Sample Woodbridge Farmers’ Market
- Credit: Archant
Held once a fortnight, on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, Woodbridge Farmers’ Market was in jeopardy recently, but Andrew Bullard says today the event is thriving.
“The market is in its 15th year now which makes it the longest running farmers market in Suffolk, if not the East of England.
“It’s local produce. There are some things you can get on the high street but also a lot of things you cannot get. Last time we had two people selling goat meat, which I haven’t seen around for an awfully long time.
“The fact is it’s a unique market in its own right because the stallholders have got themselves together and ensure there’s no competition between themselves - that means there’s a very wide range of products. We have everything at the moment from winter pansies through to produce from the Wild Meat Company, who are producing game of the best quality and are recognised nationally. It’s one of the only markets they do.”
From the town itself you’ll find Deepmills who roast and grind single origin coffee beans from all over the world, and small home producers making chutneys and preserves in their home kitchens.
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The market hosts between 20 and 25 traders every time, some of them regulars and the other slots changing with the seasons as produce becomes available.
Andrew says: “With people like Newbourne Farm and Fiveways Farm we’ve got absolutely fresh produce there, from strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to apples, asparagus and cabbages.
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“What we’ve found is there is a hard core of people that will come to every market because they can come along and get what they need for the next two weeks –meat, cheeses, juices – and they like the coffee and tea shop, which sells homemade cakes and the best bacon butty around.
“Two of the other key things are the location, where there’s very good parking, and the fact it’s also undercover, so throughout the year you can go there and ensure your shopping experience isn’t marred by the weather.”
Woodbridge Farmers Market runs between 9am and 12.30pm on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
Meet the producers
Here are some of the folk you can expect to encounter at Woodbridge Farmers’ Market..
Sue Kiddie, Mrs Kiddie’s Cakes
“I’ve been coming to Woodbridge Farmers’ Market for two years now. I sell homemade cakes and tarts and some savouries like Scotch eggs and sausage rolls. I suspect that people equate farmers’ markets to expensive food but that’s not the case. I start at £1.80 for a large slab of cake.”
Mary Mummery, Deepmills Coffee
“We are gourmet coffee roasters in based in Woodbridge and you can find us with vats of freshly roasted coffee beans which are always roasted the in the same week. As speciality coffee roasters we always have small batches of fine Arabica beans from around the world which can’t be found in high street shops. We are always glad to talk about coffee as we grind your coffee to your requirements.
“We also produce chocolate and we are soon to become direct importers of fine teas from Ceylon which will include hand-picked single estate teas from ethical cultivation.”
Robert Gooch, Wild Meat Company
“The market is important for us as it allows customers who buy our products in other local retail outlets such as Budgens or Grange Farm to speak to us direct about how we source, produce and cook our products. We will not be at the next market due to Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival but after that we will be doing a special offer in October of four partridges for £10.”
Tracey Haste, Copperas Barn Traditional Meat
“We are a small family run farm just eight miles from Woodbridge. We breed our own stock to fatten so we know exactly what we are serving the customer when they come to buy meat from us.
At the market I sell pork, lamb and goat, all reared on our farm. Our goat herd has taken about four years to build up. We started with two and have 20 breeding nannies to date. They are Boer X, which produces a better carcass. They are grass and pellet fed and slaughtered between 12 and 18 months of age, we then sell the healthiest meat you can buy with less calories than chicken. At the market we will have 10% off goat purchased and 10% off orders for whole lamb taken on the day.”
Piers and Suvi Pool, High House Fruit Farm
“We still grow apples including some unusual older varieties such as Ribston Pippin, Blenheim Orange and Charles Ross, as well as Egremont Russet and Cox’s Orange Pippin. We grow other fruits too – rhubarb, cherries, plums, raspberries, gooseberries, red, white and black currants, loganberries, blackberries, quinces, damsons and asparagus.
We use our apples to make four varieties of delicious cloudy apple juice nad from our apples and other fruit we make small batches of jam.
We’ve been coming to Woodbridge Farmers’ Market since 2000. Because we sell all our fruit locally it means we can leave it on the trees or bushes until it is perfectly ripe, thus ensuring it has the best possible flavour.
“At the market on Saturday we will have Worcester Pearmain, James Grieve and Bramley apples, as well as Victoria plums, which will be on special offer.”
Ian Baker, Home Meadows Nursery
“Although summer is starting to pass us by there is still a very good selection of summer fruits and salad vegetables. Of course we are staring to get the first apples and the normal autumn fruits to tickle your palate.
The beauty of these markets is that the stallholders are able to give you all of the details of the products they have on offer.”
Bill Palfreman, Grangeworth Quality Farm Foods
“We are proud to have been every present at Woodbridge Farmers’ Market since its inception. We are a small farm-based family business supplying all meats and meat products. We originally produced our own beef and pork, but now they are all sourced from our locality. All meats are butchered in our own cutting rooms and products produced on the premises.
