London's best farmers' markets
London’s your oyster when it comes to finding mouthwatering produce. We pick the city’s best (and most easily accessible) farmers' markets that specialise in quality, well-sourced wares
Pimlico Road Farmers’ MarketIncredibly chi-chi, but not without a bit of eccentricity – sure there are lots of straw hats, tea dresses and wicker baskets, but on our visit a jovial old man was entertaining the market goers with a hearty song played on his battered accordion. Suddenly, it felt like Paris. Pimlico Road is a six-year-old market, though Orange Square was once host to roaming sheeps and donkeys as well as a local vegetable market way back in the eighteenth century. In 1764, a young Mozart penned his first symphony nearby at the tender age of eight. A statue of him, in all his frock-coated glory, stands proudly in the midst of the square. BEST BUY There’s a higher concentration of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and baked goods here, though notable vendors include Kingcup Farm , which deserves kudos for its unusual pickings (radish pods, edible flowers, leek flowers), and EFJ Gould for an interesting selection of cheddars. The jury’s still out on its Marmite cheese, though. Popina’s elderflower-and-gooseberry tart is bang on season and delicious to boot. CAVEAT EMPTOR? The square is a perfect spot for winding down, with its tree-shaded benches dotted about the area – but there’s disappointingly little hot food (apart from 12 Green Acres’ sausage baps) to tuck into. No wonder most, at a loss, seem to retreat to Daylesford Organic across the street instead.Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market, Orange Square, corner of Pimlico Rd and Ebury St, SW1 (020 7833 0338/www.lfm.org.uk) Victoria tube/rail or Sloane Square tube. Open Sat 9am-1pm.
Grab lunch at Whitecross Street Food Market
Whitecross Street Food MarketThis market started a year ago as a monthly operation, but the wait became unbearable for regulars – so it now operates weekly. The workaholics of Clerkenwell and Hoxton descend upon this energetic food market every Thursday and Friday for a slap-up lunch on the go. Follow your nose, or gravitate towards the vans with snaking queues – always indicators of quality grub. A world of cuisine means everyone is catered for. Luardo’s, purveyor of Latin-American street food, is a good bet, with fluffy burritos that may rival some of Mexico’s best offerings; keep an eye out for their mint-green vintage Citroën van. Another hit with regulars is Mario and Carol’s Italian food stall, where an order of classic Roman-style grub comes with friendly banter from the opinionated yet charming Mario. Grab some olive oils or pesto, or choose from a selection of fruit and vegetables.BEST BUY For a twee treat, buy your friends an egg carton full of vanilla-rich mini fairy cakes from Netty Poskitt. THEN WHAT? Waddle off sated, then pop into Bread & Honey (205 Whitecross St, EC1; 020 7253 4455) – one of London’s finest streetwear shops – and realise you can’t fit into anything after your gluttonous adventure. Whitecross Weekly Food Market, Whitecross St, EC1Y (020 7378 0422/www.whitecrossstreetmarket.co.uk) Old St tube/rail. Open Thur, Fri 11am-4pm.
Berwick Street MarketIt lies between seedy Soho strip joints at one end and the elegant restaurant Yauatcha at the other. Bellows can be heard all round from the stallholders, vying for the attention of the harried denizens of Soho. The market is one of London’s oldest, going back as far as 1778, when people started (illegally) displaying their wares on the pavement outside their shops. In 1883, the occupant of 101 Berwick Street had action taken against him by the vestry (church council) for ‘placing out baskets and boards containing vegetables’ and obstructing the street. It wasn’t until 1892 that the vestry officially recognised it as a proper market.
BEST BUY Besides the usual fruit and veg, knick-knacks and knickers, there are flowers and fresh seafood. CAVEAT EMPTOR? Berwick Street seems in steep decline – sadly, the number of stalls in this once-bustling market has shrunk, and the quality of produce on sale is now usually sub-supermarket. Berwick Street Market, Berwick St, W1. Piccadilly Circus tube. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.
Marylebone Farmers' Market
Marylebone Farmers’ MarketSunday morning sees Marylebone mums and Waitrose types who aim to get their weekly shop done before a posh coffee and croissant on the nearby high street. Part of the recent regeneration of Marylebone High Street under the auspices of landlord Howard de Walden Estates, this relative newbie’s been running in a car park since June 2003. BEST BUY Classic French nosh from Madame Gautier, or stop by Downland Produce for a portion of their whole hog roast.
CAVEAT EMPTOR? Get too distracted by the pretty boutiques on Marylebone High Street and you’ll miss the market; clearer signs would be handy. Marylebone Farmers’ Market, Cramer St car park, off Marylebone High St, W1 (www.lfm.org.uk) Bond St tube or Baker St tube/rail. Open Sun 10am-2pm.Central | North | East | South | West
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morning sees Marylebone mums and Waitrose types who aim to get their
weekly shop done before a posh coffee and croissant on the nearby high
street. Part of the recent regeneration of
Marylebone High Street under the auspices of landlord Howard de Walden
Estates, this relative newbie’s been running in a car park since June
2003. Classic French nosh from Madame Gautier, or stop by Downland Produce for a portion of their whole hog roast. Get too distracted by the pretty boutiques on Marylebone High Street and you’ll miss the market; clearer signs would be handy. Central | North | East | South | West