I love farmers' markets. I love wandering around the stalls, taking in the sights and smells of delicious food, chatting to the stallholders and buying lots of delicious goodies to take home. I am also a firm believer in buying local, and supporting small, independent businesses, which is at the very core of farmers' markets' values.
Oakwood Farmers Market is held on the third Saturday of every month at the Oakwood Clock (at the top of Roundhay Road- if you don't know where it is, you get the 12/13/13a bus from town and get off just before Roundhay Park) Their website is here- you can find information about stall holders as well as news and updates. I was pleased to see that they have achieved FARMA accreditation, which means they "have a well run market offering customers fresh, wholesome food direct from the local producers, who have, on average travelled just 20 miles to be at our market." This not only shows their commitment to providing customers with good quality, fresh food but also guarantees a fair deal for producers, supporting the local economy and reducing food miles.
I am lucky enough to live less than 5 minutes walk from Oakwood Market, so every time the third Saturday of the month comes round, I roll out of bed, have breakfast in front of Saturday Kitchen, get dressed, and wander up the road- fortunately it was sunny last time I went in September; I am ashamed to say that I once gave the market a miss because it was raining slightly. I don't like rain one bit. Yes, I'm a wimp.
The market is always pleasantly busy, and it has a real community feel, with people of all ages wandering around looking at the stalls. The market is operated by local community organisation REAP (Roundhay Environmental Action Project- website here) and their stall was giving away free plants to encourage people to start growing their own- we went away with two strawberry plants with instructions on how to look after them/grow them. I would LOVE to have a nice crop of strawbs next summer, and they'll be so much tastier if I know I (well, more likely to be D if I'm honest...my hatred of rain extends to a hatred of most things outdoors, including gardening!) grew them myself. Inspired by the "grow your own" idea, we also bought a rosemary plant and a chilli plant from another stall. I just used two of the chillies in my dinner (mushroom fricassee on potato cakes- thank you Waitrose magazine!) and they were deliciously spicy.
There really is a wonderful variety of stalls at the market, ranging from delicatessens, to bakeries, to butchers, to greengrocers- there's even a little coffee shop! The previous time we visited, we bought a delicious loaf of homemade bread, some rhubarb and an interesting variety of squash- this time, I wanted something I could eat straight away, so I bought a cupcake from Cutting Cake Patisserie (website) and a chorizo parcel from Salts Deli (website- their shop is based in Leeds City Centre and another branch is opening soon in the Light) D got a slice of raspberry and almond tart, also from Salts.
The sky was, at this point, starting to look a bit grey, and D had to get off to Manchester to go and watch sodding Man United (I love him, but god, this is one of his worst faults!) so I took my purchases home for an early lunch.
I was so excited about the chorizo parcel from Salts. I love chorizo, and I love pastry-and here were the two together! Amazing. And I was not disappointed. The pastry was wonderfully crisp and light, and slightly orange-tinted with chorizo juices. The filling- chorizo, roasted pepper and caramelised onion- was just the right mix of spicy, smoky and sweet. I just wished I'd bought two! I ate it cold, but I think it would be delicious heated up and served with a salad and some patatas bravas (well it is a Spanish style deli after all!)
Now, D's raspberry and almond tart...I instructed him to take a picture before eating it (he took it to Manchester with him), but there was a little accident upon transportation and it ended up all mushed up in the box. He did still take a picture, but it would not be good publicity for Salts if I posted it here as it really was quite destroyed! He assures me however that it was utterly delicious- creamy custard and tart raspberries encased in perfect pastry.
For "pudding" I had a lemon and poppy seed cupcake from Cutting Cake Patisserie based in Meanwood. Cutting Cake does not only make cupcakes, but also does wedding/celebration cakes to order as well as handmade chocolates- which were also available to buy at the market, with a selection of other cakes.
I love lemon and poppy seed together. I love cupcakes. So I was pretty excited about trying this one as well! It looked beautiful, a swirl of buttercream on top with a sprinkling of poppy seeds. I was almost reluctant to bite into it for fear of ruining its good looks, but regrettably (:P) it had to be done! The sponge was light and quite dry, flavoured with lemon. It was really tasty, although I think it would have been nicer if it had poppy seeds in it as well, but that's a small quibble. The dryness of the sponge may not have been great on its own, but when paired with the luscious buttercream on top, it was perfect. I'm not even a massive fan of buttercream- I usually scrape most of it off, but the sponge definitely needed it and the combination of the two together was wonderful. Well done Cutting Cake- you converted me to buttercream, and whilst Sunshine Bakery still holds the crown of the Best Cupcake in Leeds for me, you're a close second and you can at least hold the accolade of making the only cupcake I've ever eaten all the buttercream off!
Oakwood Farmers' Market is on this Saturday- hope to see some of you there!
EDIT: Oops, got my dates all muddled up. The next market is on Sat 16th October :)