A visit to the Farmers’ Market.
It is 8.45 on Saturday morning, late April, and it is cold enough to freeze the whatsits off a brass monkey, but Simon, Steph and I have decided to visit our local Farmers Market in Beaconsfield, near where we live. It takes place on the last Saturday in every month. We meet opposite and persuade the OLDE TEA SHOPPE ladies to open early so that we can grab a cup of coffee to warm us up. Simon, as usual, had ideas off of the scale, starting from filming us going around the whole market, buying a selection of products and cooking them as we go – a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The problem is we have no fire to cook on (other than the passion in Simon’s heart of course!) We reign him in and decide to buy whatever takes our fancy to cook over the weekend, to share with you, whilst Steph takes her gorgeous pictures. There is a huge selection of stalls with fabulous food on offer; from locally produced sausages and tasty cuts of pork, through to Greek yoghurt (from Bucks!), local honey; sourdough breads and seasonal fruit and vegetables. It was great to walk round chatting to the local suppliers, most of whom are deeply involved with farming, growing and producing their wares to sell in the markets at the weekend. It was like going back in time to an age where the pace of life is slower; everyone has a few moments to pass the time of day, tell you about what they are doing on their farm and how they came to do what they are doing. Each one is passionate about their way of life, and are happy to share their secrets with you………Oh apart from the lady with her Grandmother’s Game Pie – Granny luckily hadn’t gone to the grave with her recipe, but there was no getting the magic ingredient from her granddaughter! This is an interesting time of year for the seasonal shopper, especially in the vegetable and salad department; here we really could see what is available in late April when we have had a particularly cold winter. Simon has gone away happily with a bag full of purple sprouting broccoli; pink fir apple potatoes; kale; a bitter salad leaf and a bunch of black scorzonera – I cannot wait to see what he cooks up! The Seer Green Vintner was promoting his pink sparkling wine – the 2010 harvest was particularly good, and we were amazed that we can get such great wine from less than 3 miles away! The 2011 vintage is nearly ready, and the 2012 – well, after last summer, we will just have to wait and see……. We have had a really fun, interesting morning. Incidentally I had to pop into the Supermarket to pick up some non-local, non-seasonal bits – (sorry to share that guilty secret with you), and it was mobbed full of Saturday morning shoppers – impatient, cross and unhappy, there was nowhere to park, the tills had queues six deep, no one was smiling – it was a completely different experience, and I know which one I will be repeating more often. So we challenge you to give it a go: if you have a farmers’ market near you, pay it a visit – buy a few little products, conjure up something tasty and wonderful and let us know what you’ve been up to. It isn’t cheap as chips like some of your average supermarket BOGOF buys, but it tastes better, it doesn’t support a load of share-holders’ dividends, just puts a few quid in the farmer’s pocket for his hard graft; and you will have had a fun morning supporting your local community and making new friends……………..go on, you know you want to! The Rambler
The Rambler, AKA Celia Dulieu
Celia has been sharing food, wine, recipes and friendship with Simon and Sue Gale for more than 15 years.
In a former life she was a mass caterer, working for large companies such as Selfridges, London; but after moving to the countryside with husband, 2 kids and dog, she resurrected her love of food, - particularly by entertaining her large extended family to lunches ,sharing informal get togethers with friends, and developing her small but productive kitchen garden. She is passionate about all things to do with food and wine; from where it is produced to how it arrived on her doorstep.
Celia’s love of meeting people, visiting places and trying different things has culminated in being invited to get involve with writing up the experiences of the Heart Kitchen and sharing her love of food with you through her ramblings.