Markets in September really come into their own. There’s an abundance of produce, some looking back to the summer, and other looking forward towards autumn, so there’s more variety than probably any time during the year. This is the best time to shop. But there’s also the slightly melancholic feeling that we should enjoy it while it lasts, because this bounty is soon to disappear. As such, it feels special. It is special. So go to your local market and enjoy its bounty. Maybe make some jams or preserves to stretch that taste of the warm months into the cooler days to come.
I’m lucky to live near a particularly good local market: The East Oxford Farmers’ & Community Market. So good in fact that in 2011 it was one of the finalists in Radio 4’s Food & Farming Awards. The market, run by volunteers since 2006, is relatively small, but the variety of produce is fantastic: milk, veg, fruit, honey, eggs, meat, trout, bread, cakes, other baked goods, juice, salami and cured meats, salad leaves, cheese, flowers, fairtrade tea and coffee. If you don’t fancy cooking, then there’s a variety of cooked food to choose from: Japanese, Indian, Italian, Middle-Eastern, Filipino, Tibetan, British, etc. Eco-friendly detergents and dried goods, crafts and local organisations can also be found at the market. It’s a fantastic place to get your weekly staples, as well as the special artisanal extras.
Redcurrants from Sotwell Manor Fruit Farm in Wallingford
The photos in this post were taken last October, but they give you an idea on what you can find at the market in the coming weeks.
Fresh walnuts and cobnuts
Have you ever had cobnuts? They’re a similar to hazelnuts, but elongated in shape. They’re also very tasty. And the fresh walnuts were a revelation: creamy and lovely. I was recommended trying some with salt – it tasted great.
Roz makes delicious flatbreads and bagels
Fair-trade products from Jaunty Shopper
Willowbrook Farm have eggs and meat of fantastic quality
Willowbrook Farm sell free range and organic halal chicken, beef, lamb and eggs. They also sometimes sell venison, sausages and sujuk (spicy, Turkish-style beef sausage). Their meat is some of the best I’ve ever had, and I buy from them regularly. The chicken in particular is fantastic.
The Little Salad Company grow and sell not only different salad leaves but also herbs and edible flowers
The Cotswold Curer’s salami, pancetta and chorizo made from free range pork
The Cotswold curer started curing meat because he liked eating it so much. Great motivation, and great results.
Coopers Pork mascot
Coopers Pork rear the rare-breed Oxford Sandy and Black Pigs, one of the oldest traditional breeds in Britain and originating in Oxfordshire. Their sausages, bacon and pork cuts are free-range and flavoursome. I also had the pleasure to try their hog roast at an event in the Hartcourt Arboretum recently, and can’t recommend it highly enough.
I am gutted only to have this terrible photo of SESI. But there was always a queue in front of their station, so you could barely see the stall. Oh well. But at least this tells you they sell good stuff. Nuts, grains, seeds, cereals, dried fruit, eco-detergent refills, oils, flour, sugar – they’ve got it all. And the best bit, you can buy as big or a small quantity as you need.
Shopping for veg
Sandy Lane Farm organic vegetables (all veg photos)
At the market, there are always a few stalls selling delicious homemade international food. I often buy something tasty for lunch.
Sushi from I’m Japanese
I attended one of I’m Japanese sushi workshops. Momo is a fantastic teacher, and the workshop was a lot of fun. Warmly recommended.
Italian goodies from Mariella Bliss include her very own hazelnut spread . Is it better than Nutella? Come and try it!
Falafel feast from Mediterranean
Crunchy, tasty falafel, great humus and lots more. I need to persuade him to part with the recipe. For his humus, also. It’s not going to happen, is it?
You can count on finding some good cake at the market, too.
Cakes from Hayley’s Kitchen
How’s this for locally made? – Making Bunny & Bear goodies at the market
Natural Bread Company saffron buns and German rye bread
Natural Bread Company is responsible for the start of my sourdough baking addiction. It all started here at this market, in fact. William was giving away some starter, and I took some. And got seriously hooked on bread baking. That was nearly one and a half year ago. My starter is still alive and I’m still baking. Read all about it here.
