Saturday isn’t usually the day I’d associate with walking around a market, my memories of being at markets are early morning trips on Sundays and my Nan bartering down the price of bananas – which of course she always manage and then she’d buy ‘an ass load’, as we’d say, along with the broccoli, potatoes – a well known staple in every meal, yes we’re Irish – and a few onions, carrots and bits for the week, whilst my Grandad handed over the money and carried the bags.
There wasn’t much my nan didn’t buy from the market stalls, assured they were better quality and value for money. It’s a trend or a survival manner somewhat lost by a generation overtaken by far too much packaging and branding – it’s a shame to think organic is top shelf fresh produce, priced at a cost less realistic for today’s working families, where the cheaper food is modified for mass production, whilst markets that support local farmers and producers are a higher quality yet a less frequented option; with the fast paced lifestyles and so many convenient food on the move options we no longer shop for the week but for the situation.
This is where value is lost, if we all managed to take, what is in fact, extremely pleasurable and leisurely time at the weekend to visit a local market and spend an extra few pennies on the organic and locally produced products we would not only support small, local businesses and their families but we could start to feed ourselves more nutritious and wholesome foods for far less; if only we could resist convenience and posh packaging.
So if Sunday is your lazy day and Saturday claims you with a hangover, worry not and pop yourself down to Primrose Hill Market, there’s nothing stressful about wandering around here (or probably any local market you might happen upon). It’s more like a visual feast, sensory hug and a vibrantly gentle bustle of food education from the stalls, whilst amusing conversations exchange mostly inspired by the surroundings – “How do I cook this Kale?”, “Ooh shall we get some sausages for a sarnie tomorrow morning?”, “Oh look – I need that dog!”
Open from 10am – 3pm there’s plenty of time to get yourself down there even after a lay in and it hosts some really lovely stalls, I took plenty of pictures to encourage you out of the sheets and down to the stalls, so take a walk with me and let’s discuss….
Arriving around noon the place is bustling with plenty of stalls already looking like their wares had almost sold out for the day – the bread stall is extremely popular – but there’s plenty more on offer here
Something for the nutters out there, this peanut butter from Australia is.. shall we say, the nuts!
If you still haven’t woken up yet, it’s time to smell the coffee – Pact is a new coffee supplier making a big caffeine hit in the ethical and ‘bloody delicious’ markets right now and this particular batch sourced in person from Guatemala – it’s a fruity and pungent little number – definitely woke me up!
There’s something about big wheels of cheese – strangely alluring and once again I find myself fascinated by the sheer volume and variation of colour, texture and flavour all from modest milk. It’s a marvel really.
Trying some of a few of their selection just confirms that the supermarket ‘cheddars’, mass produced ‘bries’ and from freezer to oven breaded ‘camemberts’ are really not cutting the mustard. THIS is what Wallace and Gromit were flying to the moon for and it’s worth the trip, much better than a quick trip to Tescos.
The cured meats and pancetta are vibrant and the scent of them sets the scene for tapas or a smokey chilli con carne dinner date instantly.
What a bunch of tarts! These are freshly baked and all ingredients are locally sourced…
Usually out of bounds for me with all that pastry… shortcrust pastry…
And a vanilla and chocolate sponge.. all forms of gluten intolerant torture, but that of which I’m used to at markets
But wait! There’s gluten free! Gluten free tarts..
and gluten free cheeeeesecake… Gromit. Oh yes, and rest assured they had plenty more options but they’re clearly very popular.
You might not have mush-room for the pate by now but buy a jar and take it home – this stuff’s both diverse and delicious!
Thankfully my pudding stomach’s still empty, because…
Oh. Yes. That is one bad brownie.
Another one for the nutty lovers…
And even something for the gluten free Goddesses out there
There’s definitely a buzz about this place…
All naturally flavoured honey…
All completely organic ingredients and the flavours are intense!
The extra hot chili? Yeah, no messing about here – you just need to try it – this is amazing! I’d happily put this in a marinade, a salad dressing or in my chilli con carne.. it’s packing seriously good heat!
And this is a better alternative for the kids (and me) when it comes to treating your sweet tooth to chocolate
This place is a total honey trap!
Fresh produce – the colours, the smells, the textures, it’s hard to think why would you want to hide any of this in packaging? Pick it up, give it a squeeze, give it a sniff become more intuitive with your food – what do you actually fancy?
If I was hungover this would be the perfect cure.. a cold craft beer or two?
and perhaps some fresh duck buns on the side? I hear they taste quacking!
Honestly, I’m opting for the fresh juice, lured in by the array of vibrant colours – I feel better just looking at them.
Now it’s a shame they have to emphasise with the word ‘very’ but I can understand – again you see ‘free range’ frequently now, but sadly I’m not even sure I believe the packaging on most products in shops, their feed and quality of freedom is still up for debate if you ask me. These however, farmer’s own fresh and I bet they taste like very free range eggs.
And a real chicken stock, the perfect base to mix with your fresh veg for a homemade soup or maybe a casserole. Local and free chickens, surely there’s something satisfying in enjoying this produce that overwhelms the need for a quick trip to the supermarket or local takeaway? At least some of the time! I appreciate that life isn’t always so free to make the right choices and it definitely takes some forward planning to stay on track with it.
All the fruit and veg here is organic and my god it looks wonderful just all stacked and piled up everywhere
All shapes, sizes, colours and variations with a choice for as little or as much as you need
and some handy advice and tips on hand should you be wondering, “what on earth is that and how do I cook it?!”
A good reminder, if ever one was needed that all shapes, sizes, lumps, bumps and colours are equally beautiful without the labels and expensive packaging and more so it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Organically grown fruit and veg offer up so much more nutrients it’s quality over quantity and ultimately you’ll need less to attain the benefits.
Starving after having a good wander and some rather in-depth chats with the traders of the stalls it’s time to buy some sustenance of a high standard! We all know eggs work every time when it comes to brunching..
but this time I went really indulgent..
Toastits to the rescue – gluten free brown bread with goats cheese, caramelised onion chutney, chili, prosciutto toasted to crispy crunchy delight and spruced up with rocket… Yes, yes and yes.
Well having shared that with Rachel (trying to savour the flavours, but mostly just a two minute period of ooh and ahh and mmm’ing and between us it was gone) naturally it’s only fair to try the other one on the menu too…
Gluten free seeded bread with melted mozzarella, juicy sundried tomatoes, a little kick of chili (totally optional), rather crispy bacon and that ravishing rocket escaping from all angles.
There’s so many local market’s around London, but I have to say I really would recommend popping by Primrose Hill to visit this one.. it’s lovely, the food’s beautiful and the people and the atmosphere is wonderful.
Making food shopping an occasion and don’t forget to bring a tote bag to carry home all your incredible goods for the week!