East Oxford has a lovely and very genuine farmers market. Established in 2006 the products on offer are from within 30 miles. The only exception are Fairtrade products and the emphasis is on these arriving by ship or land rather than by air. As well as truly fresh vegetables, mouth watering cakes and a wide choice of bread you know you're doing your bit for the environment by keeping your food miles down. You could easily do your weekly shop here and pick up a few nice items as a treat or present too.
Tucked behind busy Cowley Road the Market runs every Saturday at East Oxford Primary School. There are some stalls outside but the majority are in the school hall, so don't let a rainy day put you off.
East Oxford Farmers' & Community Market is vibrant with friendly people on all the stalls who are proud of their produce and happy to chat. There's a great selection and many of the stalls change on a regular basis.
Beautiful displays of seasonal organic vegetables from Sandy Lane Farm
I enjoyed wandering among the different stalls, having a chat and sampling produce. A farmer's market wouldn't be the same without fresh vegetables. On the day I visited, Sandy Lane Farm had a great array of beautifully presented vegetables. They are a small family run farm just outside Oxford, growing organic vegetables as well as rearing pigs and lamb. As well as selling their vegetables here every other Saturday, they also have their own market at the farm on Thursday afternoons and attend various other local farmers' markets.
The Natural Bread Company specialise in wild yeast breads
I was quickly drawn to The Natural Bread Company with it's large selection of hand crafted artisanal bread. The company is run by a husband and wife team who started baking bread for their local farmers market and have since gone from strength to strength. My husband and I couldn't resist the saffron buns and they were delicious.
There are unusual selections as well, including 'I am Japanese' where you will get a great smile and a selection of mixed bento boxes or crispy chicken. Momo Fujita-Clarkson makes fresh, free range and organic Japanese food from traditional family recipes.
It's impossible to pass the Sugar Rush Bakery table without being tempted. Set up by best friends Emma and Elaine, their mission is to 'hand-craft delicious treats that are gorgeous to look at that then take you to taste Nirvana'. They are at the market on a monthly basis but you can contact them directly to commission something for a special event or gift. I know I would be happy with this sort of present.
No farmer's market would be complete without a great quality meat. I was very tempted by the hot water crust pies from Paul Bellchambers who is the chef and owner of The Late Chef As well as appearing at farmer's market, the Late Chef keeps very busy running his own catering business and has a 'buy local, cook local, eat local' ethos.
If you're feeling thirsty then look no further than Tiddly-Pommes, even the name puts a smile on your face. Their apple juice is made from apples collected from local orchards and gardens. I taste tested and then bought a bottle of Winston. It was made purely from little red Winston apples collected from Iffley Fields by owner and producer Rupert.
While there is a great range of food and drink, you can also also top up on your fairtrade products from Sesi. Minimise your packaging by refilling on anything from rice, nuts and maple syrup to household items such as washing-up liquid or shower gel.
Minimise your environmental impact by refilling at Sesi
After a good look around the stalls, a chat to the producers and purchasing of lovely treats you can take a break at the cafe. The day I visited it was Hayley's Kitchen. My husband, son and I all enjoyed a brunch of bacon, egg, slow cooked baked beans and potato wedges for just £5.
This is just a snap shot of some of the stalls I visited on the day but there's a great range from Crudge's Cheese, lovely Lavender products by Jacob's Field or jewellery from the Dragonfly Co-operative.