I also attended one of William’s bread workshops. We started of with a visit to a local mill, Wessex Mill, made lots of bread, learnt heaps, feasted on freshly baked croissants and focaccia, and took heaps of bread home. William is a really fantastic teacher, and it was really helpful to see and feel the bread at different stages, and work in his bakery. I always remember the light in the room that day, too. That’s my photography soul kicking in. It would be a fantastic place to photograph, actually. Anyways, this is most certainly one of the best cooking workshops that I ever attended.
They have a cafe’ on Little Clarendon Street. If you’re in Oxford, check it out. They have an excellent range of sourdough breads, cakes and pastries, and good coffee.
Bill Heine with his book
Charming Chippity Cards products
There is also a cafe’ at the market where you can get a cup of tea, cake and some brunch. It’s run by different people on different weeks.
Available on my Flickr stream.
Where to find this market
Every Saturday from 10 am till 1 am. Inside the East Oxford Primary School, behind Tesco’s on Cowley Road.
If you’re in Oxford, these are the stalls this Saturday, from 10 am till 1 pm. The list of stalls is from the market newsletter.
- Sotwell Fruit Farm – fresh local handpicked soft fruits
- Coopers Pork – free range bacon, pork and sausages using Oxford Sandy and Black local pigs
- Willowbrook Organic Farm – organic local chickens, eggs and lamb, free range beef and honey
- North Aston Dairy – organic, local milk, cream and welfare-friendly rose veal
- Roz’s Breads from Around the World – freshly-baked, handmade breads
- Crudges Cheese – award-winning cows, goat and sheep’s milk cheeses
- Burnish & Lustre - an eclectic mix of vintage and decorative items for your home, from handmade eco-soya wax teacup candles, enamel ware, upcycled organic cotton rag rugs, glassware, baskets and china
- Taste Tibet – handmade Tibetan dumplings, tasty salad and spicy sauces
- Jaunty Shopper – ethical shopping with a range of homeware, gifts, fairtrade tea, coffee and spices
- The Clays Organic Market Garden - seasonal, fresh, local organic fruit and veg
- Natural Bread Company – handcrafted speciality breads, plus demonstration from expert baker on how to bake sourdough breads!
- SESI Food Refilling Station – fairtrade, organic and local dried foods, e.g. oats, fruit and rice
- SESI Household Refilling Station - refill empty bottles of hair-care products and household detergents
- Brynmoor Conserves – award-winning and amazing homemade jams, marmalades, chutneys and pates
- Crissel’s Kitchen – super seasonal takeaways!: sweetcorn and smoked bacon chowder, confit tomato and caramelized onion soup, chorizo and spinach risotto, squash and wild mushroom orzotto, homemade Tuscan sausages and mash, and chicken cacciatora and polenta
- Break4Cake – our garden is full with apples and plums so Break4Cake will offer apple cake and plum cake. On the menu will be amongst other delicacies our famous Bienenstich, as well as Cheese Cake, Linzer Tartlets, Chocolate and Pear Cake, and Amaretto Cream Gateaux
- Sara O – along with my usual 20 flavours I’m bringing a new one – hazelnut-nutella – the shell is made with hazelnuts instead almonds and the filling is nutella. Really delicious.
- L’Arome – handcrafted soaps and toiletries, using natural ingredients
- Pegazian – appliqué cushions, hand knitted scarves, shawls and shrugs, plus crochet jewellery and handmade fabric bags
- I’m Japanese – handmade fresh sushi and Japanese homecooked foods
- Make-Do-Mend – sewing repairs and alterations to all loved clothes and materials
- The Oxford Delhi – yummy Indian savouries and snacks
- Mediterranean – freshly made snacks and take away foods