Londonâs best farmers' markets
Updated: Tue Sep 23 2008
Chiswick Farmers' and Fine Foods MarketSituated in the courtyard of Grove Park Farm, this is a secret enclave of Chiswick’s hungry darlings. Many visitors enjoy a cuppa, supplied by the Masonian Bowls Club inside the adjacent Grove Park Farm House, before hitting the stalls. The Dukes Meadows Trust set up the market in September 2000, and the rent coming from the stalls is fed back into the trust to fund restoration works for Dukes Meadow and Riverside Lands recreation grounds.
BEST BUYS As its name suggests, both fab local produce from the farmers and artisanal goods made by dedicated gourmands. The former includes Ringden Farm (top-class apple juices) and reliable Ted’s Veg; the latter includes versatile spice pastes from Mighty Spice. Outsider Tart also attends weekly with its moreish cakes, muffins and scones. CAVEAT EMPTOR? The only public transport to reach it is a bus which comes every 20 minutes on Sundays. Chiswick Farmers’ and Fine Foods Market, Grove Park Farm House, Market Drive, W4 2RX (www.dukesmeadowstrust.org/ www.farmersmarket.html). Richmond tube/rail then 190 bus or E3 bus. Sun 10am-2pm.
Notting Hill Farmers' Market
Notting Hill Farmers’ MarketNotting Hill might not seem the most appealing place to visit on a Saturday, but this market is only a short walk from the tube in the opposite direction from the tourist hordes descending on Portobello Road. It’s hidden away in a car park behind Waterstone’s, and is a place of Narnia-esque proportions once you find the elusive entrance. It’s been running since September 1999, shortly after Islington Farmers’ Market was established in the north. Much of the produce is from farmers hailing from Essex, Kent and Surrey, and you’ll be hard pressed not to find what you need in terms of excellent, well-sourced local food, particularly at this time of year when crops are at their peak. Expect to see cavolo nero (black Tuscan cabbage), broad beans, yellow and purple French beans and courgette flowers, from producers including Perry Court Farm.
BEST BUY For lazybones, chicken soup bags ready for the pot from Clare’s Organics.
THEN WHAT? Avoid the crowds and walk up Kensington Park Road (parallel to Portobello Road) and head for Books for Cooks (4 Bleinheim Crescent, W11 1NN; 020 7221 1992) – the perfect place to find recipes for your purchases.
Notting Hill Farmers’ Market, car park behind Waterstone’s, access via Kensington Place at junction of Kensington Church St, W8 (020 7833 0338/www.lfm.org.uk) Notting Hill Gate tube or 12, 27, 28, 52, 70, 94, 328 bus. Open Sat 9am-1pm.
Partridges Food Market
Partridges Food MarketA food market outside a fine food store may seem absurd, but the stalls that plant themselves in front of Partridges each Saturday offer dozens of edibles and artisan goods you wouldn’t be able to get inside. This impressive market has come a long way from its early years as a tentative project hatched in October 2005 when only a handful of stalls took part. Now there are some 150 speciality food producers at the market regularly, selling hot and cold food, cheeses (finds include a truffle brie), fresh shellfish, breads and more. One of our favourites, Crumbs & Doilies, which relocated from the Brick Lane Sunday UpMarket, does a roaring trade in decorated cupcakes with rotating flavours of the month; June was fragrant Earl Grey (made with tea sourced from fellow stallholder Tiger Spring Tea); this month it’s honey and lavender. Rustic pâtés from Patchwork are always a delight – its own-made chicken liver, elderflower and Godminster elderflower vodka is summer in a pâté (who would have thought?). BEST BUY A rare Feng Huang Dan Cong (Phoenix Oolong tea) from Tiger Spring Tea – this particular high-grade leaf from Guangdong province of China has a light, smoky and slightly peachy scent.
THEN WHAT? A Chelsea girl itinerary is the only way to go – a Kings Road shopping spree followed by dinner at Tom's Kitchen (27 Cale St, SW3 3QP; 020 7349 0202)
Partridges Food Market Duke of York Square, SW3 4LY (www.partridges.co.uk/foodmarket) Sloane Square or South Kensington tube. Open Sat 10am-4pm.
South Kensington scallops
South KensingtonLocated in a side street near cafés and boutiques, it’s mostly patronised by shoppers carrying wicker baskets and couples with tiny dogs or kids – or both. It’s London Farmers’ Markets' newest offering – it began this year on May 10 and has already attracted a modest following. The local borough has pedestrianised Bute Street every weekend for the market.
BEST BUY The first thing you’ll see (or indeed sniff) is The Parsons Nose’s sizzling sausages – grab a bap, bag some pork and nettle or gluten-free links, then head to Edgebank Organics for a chilled cup of raspberry, strawberry or elderflower juice. They also do luscious fruit-packed jams. Millets Farm is doing a brisk trade in England’s finest – for £6 you can pick and mix any three of their products: freshly cut asparagus, punnets of juicy strawberries and award-winning apple juices.
CAVEAT EMPTOR? You’ll need to ring London Farmers’ Market to find out which producers are attending each weekend – we couldn’t find the information anywhere. South Kensington Farmers’ Market, Bute St, SW7 3EX (020 7833 0338/www.lfm.org.uk) South Kensington tube. Open Sat 9am-2pm.
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