Sunday, September 23, 2007

Westbury-On-Trym Local Produce Market, Channells Hill, Bristol

A New Market is Born, September 22nd, 2007

picture photograph image gales farm stand bristol england 2007 copyright of sam breach
photograph copyright ChrisB

When I found out that a new local produce market was opening three miles from my parents house in Bristol, England, this past Saturday, I insisted we should go and check it out. As someone who normally does all their food shopping at what is perhaps one of the most well known Farmers Market in the world, in San Francisco, I couldn't wait to compare and contrast the two.

When we reached the school where the farm stands were set up in the playground, the place was buzzing with the excitement of new. Families, couples, mums with pushchairs middle-aged and elderly people had all stopped by to welcome this new market into their community.

I had no idea what to expect or how the small English local market would size up to San Francisco's juggernaut of a Famers' Market. The two couldn't really be more different. San Francisco wins hands down when it comes to vegetables and fruit. In fact, the Westbury-On-Trym market unfortunately had not managed to attract any vegetable produce sellers at all for their opening day.

But the meat, oh the meat, eat your heart out San Francisco.
Pork bellies, hand made sausages, bacon, rabbit, venison, lamb, chickens, duck eggs, beef dripping and more. It was meat heaven. "Where is this venison from"? I asked the gentleman, from Gales Farm, pictured above. "It's from the Badminton Estate", he replied, "I shot it myself". The Badminton Estate is less than 20 miles away, and at once every Bristolian can picture exactly where their food might be coming from. And you meet the man who killed the animal you are going to eat. This is a rare treasure for a Californian dweller whose meats meet their demise only in an official abattoir.

picture photograph image cotswold edge farm stand bristol england 2007 copyright of sam breach

By the time we had arrived, an hour after the market had opened, Farmer Dave from Cotswold Edge Farm (14 miles away from my parents house) had already sold out of chicken eggs so we opted for his large, white duck eggs instead. I asked him if his birds are allowed to run free outside. Of course, he said, they they make a right mess and you have to be careful where you are walking!

I wasn't thinking straight at the time otherwise I would have bought a jar of his beautiful looking pickled eggs (you can spot them in the back of the photograph above) to take back to my friend Cookiecrumb in Marin, who I am pretty sure would have absolutely loved them. I am kicking myself for not having thought of it at the time. This Westbury-On-Trym Market is due to run only once a month and if I am still stuck in the UK waiting for my visa stamp by the time the next one comes around at the end of October, I am pretty sure that forgetting to buy Cookiecrumb pickled eggs will be the least of my problems.

Or shall I stay here anyway, just for a meatfest redux?

Local Resources
Eating Locally in Bristol England?
Bristol Local Food Guide
Sustainable Redland
Cotswold Edge Farm

Other Resources & Further Reading
Support Eat Local Month September 2007

2006 | I almost wet my knickers at the farmers' market today
2005 | Return from Fiji

© 2007 Sam Breach
Westbury-On-Trym Local Produce Market, Channells Hill, Bristol


  • At 23/9/07 18:08, Blogger frannie said…

    glad you enjoyed yourself at the market! too bad there weren't any fresh veggies for you

  • At 23/9/07 18:30, Blogger Dagny said…

    The meat feast sounds wonderful. About the only time I have venison is when visiting family friends. They have a neighbor who hunts on a regular basis.

  • At 23/9/07 19:40, Blogger Jennifer Maiser said…

    sorry cookie, but sam come home sooner than in a month. :)

  • At 23/9/07 20:53, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    awesome. i remember salivating the whole time i was reading the british book "maynard, adventures of a bacon curer" and hfw's river cottage meat book. our fruit and veggies in the bay area are amongst the best in the world, but -- with a few notable exceptions -- we don't have the quality of fresh meat and seafood that you find in europe.

    hope you return soon. we missed you last night at amanda's going away bash.

  • At 24/9/07 00:18, Blogger ChrisB said…

    sam one clearly needs to be an early bird to get hens 'eggs'.

  • At 24/9/07 04:11, Blogger Beccy said…

    The meat sounds wonderful.

