Broadway MarketBroadway Market, London E8 4QL | http://www.broadwaymarket.co.uk/ | Opening times: Saturdays 9am-5pm
Dating back to the 1890s, Broadway Market had all but collapsed by the 1980s until a neighbourhood group, Broadway Market Traders and Residents Association, set to work reviving it in May 2004. Thanks to their dedication, the market grew from strength to strength and today brings £2 million of income per year to the borough of Hackney.
Despite being a destination for tourists and visiting foodies, Broadway Market remains focused on its community and over 90% of the 6,000 people who visit each Saturday are local residents who return week after week.
And who can blame them? The market is home to an abundance of fantastic stalls and whilst the fashion and crafts are impressive, the speciality foods are the stars of the show. There’s an array of fresh fruit, vegetables and meats, cheeses, breads and cakes, the majority of which are locally produced, not to mention street food ranging from hearty Persian dishes to aromatic Vietnamese coffee.
At the heart of the market sits John and Tony’s fruit and veg stall. John has been working on the stall for 50 years and his father worked there before him. They are the only traders from the original market and along with the story of Spirit ‘the coconut man’, represent the history and community of Broadway Market. Spirit used to sell cheap and tasty Caribbean food from the Nutritious Food Gallery, until a developer bought his rented property. The community tried to help but he has since lost his final appeal against eviction. “We’ve told Spirit that we'll provide a free stall any time he wishes to return to the market. We all miss him” says Andrew Veitch, local resident and executive director of Broadway Market Projects.
The market also places strong emphasis on sustainable produce and eco-shopping with dedicated stalls selling organic items as well as vegetarian and vegan fare. “We encourage stallholders to use environmentally-friendly packaging and run a campaign to encourage everyone to give up plastic bags. We are also trying to persuade Hackney Council to recycle market waste” says Andrew.
The market represents success in one of the country’s most deprived boroughs, and its future looks bright, with an expansion currently underway into the playground of the local school, as well as an extension of the food market to reach both ends of the street itself. Local resident Ben Swart says, “I come to Broadway because it’s just round the corner from where I live and it’s the best market in London. It’s friendly and has a great community feel. The food is outstanding; I just wish it was on every day.”
After 10 years in the army and 15 years running pubs, Richard Vines moved to a small hill farm on Dartmoor. Led by his natural empathy for the countryside, and with help from his wife Lizzie, Richard set up Wild Beef, a ‘more than organic’ beef farm. He raises North and South Devon and Welsh Black cattle using old-fashioned farming methods which change with the season. Cattle are free to roam on uncultivated pasture and only fed on natural forage, which is neither sprayed nor fertilised. Richard also sells an array of produce local to his farm: “We have honey from Somerset, granola from the next village, bacon from the Blackdown hills, eggs from Ottery St. Mary, as well as Mrs. King’s award-winning pork pies! It all comes from my friends or neighbours and is made with due regard to animal welfare and the quality of the food itself.” www.wildbeef.co.uk
When expert baker Klaus Kuhnke moved over from Germany in 1961 he wanted to create something unique, so based all of his products on his grandmother’s traditional recipes. Everything on the stall is handmade by a team of bakers in Hackney Wick, using organic flours, free-range eggs and no artificial colours or flavours. If you think you can resist the Artisan Food stall, think again - it impossible to pass by and not be tempted by their mouth-watering display. There’s a trolley of speciality breads including dinkelbrot (spelt bread) and sonnenblumenbrot (sunflower bread) as well as gigantic pretzels. There’s a spread of quiches and tartlets, and cakes, muffins and rich chocolate brownies.
“The market is great for foodies and I love the live music!” says Annie, who has been a lacto-vegetarian for 30 years but specialises in vegan cooking. About a year ago, she set up her stall at Broadway Market selling delicious animal-free dishes, all made by Annie at her home in Forest Gate. As a full-time cook and caterer, Annie understands the importance of well-sourced food, so the majority of her ingredients are organic, and she never uses any preservatives. The menu changes fortnightly, although the popular dishes make an appearance each week, such as blueberry spice cake, organic chocolate cupcakes with almond chocolate shea butter frosting, and the organic broccoli, fofu and cashew quiche. Gaby De Sena