William Patten School Stoke Newington Church Street N16
10am–2.30pm every Saturday except Christmas and New Year
Ask any of the people shopping, cooking or selling at Stoke Newington Farmer’s Market what they value most. It’s not just the fact it’s FARMA-accredited (National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association), ensuring all the producers travel less than 100 miles – and some only a few hundred metres – to set up and sell. It’s not the assurance that this is still the UK’s only farmers’ market where all the food is from producers farming to the highest environmental standards, small-scale organic or biodynamic. And it’s not even the knowledge that they are supporting small, family farms or younger farmers trying to get started. What most people talk about is the sense of community. As one customer puts it: “We’d rather give our money to people
we have a relationship with.”
The market currently provides an outlet for 23 small-scale farmers and producers. Its popularity and steady growth has allowed several farmers to take on more land, and to convert to organic production. Over 400 acres has been converted since the market opened in May 2003. In addition, Growing Communities, which runs the market, has supported several ultra-local producers to develop ready-to-eat foods using sustainable ingredients, including produce on sale at the market. They include Hatice Trugrul, who makes traditional Turkish börek from market ingredients; Global Fusion, which offers Creole-style vegan cakes and soda breads and Anthony Ferguson of Niko B. Organic Chocolates, who creates chocolates flavoured with spices and seasonal fruits. For information about setting up your own community-led food trading scheme, go to: www.growingcommunities.org/start-ups
Sarah Green is from a traditional farming family, and grows seasonal outdoor vegetables on 30 acres of organic farmland looking out to the North Sea. The land here is sheltered and the climate mild, ensuring vegetables early in the hungry gap (the period in spring when there is little or no fresh produce available from a vegetable garden or allotment), and a continuous supply through winter.
Providing organic fresh vegetables every week of the year is challenging, but careful planning means Sarah can offer an interesting and varied range throughout the four seasons, from aubergines to onions, cabbages to courgettes.
Sarah is at Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market on the first and third Saturday of the month.
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