Monday, August 15, 2011

Brixton farmers’ market

The farmers’ market odyssey continued with Brixton.

Some of the stalls were very reasonable, others less so. Bargains included the off-cuts of extra mature cheddar from one of the cheese stalls – funny shapes, but £10 per kg rather than £17.50. The Cheddar is very good, with a real deep and rounded flavour. The same stall, from the Gould family at Batch Farm in Somerset, also does flavoured cheddars. (I tried the mild Cheddar with apricot and I thought it a bit pointless – the flavour of apricot does not go as well with Cheddar as it does with, say, Wensleydale, and I would rather eat a stronger cheese or just have fruit on the side.)

This was only my second visit to a London farmers’ market, in recent times anyway, and as at Alexandra Palace I was struck by the fact that a number of the stallholders had travelled quite a long way – the two cheese producers from Somerset in particular. I thought the point of a farmers’ market was to have local producers – which I recognise is difficult in London, but there must be more Home Counties farmers that could have been represented?

Picture by Steve Wilde

I also bought free range eggs - there were several stalls selling these, from £1.60 for six upwards, and duck and goose eggs too. And I treated myself to a couple of savoury tarts from Klaus Kuhnke of Artisan Foods – an unusual broccoli, walnut and stilton, and a spinach and goats’ cheese. They are £2.50 each, or 2 for £4.50 or 3 for £6. We bought his spelt bread too, which was tasty although I slightly wished I had bought one of the more exciting loaves on offer.

On the vegetable front there were a couple of stalls, one organic with an enticing array of salad leaves and fancy tomatoes (at a price) and the larger Manor Farm vegetable stall, which had some unusual vegetables as well as some reasonably priced staples such as broccoli and cabbage. The purple cauliflowers looked tempting, but in the end I bought some cherry tomatoes and an unusual vegetable described as “fizz”. This is a variety of kale with pretty, frilly leaves. The bases of the stalks were quite chunky, so I cut those out and used the leaves in a stir-fry with other vegetables, but I think you could use it as a substitute for cabbage or kale in any dish. Apparently you can eat the young leaves raw in salads too, but these specimens had probably passed that point.

There was luscious-looking soft fruit too from a different stall, but I had already spent far too much money by this point!

Vital stats:

When: Sundays, 10am-2pm, Station Road, Brixton, London SW9 8PA
Number of stalls: 12 (on my visit)
Range of produce: Good
Value for money: 7
Marks out of 10: 7

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