodies from fruits, meat and eggs to pastries on plants all on one stall! Much of the produce was freshly-picked just the day before; how much fresher can you get?!
Drove Orchards – An incredibly busy stall, Drove Orchards offer a great selection of bottled freshly-pressed juices and some very tempting jam and chutney!
Eden Farms – A top selection of well-priced organic fruits and vegetables including many potato varieties and some seriously beautiful brassicas. Dan, a Hackney resident working on the stall, is really happy to be bringing produce from the family farm in Lincolnshire to London and couldn’t believe how busy he was on the opening day. The market also means Eden can bring organic veg boxes to London. Email [email protected] for more details.
Flourish – Based in North London, the Flourish Craft Bakery are another well-established company who have come to London Fields. They produce beautiful cakes, sweet and savoury pastries and incredible artisan and traditional breads.
Greens of Glastonbury – Suppliers to supermarkets around the country, cut out the middle man and buy beautiful cheeses and fresh farmhouse butter directly from the makers.
Nut Knowle Farm – An incredible selection of goats cheeses made in a Sussex dairy – all made using vegetarian rennet! Amazing!
Perry Court – Opened by the Fermor’s family following World War Two, Perry Court Farm in Kent is mostly orchard, supplying many varieties of apple and pear and offering great value – especially for juicing. They also have a lovely mix of seasonal vegetables some of which quickly sold out. Stallholder Patrick was also on hand to offer some cooking advice – just one example of the many knowledgeable staff to be found at the market!
Plumbun – Beautiful cakes and pastries “baked with extra niceness!” They were also sold with extra-niceness by the lovely stallholders and were nearly sold out of everything just half way through the market; don’t miss them!
So whatever you do try and get down to the market as early as possible for the biggest selection. Plumbun’s gorgeous cakes were particularly popular, and we were lucky to snag one of the last bags of seriously good purple sprouting broccoli from Perry Court!) Also, you’ll have plenty of the afternoon left to cook up and enjoy your acquisitions!
So pop down to London Fields Farmers’ Market, support local farmers and cut out the big supermarket profits by supporting the growers directly. If you need any further persuading there was consistently great feedback from Hackney residents. When we left the LFM mailing list had just three email addresses on it: “We don’t need an email,” locals said – “We’ll be down here every week anyway!”