Toby Allen, the market’s organiser, is one such resident and a local photographer. He says he wanted people to be able to do most of their weekly shop at the market – and maybe also have a coffee and bite to eat. Despite the strong sense of community in the area there are few decent shops; no butcher or fishmonger – he was a shopper frustrated with the lack of fresh produce. The market now brings the community together one morning a week. One customer said: “it’s just like a French town market experience”.
“People come, sit down and chat to each other,” says Toby. “There are lots of families, but people of all ages and cultures visit. Someone even came down from Birmingham last week! We had to give them a burger on the house!” But most of the folks that visit come from much closer. “There are 32,000 people living only a mile from the market, so it made sense to start providing seasonal and quality produce for them to buy,” he says.
Visitors can buy fruit and vegetables from Perry Court Farm, organic meats from Marsh Farm and Jacobs Ladder, and the freshest fish going from The Handpicked Shellfish Co, grab a tasty burrito (Luardos), purchase some pretty flowers (Brockley Blooms), plants and herbs (Box Chillies) and finish it all off with a flavoursome wedge of cheese (Norbiton cheese) or a shot of dark coffee (beans roasted by Lawrence at Dark Fluid). There are also some little wooden areas to sit, and Toby plans to have more built to accommodate the growing number of regular market-goers. It is hard to believe this market has only been open for just over four months. It’s already a weekly event on the calendars of every foodie in the area.
By Linda Cooke
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