Barnes Farmers Market
Barnes Farmers’ Market, Essex House Surgery, Station Road, Barnes, London, SW13 0LW. Every Saturday 10am – 2pm.
Although officially in London, this gorgeous little town has all the personality of a country village. With hordes of locals lining up to buy freshly foraged produce for their weekly shop, Barnes market is bustling with community spirit. Get here early else there won’t be anything left!
Foodie Stars at Barnes market:
Creamy goats cheeses, fresh organic vegetables, tangy cherry tomatoes all the way from the Isle of Wight, deliciously sticky chocolate brownies and spectacular stalls of meaty goodness are just some of the things laying in waiting within the four walls of the Essex House courtyard.
Can you do your weekly shop?
Absolutely. Well, as long as the locals don’t beat you to it!
The Best Stalls
Nut Knowle Farm
Creamy, deliciously tangy goats cheeses – some no more than a week old – come straight from the dairy at this wonderfully well-stocked stall. Around 600 goats are milked twice daily at Nut Knowle Farm in East Sussex to produce over ten different varieties of cheese. Each animal is fed on a diet of natural cereals and untouched meadow hay meaning that, although not certified organic, the produce doesn’t get much purer. The explosive flavours of the matured Wealden Crottin (complete with the most ‘natural’ mould I’ve ever seen) and the zingy Wealden Herbs de Provence are two taste sensations you won’t want to miss – and, if you can handle the heat, the chilli-coated Wealden is a big kick in the right direction.
The Tomato Stall
Simple and to the point. These vibrant, organic cherry tomatoes are grown in a nursery certified by the Soil Association on the Isle of Wight – they’ve come a long way to be here! But I’m glad they made the journey. Crisp, crunchy and refreshing, these are a staple for salad lovers and health extraordinaires alike. Not bothered? Pop one in your mouth and taste the goodness!
Meat lovers, you’re in for a treat. Be sure to visit Barn Bacon for lean cuts of free-range pork, beef and lamb hand-reared on the edge of Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. The bacon is dry-cured slowly and traditionally so all of that fatty white brine you get on shop bought rashers disappears. If you can’t wait to try it (like me), buy yourself a thick, juicy bacon bap from the grill. But the highlight? The mixed grill packs – incredible!
Granny Mary’s Finest Potted Beef
Rich pates, cheese and biscuits, pickles and thick, chunky bread rolls are all part of the Boxing Day feast at my house, so it’s no surprise Granny Mary’s Potted Beef gave me the festive goosebumps. Homemade with a secret family recipe over 80-years old, all the ingredients in this naughty Christmas treat are locally sourced in Cheshire and fiercely protected by Granny Mary’s great granddaughter, Anna. The beef is, of course, free-range and hand selected by a close friend of the family, a local butcher, who cuts any fat and gristle off the meat before it gets slowly cooked and blended with British butter. Superb.
Flower Power City Bakery
Freshly baked, organic, artisan breads; crusty on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle. Sound good? That’s just the half of it. Head on over to the Flower Power City Bakery and try the Ultra Chocolate Brownie for the ultimate in gooey chocolate treats. These guys are fully certified by the Organic Food Federation and keep their ‘food miles’ to an absolute minimum. The girl behind stall even looked organic! I’ve never eaten a brownie and felt so good about it. Do not miss.
Other stalls to watch out for include The Portland Scallop Company for the fresh crab caught down in Weymouth, The MouthFull Food Company for their brilliantly bright, handmade beetroot and horseradish soup and Wild Country Organics for their freshly foraged oriental salad leaves. The only thing missing was a really decent patisserie stall. Without a doubt, the hardest thing about Barnes farmers’ market is finding enough time (and money!) to see, smell and taste everything. It’s impossible. So, a word of advice, go with a shopping list – I’ve made next weekend’s already!
By Journalist and Contributor, Matt Chappell