Sunday, 27 April 2008

Deptford farmers' market report

I eschewed my regular Sunday morning drive up the Big Hill to Blackheath station carpark this morning, in favour of a short cycle ride along the back streets to check out the fledgling farmers' market in Deptford Park. I didn't really need to buy anything, I'd got most of what I needed in Deptford yesterday because I had no idea what sort of, or how many stalls to expect.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised, I found the market to be small but (almost) perfectly formed! There were about 10 stalls in total, but they offered a good range of produce, and some were frighteningly local! I'm used to seeing farmers from quite far afield at the Blackheath market, but here there was a local producer from Eltham! Steve Page of Caregrow explained how he grows a large range of different types of chillis in two greenhouses in his back garden in Eltham, and he uses them to produce a fabulous range of relishes, dips/sauces and also jams, marmalades and mustards. Not sure how to use them? There are also some great recipes on the website, including one for Peppered Pineapple Icecream!

I had been expecting some element of repetition at the market, thinking that it might just be the same producers as the Blackheath market, but only one (the excellent goats cheese stall) was there.
Artisan Foods (a long-time stall holder at Borough Market) had a small selection of goods - cakes and quiches - so happily I was able to score one of their fabulous orange and almond cakes!

As for the rest of the stalls, they were as follows (not in any particular order);

- a reasonable range of fruit, veg and plants on one stall (six cox apples for £1, a bag of salad potatoes for £1, and a bunch of purple sprouting and a bunch of rhubarb for 60p each). I liked the fact that most of the items were marked per bag or per item, which I thought might appeal to local visitors on low incomes - so that they would know how much it was going to cost before paying. He also had a good selection of eggs, both hen and duck eggs.

Core Juice had a nice range of apple and pear juices - three or four different types of apple juice, a pear juice which I chose, and an apple and ginger juice. Only the fact that I was on my bike and had only brought one pannier prevented me from buying one of each!

Meat choice was restricted to two stalls, one selling wild rabbit and venison, and the other selling pork products. The rabbit was jointed and sold in vacuum packs, I bought half a rabbit to put in a casserole later in the week.

The other stall was the Giggly Pig Company, which is based in Romford and has outdoor rare breed British Saddleback pigs, which are made into a huge range of different sausage types. I chose 'hop' sausages (which have hop flowers in them) as I thought this had a nice local ring to it, and also took home a couple of faggots to try. The range of sausage flavours was quite interesting, including 'welsh dragon' (pork and leek with chilli) and stilton and asparagus sausages.

There was a small range of bread available, but I didn't examine it closely as my bag was getting rather full by this stage.

Finally there was a stall selling pies, both meat and fruit - all of which looked delicious, but likewise I was getting a bit laden down with produce and it seemed wise to stop buying! There were treacle tarts, rhubarb crumbles, and meat pies such as chicken and ham, lamb, and so on. Next time I will make it my first stop!

Definitely recommended if you get chance to visit the next one... I just hope I manage to find out the date of the next one before it is past! There were plenty of signs all around the park at every entrance, but that's no good to anyone who doesn't pass it regularly. Just one plea to the organisers - wider publicity please!!

***Update*** I just got my copy of Lewisham Life, and according to the listings, the next market is 25 May.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this market would be so much better if it was in Giffin Square in front of the Deptford Lounge.

Either on Saturdays or Sundays.

In that way it would attract people to the wonderful High Street.