Friday, August 26, 2016

Did you know you can find some of the biggest, juiciest, most colorful heirloom tomatoes right here in London?

 I was in disbelief when I first discovered these tomatoes at one of the markets in London. Surely, they were imported, right?

Nope, I’ve been buying these tomatoes directly from two of England’s larger farmers’ market stalls – Wild Country Organics and the Isle of Wight Tomatoes, the latter being a small manufacturer that handpicks its tomatoes grown on a small island located about 3 hours southwest of London. The first company is located on a farm near Cambridge, about 90 minutes north of London, that has growing organic tomatoes, peppers, lettuces and other produce since 1988. Both companies sell their products at markets all over the city.
Since moving to London, I've discovered the London Farmers’ Markets organization online and have used the website to find the local markets in my area. So far, I’ve frequented the weekend markets in Earl’s Court (my preferred market for best prices and location), South Kensington and Wimbledon. I’ve also been to Borough Market again, but I find the market is overpriced for every day produce and better for specialty items like French and English cheeses, homemade cakes and fudge and different foreign goods.

During July and August, I’ve bought beautiful berries and cherries, colorful tomatoes, fresh herbs and salad greens, apple cider, celery, carrots, potatoes, sweet peppers and zucchini. Don’t forget the free-range chicken and eggs, fresh farm milk and some of the best lamb I’ve ever cooked and eaten! At the main meat stall in Earl’s Court, I can buy two free-range chickens for £10 (about $13USD). It’s nice to be able to talk directly with the farmers and growers about their wonderful products.
Overall, I find the markets’ prices fairly comparable and often better than the grocery store prices. Plus, all of the produce is locally grown and most of it is organic or might as well be but maybe it’s just not certified. I’d much rather support a local farmer than a giant corporation!

It will be interesting to see what happens once fall and winter arrive here. I’m hoping we’re not stuck just eating carrots and potatoes at every meal!
Basically, a week's worth of groceries bought at the Earl's Court farmers' market on Sundays.
Not pictured are two free-range chickens.

My Traveling Joys

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Julia said...

Don't worry, the UK is VERY good at doing winter vegetables - the weather suits them perfectly. :) You've found yourself some great farmers' markets there. The produce looks fab. :)

BacktoBodrum said...

You are making this Brit in Turkey jealous. Hope you grabbed some gooseberries too.

Joy said...

Ha ha @Julia, good to know! I just didn't want to survive on potatoes. ;) Plus so much food is imported that I think I can find everything here!

Joy said...

@Annie, sorry about that! ;) I'm more a red currant fan, but should try the gooseberries again. My mom has several bushes of these in her garden back in the US.

Kreete said...

Great post! When I used to love in Wimbledon, I always found the products in the supermarkets quite tasteless and bland. I was desperate for some hormone free meat and fresh fruit and vegetables that hadn't travelled from across the world. I did visit some of the markets in the city but never got used to going there regularly. Anyway, great photos and good to know there still is decent food in England!