Local produce markets
Regional specialities straight from the source.
n the last decade or so, in case you didn’t know, England has undergone a food revolution. Michelin starred restaurants, globe-trotting celebrity chefs and an energised cafe culture have put good food at the very heart of everyday life. Of course, good food can only come from the best and freshest ingredients, grown locally in season and with care and love.
In England, the best place to shop for these key ingredients is at the hundreds of food and farmers’ markets. It is at these markets that each community and region’s finest local produce is paraded. Walking through these markets you’ll smell the local delicacies, be it sausages from the New Forest, or kippers caught in Whitby, wafting over the hubbub of local chatter and friendly banter.
In London the Borough Market has been serving quality food and vegetables to the local community since 1755 and is now an international tourist attraction on the strength of its quality fare. Another city market is the Moseley Farmers' Market in Birmingham , where over 50 producers provide the basis for a monthly meeting point for an average 5,000 people in Birmingham's inner city suburbs.
A Rural Affair
Out of the city, St Giles farmers’ market in Shipbourne Kent is famous for its smoked fish, pickles and cheeses, as well as its setting inside and outside an 11th century church. Likewise the Stroud famers’ market in Gloucestershire has won many awards, its organic vegetables, outdoor cafe and chef demonstrations bringing in large crowds on the first and third Saturday of each month.
The Hexham’s farmers’ market in Northumberland proudly boasts that all of its produce comes from within a 50 mile radius. And as soon as you taste the local oyster mushrooms, Northumberland hill lamb and hand-made chocolates you’ll see how the lack of food miles really adds to the taste.
Mind you, the Winchester farmer’s market in Hampshire narrows the net even further, stipulating that its 100 stalls must contain produce that has been grown, reared, baked or caught in Hampshire. In Lincolnshire, the Brigg farmers' market has revitalized the heart of this picturesque town centre, working across the community to establish a far-reaching reputation for quality and local foods.
Orton farmers’ market
sits right in the middle of Cumbria’s game country, so you’ll find pigeon, pheasant and rabbit to make your own pies, or to taste straight from the pot at Austen Davies’s stall.
And the list of quality markets goes on and on.
With over 500 markets dotted across the length and breadth of the country, all specialising in locally grown produce, to get a real taste of what England has to offer simply turn up and follow your nose.
Psst... Handy Hints
For a list of all the food and farmer’s markets and opening times head to FARMA, the National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association website at www.farmermarket.net .