A food market in Stoke Newington has been named ‘Best Independent Local Retailer’ for 2012 by readers of The Observer newspaper.
Stoke Newington Organic Farmers’ Market was judged to be the best local retailer across Britain by The Observer Food Monthly Awards. The market is run by Growing Communities, a north London organisation that focuses on organic food, sustainability and the local community.
The organisation, set up nearly a decade ago, not only runs the market but also offers fruit and veg box scheme that has over 700 subscribers. Much of the salad produce found in the veg boxes is grown in market gardens around east London.
The market in Stoke Newington remains the only completely organic farmer’s market in the UK, according to The Observer, despite the increasing awareness and popularity of organic food. Kerry Rankine, assistant director of Growing Communities said: “It is the way the food is produced that’s critical” and, in regard to their 100% organic criteria, proudly declares: “We’ve stuck with it.”
The farmers and stall holders of the Stoke Newington Organic Farmers’ Market are passionate about their produce and make no attempt to disguise the more earthy appearance of their food and stalls; when it comes to organic food, appearance counts for little.
But using only seasonal produce can be challenging. One stallholder selling his pesto and fresh pasta has only the rocket variety left because “the basil has finished, and this is the last of the rocket”; after that, only the sundried tomato can be used.
The market takes place on Saturdays in the grounds of St Paul’s church and boasts a lively atmosphere with people of all ages buying food, enjoying the live music and chatting to stall holders.