  • At 24/9/07 05:21, Blogger Steffi said…

    Your meat sounds wonderful.

  • At 24/9/07 06:14, Blogger Kevin Kossowan said…

    You had me at 'meatfest'.

  • At 24/9/07 08:53, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Eeee! Pickled eggs!
    I spotted them in the photo before you even mentioned them.
    What a lovely experience at that little, local market.

    Um. You are coming back, aren't you? To California?

  • At 24/9/07 12:29, Blogger Owen said…

    Hey cookie - I had a splendiferous pickled egg the other day while waiting at one of my kids' events. One of the other dad's, a friend just suddenly offered around a jar of pickled eggs. He apparently does them all the time at home - and in a really easy way. He likes pepperoncini and when he's done he refills the jar with hard boiled eggs and lets them sit for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge - voila - pickled eggs! He says you only get one batch per jar of juice - and I suspect any good pickling liquid could work. I am going to try some good kosher dill pickle juice (which I will probably doctor up a bit) next week...

  • At 24/9/07 13:01, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Ah, yes, Owen. It really is that easy. That's how I got started...
    Then I veered into purple eggs pickled in red cabbage and radish brine.
    Oh, and eggs in kalamata juice.
    Won't even mention the Bloody Mary eggs I tried once, booze and all. :)
    Have fun.
    Back to you, Sam.

  • At 24/9/07 14:36, Blogger Tea said…

    I wish our market vendors wore neckties and lovely stripey aprons!

  • At 24/9/07 15:08, Blogger Kyla said…

    What about prices? Are the prices reasonable compared to other kinds of produce. Just curious.

    I'm curious about duck eggs; what do they taste like in comparison to hen's? Looks like a lovely farmer's market.

  • At 24/9/07 16:28, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    mmm, sam, enidd is envying you that meat. perhaps she could post off some of the farmers' market's best in return for some black pudding and venison. (there was black pudding, wasn't there?)

  • At 24/9/07 17:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would love to be able to buy local meat - where I knew who was raising it and in what conditions.

    however, as an American, when I think "Farmer's Market" - the only thing that comes to mind is fruits and veges (maybe some fresh soap), but not meat.

  • At 25/9/07 11:41, Blogger meathenge said…

    OoOoOooOoO, that sounds wonderful. Some day, I would like to take a trip to a far off land. You know? Where I don't feel at home. Where I can walk out and no blasted idea as to where I am or where to find my makin's. And to be able to view such a meat table as what you experinced, that's what I would like.

    xo, Biggles

  • At 26/9/07 05:55, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Oooh, the US Customs guys would LOVE you and your jar of pickled eggs ferreted away among the dirty laundry at the bottom of the case...! LOL! The meat sounds marvellous - it is great when there's such a high degree of traceability.

  • At 28/9/07 21:54, Blogger stickyfingers said…

    Mmm, sounds like good fun - and very picturesque too.

    I am fortunate enough to enjoy the best of both worlds at my local farmers markets in Melbourne, Australia and I do most of my shopping there. We are fortunate in the diversity of our produce and the cross cultural embrace of varied cooking styles and traditions.

    We have all the meat you described plus more including organic rare breed meat and heritage vegetables, Asian vegetables, avocadoes, home cured and smoked meats & seafood, meat pies & quiches, sausages, offal, buffalo, veal, rabbit, venison, goat, free range saddleback pork, free range quail, duck, turkey & spatchcock, black welsh beef, saltbush lamb, farmed barramundi, unpasteurised milk, honey, ice cream, freshly churned butter, cheese, goats cheese, creme fraiche, quark, eggs (traditional free range and organic), oysters, mussels and abalone plus an extensive array of fruit, mushrooms, artisanal breads & pastry, nuts, olives, oils, dukkah, spices, herbs, candy/sweeties, jams, preserves and home baked cakes.

    My weekly shopping trip is heaven topped off with a hot egg and bacon sarnie fresh from the BBQ, with brekkie proceeds donated to local charities.

  • At 8/11/07 15:01, Blogger Al Shaw said…

    We live 5 minutes walk from this market and have starting using it each month as part of our own little commitment to buy local food. It's improving month on month.

    See you there?


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