Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Walthamstow Farmers Market

The cosmopolitan streets of London may be the last place that you think of when you go in search of local produce but across our capital, there are numerous markets offering a variety of field and farm fresh ingredients.

Walthamstow’s weekly farmers market is no exception. Head to the top of the Victoria line after breakfast on a Sunday to sample everything from fresh bread to scallops – there’s something for everyone! Their collection of stalls changes week on week but when I visited there were around a dozen sellers touting their wares. You can get your meat, fish and vegetables from several stalls dotted around the pedestrian street as well as a few other unusual treats.

High Aldam Farm hail from Shepton Mallet which isn’t at all far from the flat that I share with The Boy. They have been farming there for generations and decided to invest in buffalo in a bid to diversify the herd. They never looked back and sold most of their cattle in 1999 to raise buffalos in their fields in Somerset. They have been travelling to farmers markets every weekend to sell their cheese, meat and milk for the last 15 years. They even make their own mozzarella! Welfare is paramount to the family who rear their animals to strict organic standards.

Bread can be bought from Aston’s Bakery stall where I counted up around two dozen different types of bread including traditional soda bread and wheat & yeast free deli rye loaves. They’re a family business who have been baking in London for 25 years and are proud that they supply traditional hand crafted bread in all shapes, sizes and permutations. Their stall held a variety of gluten free breads that I’ve not seen before. Needless to say that their emphasis is on quality rather than quantity.

Le Moulin tempted me towards their stall with a decadent selection of cakes; the chocolate and pear tart and cream √©clairs looked particularly glorious. They’d travelled over from their base in Hornchurch, Essex and can also market veterans. It’s run by a passionate French patisserie chef whose ambition is to bring the best flavours of her nation to the UK.

Millwhite’s Cider were generously handing out free tasters which – needless to say – drew me to their stand. Their Scrumpy is great but I really fell for their award winning Rum Cask Cider. Holding the refreshing middle ground between sweet and dry, it’s extremely drinkable but at 7%, you need go steady.

If all of that larder stocking has got you working up an appetite, the smiley proprietors of the Giggly Pig will serve you a sizzling sausage or bacon bap. They produce a staggering 75 different flavours of banger made from the meat of their Essex-reared outdoor rare breed pigs. There’s also a tea and coffee stall where you can indulge in a hot brew and a rest when your shopping bags start to weigh you down.

Walthamstow is lucky to have a truly charming market which brings a taste of the countryside to the city. You could stock up on fresh ingredients for the entire week here if you wanted. There’s a touch of rural atmosphere which is very welcome what can be a faceless anonymous metropolis.

Walthamstow Farmers Market is organised by the London Farmers Markets and can be found at Selbourne Walk Shopping Centre,(just off the High Street) every Sunday between 10am and 2pm. They have a famously popular plant sale which happens twice a year; the next is on 22nd April 2012.

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