Introducing our new London Market Guide. Every fortnight, we will highlight one of the many fantastic Farmers and Food Markets across London. Possessed by a passion for quality food, photographer Aiste Saulyte and writer Christie Murphy are on the trail to discover the wholesome, the delicious and the best bang for your buck.
It’s a dry and lovely mid-July morning. We amble up the hill and come across Brockley Food Market almost by mistake. Shaded by gigantic London Plane trees, it has the feel of a secret market fair with brightly coloured banners and stalls. There’s even a man in a strange straw hat to greet people.
10:08am. There’s a gentle hum about the market as morning light glows on heaps of courgettes and many varieties of tomatoes. Swathes of color fill the eye – deep green spinach, here and there splashes of red, purple and gold. It’s a feast! I’m struck by a fierce temptation to devour it all.
Resisting the urge, we set about getting to the meat of matter. The first marketer to catch our attention is John Doig of Moons Green Charcuterie.
John’s passion for food is obvious. Bespectacled and serious, he stands proud by his range of cured meats. John started producing saucisson after rearing porky pigs in Kent. John produces a classic French style of dried cured pork sausage mixed with fennel as well as delicious fusions from other countries. We had the pleasure of tasting the Fiery “Njuda” spreading salami, of Italian origin with a melt in your mouth texture as if by force of the sensual and potent red peppers. It’s something quite close to spectacular.
When it comes to value, Moons Green is a stall we’d recommend. At £2.50 a sausage, the price of this product is one that I was happy to pay for: anything over £3 per 100g is thievery. Also available are generously stuffed fresh cut ham rolls for £4 a pop with a choice of mustard. This was definitely one of the best value food-to-go offers we saw all day.
As an open space, Brockley Market has its great and grey days. For us, the bright weather lit everything up; it’s a grand way to spend a Saturday morning! There’s a flavoursome smoke round the food vans as trucks fire up their grills for the day. The space is filled with benches spread out in clusters, giving patrons a perfect seat to soak up the atmosphere and debate whether to haggle with the fishmongers or butchers next.
Our run takes us past the Cinnamon Tree Bakery and we bag an Elephant Cookie. This is the bakery’s signature biscuit. Sumptuous and sweet it’s a crisp and luxurious treat. By this point it’s noon and the coffee fiends have formed a queue. The furore is concentrated outside Brockley Market’s one stop coffee shop: Dark Fluid.
Dark Fluid’s definitely got it going on. Owner and proprietor Liam runs his four body team with a mixture of mad hatter energy and real poise. It’s something like the coffee, actually. The coffee blend itself, Schrodringer’s Cat, is enticing, rich and smooth. The prices are reasonable, too: £2.50 flat fee for any coffee with milk and £1.50 for espresso or tea.
Next, we’ve got two bountiful veg stalls to pick from. In the far front corner of the market we have Perry Court Farm. Here, they’re serving up punnets of raspberries at £1.80 or 2 for £3. Not bad at all! Strawberry punnets are also £3. And with 6 Onions at £1 a pop, Perry Court is definitely recommended for value. The vegetables here are refreshingly well priced for organic goods.
Heading over to WildOrganic’s vegetable stall. This magnificent vegetable stand carries a grand assortment. Given the time of year, tomatoes are the specialty here. A dozen heritage and a dozen cherry varieties boast and bask in the sun. Plum larger toms are £4.50 per kilo, while Cherry varieties are coming in at £7 per kilo. You’re free to mix and match between varieties of the same weight and size, a choice I haven’t come across in a supermarket. Owner and farmer Dr, Adrian Izzard keeps his varieties a close guarded secret and his marketers are full of knowledge and passion for the produce they hawk.
Well, Brockley Market what can we say? It’s full of fun and boasts a festive atmosphere. It’s lively way to spend a Saturday morning. Browsing and tasty a hearty selection of quality suppliers and producers of meat, fish, cheese and heaps of delicious veg. Beats freeze dried coffee and Saturday morning TV!
We’ll be back in two weeks where we will be gracing the People’s palacial Alexandra Palace Market. We’d also love your thoughts on the Market Guide. Get in touch and tell us what you’d like to hear about, and recommend producers and markets for us to watch out for.