London NW6 6RG
Every Sunday 10am – 2pm
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Walking into Queens Park farmers’ market, you are immediately struck by the range of produce available. One customer summed it up nicely as offering ‘everyday food, with something for the weekend too’.
While it may appear a little rough around the edges, that’s probably because Queen’s Park concentrates more on good quality local produce than the fancy cakes and coffees which feature strongly at some markets.
It is run by London Farmers’ Markets, which means - among other things - that each stall is run directly by the producer and that the producers are local, all having travelled less than 100 miles. This also means knowledgeable sellers, who are genuinely interested in their products. Seeing a sparkle in their eye when you ask how to get the best from their ingredients is what it is all about.
David Emmett of Rockwell End Farm Shop, from Hambleden, Oxfordshire, is a good example. David clearly knows his onions, or rather his potatoes, which are grown on his farm in Henley-on-Thames. On offer when we visited were some fine potatoes, such as Franceline, a salad variety which are delicious simply boiled and finished off with salt, pepper and butter. He also stocks free-range eggs and other vegetables when in season, such as sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers, and asparagus. The growing demand for really fresh and seasonal food is what inspires David to bring his produce to urban markets such as this one. He sells at a number of different markets, but sticks to north and west London to keep food miles low.
And the stalls are not all raw ingredients either. A terrific soup stall run by The Mouthfull Food Company, sells home-cooked, organic soup in tubs to take home.
Owned by Adrian Izzard, Wild Country Organics offers a wide range of organically-grown salads and vegetables. ‘A lovely salad’ shouted a customer to me, when they noticed me examining the produce. I left with some delicious cavolo nero, which made a lovely, warming Tuscan-style ‘Ribollita’ soup when I got home. Exciting varieties such as komatsuna and landcress are grown all year round in more than five acres of glasshouses, heated naturally by the sun. The vibrant, green leaves make a refreshing contrast to the packaged or sometimes wilted offerings of supermarket salad shelves.
By Benjamin Hunt
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