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SHOP LOCAL: 14 GO-TO FARMERS MARKETS IN LONDON

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SAM WHITTLE

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA @LAURADEWIT | INSTAGRAM

It’s that season again, friends. If it’s homegrown fruit and veg, freshly-baked goods, or quality meat you’re after, you can find it at one of London’s farmers markets.

And really, there’s nothing quite like shopping stalls full of locally-sourced goods to take home and stock the pantry, all with a coffee in hand. But not all farmers markets are created equal, so here are the best that London has to offer. Oh, and big FYI: most markets only accept cash — so gather up all your loose change!

Forget supermarkets, the 30+ stalls that set up camp at Alexandra Palace Farmers’ Market in North London every Sunday have everything your kitchen needs. On a summer’s day, there’s no better place to be, as vendors fire up their barbecues (check out the sausage sandwiches from the Giggly Pig) and market-goers pack in. Fitt Tip: there’s free parking nearby, so park the car close and load up the boot with as much as you can! Most Sundays, 10am to 3pm

This year-round affair at Henry Cavendish Primary School has it all — raw milk and cream, fresh fish from the coast of Kent, organic vegetables, and free-range meat. If you’re after something sweet, you can’t miss the tables full of home-baked goods. Plus, there’s a swimming pool at the school for public use on weekends and a great park next door, so you can bring a blanket and have yourself a picnic after you shop.

This is London’s oldest and most well-known food market — and for good reason. Situated right next to the London Bridge, close to 100 stalls sell their goods here. And it’s full of gourmet goodies, so if food is your thing, Borough Market should be at top of your market hit list! Bear in mind, though, because it’s one of the best, it’s also one of the busiest — get there early and skip the crowds. Fitt Tip: just across the road is the Borough Market Hall, which features cooking demonstrations, events, and acts as a greenhouse growing everything from herbs to hops. Check out what’s going on, or nip in with your snack if the weather’s poor.

On Sunday mornings, the Blackheath Station carpark transforms into a bustling, year-round farmers market filled with all sorts of seasonal, fresh produce, including Norfolk-caught shrimp and other delicious seafood. It’s on the smaller side, which means market-goers know the stall owners by name and exactly how good their produce is — just follow the crowds! Be sure to make a beeline for the local honey and raw milk that’s straight from the source.

Quality not quantity is the name of the game at Wimbledon Farmers’ Market. Although this setup at the Wimbledon Park Primary School is one of the smaller markets around town, there’s always something fresh up for grabs—flowers, fruits and veggies, milk and cheese—you name it, you got it. Fitt Tip: Durnsford Recreation Ground, a huge green space just behind the market, is just waiting to be played or picnicked in after you’ve got your weekly market haul.

Peckham Farmers’ Market is FARMA certified, which means it’s been deemed “the real deal,” and you can rest easy knowing you’re buying only the best produce. The year-round market offers fresh, homegrown options all under a covered roof, so the rain is no reason to stay away. And while you’d normally expect to pay through the nose for organic/biodynamic food, we can assure you the variety here is reasonably priced!

South Kensington Farmers’ Market is also FARMA approved, so your Saturday mornings are guaranteed to be fruitful (you’ll be hauling home some of London’s highest-quality goods). After you’ve stuffed your tote bag to the brim, take a look around the suburb, there are plenty of museums and impressive homes to hit up before you pack it in. Fitt Tip: one of the stalls, Christchurch Fish, sends out an email on Friday night to let you know what they’ve caught and will have waiting for you. Can't make in on Saturday? They also have a Tuesday market at the Imperial College campus by Queens Lawn and Queens Tower.

The focus of this weekly market is helping prop up local farmers and area purveyors, which means it's a great place to pick up some quality groceries for the week. A highlight is the Spanish cheese and chorizo selection from Flavours of Spain but you can also count on a rotating lineup of seasonal selections. And if all the food gawking gets your appetite going, there’s a regular gang of star-studded street food vendors serving everything from Lebanese-style flatbread wraps to juicy beef patties sandwiched between glazed buns. Fitt Tip: this market is cash only.

West Hampstead Farmers’ Market has everything you need to stock your pantry. Make sure you head in early, as lots of stalls sell out quick. Pick up Essex coast fish, seasonal herbs, fresh-cut flowers, free-range meats, and so much more. Plus, there are plenty of hot food stalls where you can grab a bite to eat—Pasta E Basta being one of them—so you won’t get caught hungry.

The not-so-well-known Notting Hill Farmers’ Market is soon to be well known. Hidden down an alleyway, the locals of West London have been getting their weekly haul of fresh groceries from the 20 or so stalls that set up in the carpark behind Waterstones. Everyone in this neck of the woods knows the early bird gets the worm (and best produce), so we recommend getting there for 9am on Saturday to get the goods.

Every Sunday since 2003, upwards of 40 vendors set up their stalls at this year-round market on Aybrook St. to sell everything from high-quality, free-range meats to organic produce, including a selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables that few other markets can touch. Expect cherries in July, apples and plums in August, and root vegetables in January. Oh, and if you don't feel like leaving your best friend at home, this market is dog-friendly to those that are well-behaved.

This farmers market has been around since the late '90s and there's a reason it has been able to stand the test of time. With a community focus and a friendly atmosphere, Londoners come back to this bustling spot week after week for more than just the incredible selection of grocery items. While you bump elbows with your neighbors and trade recipes with your friends, you can pick up fresh-cut flowers from Grange Nursery, seasonal seafood, homemade pasta, and more. And since this market takes place every Sunday, you'll be all stocked up for the days ahead.

If you're on the search for a local market that has some harder-to-find items, the Queens Park Farmers' Market is your spot. With handfuls of diverse vendors that frequently rotate, you eye everything from garlic dumplings to biodynamic eggs and vegetables, and, if you're lucky, farmed trout and birch sap. When all that shopping has you short on energy, Chad's dairy and coffee stall has you covered with a piping hot cup of joe.

If your ideal morning includes a brisk jog through Hampstead Heath followed by perusing the food stalls at your local farmers market, then consider the Parliament Hill Farmers' Market your new Saturday hangout. Carving out a space every weekend at Williams Ellis School, you can swing by for handmade breads from Levain Bakery, organic fruits and vegetables, and all sorts of hot, prepared food (for when you need to refuel post run). You'll also want to keep an eye out for selections that only make an appearance during specific times of the year, like purple sprouting broccoli in February!

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