We have a renowned reputation for our Grangeworth traditional Suffolk sweet dry cured and oak smoked hams and bacon. At Woodbridge Farmer’s Market we carve ham on the bone, salt beef and smoked turkey breast in front if you. Current special offers include buy a fresh free range pork fillet and get a frozen one half price.”
Katharine Salisbury, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses
“We make our cheeses by hand from the rich and creamy milk from our small Guernsey cow herd. Woodbridge Farmers’ Market is an ideal opportunity to come and sample our cheeses. We offer tasters of our three main cheeses – Suffolk Gold, Suffolk Brie and Suffolk Blue.Our market is a lovely, vibrant market, unique in that it is run by the producers themselves. The result is a very friendly atmosphere. A great deal of passion and pride goes into the making of each and every product and the producers are there in person to talk about their goods.”
Lotty Barbour, Cratfield Beef
“Cratfield Beef has attended Woodbridge Farmers’ Market for many years. We offer quality home-reared beef from our own farm at Cratfield near Halesworth. We bring a large range of fresh beef to each market. There is normally a bargain box which has a selection of beef products offered at a discounted price.”
Penny Green, Newbourne Farm Shop
“Newbourne Farm Shop has been trading since 2007. We are a family-run business who have been in the growing trade for three generations. We started the farm shop after a year of supplying supermarkets and struggling to get a fair price for our produce. We love attending the farmers’ market as it gives us the chance to speak and sell directly to our customers, and also to ensure maximum freshness of our produce.
We will be offering a special deal on our tomatoes this weekend – a large punnet for £2 or two for £3.
Allister Compton, Best Farm Lamb and Beef
“We were one of the first stallholders at the Woodbridge Farmers’ Market at the inception of the modern farmers’ market renaissance. Our Best Farm Lamb and Beef business has delivered fresh and frozen meat at almost every market since, only missing dates for the occasional family wedding and rare holiday.
Some people think that buying at farmers’ markets is expensive. We disagree. We pass on the lower costs of cutting out the middle men to the advantage of both the customers and the farmer. I watch and compare national retail meat prices each week to ensure we offer value for money.
We have also been providing mutton through the winter months at Woodbridge for the past 10 years or more. Mutton is the meat of choice for curries and traditional Turkish cuisine, which is becoming a popular genre in Britain. I often demonstrate mutton recipes at the market and give out samples. It’s all about making that connection. The trouble is, when a customer comes back at the next market they’ll ask me for another idea – we are up to number 17 now!”
Bess Harrup, Leaping Hare Preserves
“Leaping Hare Preserves all started from having far too much fresh produce and a freezer full to bursting point. I hate waste so an obsession was born. I cannot walk past any tree dripping with fruit without stuffing a bagful to take home with me to make into jam or jelly. A friend gives me fruit from her garden in return for her year;s supply of jam! And the gluts of vegetables I grow on a local organic farm mixed with the fruits of the Suffolk hedgerows make original chutneys you won’t find anywhere else apart from at Woodbridge Farmers’ Market and other local fairs. The market is essential for a small business like mine. The friendly, loyal customers and visitors to the area help make an enjoyable selling experience.”
RECIPE: Apricot mutton curry
Allister Compton, Best Farm Lamb and Beef
It’s easy to make a real curry using fresh ingredients and a few spices. This recipe is based on ancient Persian cuisine. Try to get Hunza or Afghani apricots (dried) but if you can’t find them dried stoned apricots will do. Regulate how hot you want the curry by choice of chillies and/or use of dried chilli powder.
1 ½ lb Mutton chops or diced muttn
2fl oz cooking oil
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes – chopped
1 fresh red chilli, 1 fresh green chilli
1 ¼ pint water
½ “ square fresh ginger
2 good sized garlic cloves
3 oz semi dried apricots
3 inch stick of cinnamon
6 green cardamom pods
¼ to ½ tsp of red chilli powder (omit if chillies are hot)
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1. Soak the apricots in a pint of water with a teaspoon of vinegar.
2. Trim any excess fat off the chops.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan and cook the onions until light brown.
4. Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and continue cooking for a further three minutes.
5. Gently crush cinnamon stick and each cardamom pod and add to the pan.
6. Add cumin and pepper and stir.
7. Add chopped tomatoes and the fresh chillies and stir over a high heat to blend flavours.
8. Add the meat and 1 pint of water, bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Simmer until the meat is tender (can be placed in the oven in an oven proof casserole for an hour or two). Add extra water if it looks like drying out.
9. To conclude, when the meat is cooked, add a teaspoonful of white wine vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar. Drain the apricots and add to the curry. Cook for a further ten minutes and serve.