I'm a Mum of two boys living in Oxfordshire, enjoying lots of fun activities and writing about them when I get a chance.
Published December 26th 2012
An abundant range of farmer's produce
Farmer's markets are a great way of searching, sampling and buying local seasonal produce. It's also a lovely way to have an informal chat with the sellers and find out more about what's on offer. Saying that, I didn't feel much like talking on a cold and wet November day when I decided to take a short cut through Gloucester Green in Oxford's City Centre. However, as I started to zip quickly up and down the rows of stalls to find some interesting items, I was quickly drawn in by what was on offer and despite the weather couldn't resist a little chat here and there.
The Oxford Farmer's Market at Gloucester Green runs twice a month on the first and third Thursday. On the day I visited the stall types could be roughly categorised into two areas.
It was the pretty iced cupcakes with their rainbow of colours which first attracted my attention. These would make a beautiful centre piece for a baby shower or alternative to a wedding cake. I was then swayed by the spiced apple muffins and bought one for me and one for my husband. The muffin was wonderfully moist and the chunks of spiced apple perfect for a winter treat.
Cakeaways are based in South Oxfordshire and as well as selling their yummy treats at the farmer's market they specialise in "delectable and bespoke cakes". They can flavour their cakes and cupcakes from Madagascan Vanilla to Baileys Cream and it's both the cake as well as the frosting that is enriched. Cakeaways make wedding, novelty and celebration cakes as well as their cupcakes, brownies and cookies. If you have a food intolerance they can cater for you too with gluten free, dairy free and other free from options.
Next up, I was drawn to a stand selling warm spiced apple juice. I was given a cup to try by the farmer himself and it was so good that I purchased a bottle to take home.
George Bomford grows apples and pears in his orchard and produces juice which is farm pressed in the vale of Evesham. The spiced apple juice has no funny additives with the ingredients listed as apple juice, cinnamon, gloves and ginger. Warmed up, it had just the right amount of spice to tickle your toes on a winter's day.
You better be quick to get your goats cheese before it sells out
You're in for a real treat if you pause at the the stall for Windrush Valley Goat Dairy. Run by Renee and Richard Loveridge they sell an award winning range of products made from their pedigree British Saanan Goats. They sell cheeses, probiotic yoghurts in appealing glass bottles and the most fabulous baked cheesecakes I've laid eyes on.
They are a small Oxfordshire farm using traditional methods to ensure their free range animals are happy and that their food tastes great. If you can't make it to the market then their farm shop is only 15 miles from Oxford.
After purchasing your sausages, you could always pick up some fresh spelt or sourdough bread from another stall to make a great sausage sandwich or more unusually some Moreton mushrooms. I was impressed to see one table only selling a selection of fresh mushroom from homegrown chestnut to shitakes as well as their homeade pate and soup which were of course mushroom. Established in 1994 by Richard Lainchbury, Moreton Mushrooms focuses on local farmers markets and the soup is made by wife Wendy.
This farmer's market is well worth a visit and I'm sure you'll find something you can't resist.
If you can't make a Thursday visit to the farmer's market at Gloucester Green then all is not lost. Oxford's Covered Market has a whole host of well established shops selling local, free range, unique, bespoke, seasonal and everything else you look for in a market.