Every Thursday lunch time, students, lecturers, and office workers descend en masse to this weekly market for fresh food, directly from farm to mouth in one morning.
Only a few stalls are conspicuous from Torrington Place, before steps lead down to the main strip, so a passer-by might miss the bustle of activity. But - aside from under-nourished students suffering the withdrawals of good home cooking - the market attracts a large number of local residents. “You don’t think of Central London having a large residential populace, but it is surprising how many people who visit the market are true locals. It was still thriving in reading week,” says Clare Panjwani, Bloomsbury market manager.
Woodwards Farm steals the show at lunch time, with a queue that stretches through the market. Sometimes up to 50 people wait in line for their weekly fix of good quality home-reared beef in the form of a £4.50 cheeseburger. It is Will Woodward’s hands on knowledge of the meat that credits him the crowds. While serving burgers he speaks in detail about the less traditional ‘seam’ butchery he employs that follows the direction of the muscles. “We are always playing around with new cuts,” he says. “The heel off the shin you won’t find anywhere else. We trim all the gristle out until it is soft and lean. It is perfect for serving rare or cut into medallions for stewing.”
A lot of the stalls supply fresh produce alongside the on-the-go lunch options, and Clare points out that it is not simply a lunch market: “Mershams do some delicious venison cuts as well as serving venison burgers. You can order fresh fish from the paella stand, and there are the staple organic fruit and veg farm stalls.”
If you plan to go along, tips overheard around the market included: Plumbun’s Lavender honey cake slices; the £1 olive sticks from Flourish; and dangerously good organic toffee apples from Brambletye biodynamic farm.
By Sophie Gore Browne
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