Every Saturday from 10am till 3pm, Addison Primary School's playground in Brook Green (near Shepherds Bush) transforms into a Wild Food Market, which is aptly named as being outside means it's open to the elements (wind and rain included as noted on our visit). Despite the bad weather and trader's personal ponds, which collected in dips in the playground, the trader's keep coming back and now so will I!
What caught me with this market is its community spirit. With locals nipping out from the house to grab their breakfasts from the market, less than 20 stalls and the traders returning weekly, there's a real comradely spirit in Brook Green between the traders and locals.
Talking to some of the stall holders it's clear how passionate they are about their produce (something which can go amiss at the bigger markets where the sellers are shipped in for the day). Everyone we spoke to was happy to talk us through their goods, when we turned up at Paul at Nut Knowle Farm's stall we asked about one goat's cheese and straight away he said "Let me just stop you there. I'm going to take you on a tour of our goats cheeses. There will be samples along the way."
And that was the moment I knew this was the market for me.
We weren't planning to eat anything/a lot at the market (I hear screams of why not, well let me tell you) because we had plans to go to the newly opened STAX Diner for lunch. However, when we arrived and saw Social Meat Club's stall and the wood smoked rack of ribs we couldn't not have them and for £4 that half rack of ribs was a steal!
Tender juicy pork ribs were slathered with a smokey BBQ glaze and smoked with wood chips allowing the flavour to permeate deep into the meat. The glaze was fruity from the presence of pineapple (who knew?!) and tomato juice, harrissa, garlic and smoky paprika gave it a bit of a bite, while the addition of coke made this glaze sticky, sweet and oh so GOOD! If you haven't cooked with coke at home it's a staple of a good bbq glaze and so easy to do (granted it takes a long time to cook but you can just slow roast it). Social Meat Club are currently at The Wild Food Market most Saturdays.
Nut Knowle Farm stall ran by Paul was for me the highlight of the market and I'm not being biased because Paul told us a story about how he fell for goats cheese in my home town. Yay Kent! Paul was really helpful, I wasn't joking when I wrote that he said he was going to walk us through his cheeses he really did (with samples!!). For this stall alone you're going to wish you had double the amount of money you bought to the market, I'll tell you straight I have never spent so much money on goat's cheese (or cheese) in my life but I wish we'd bought more!
Nut Knowle Farm are a goat's farm in Sussex and they make by hand a huge array of vegetarian goats cheeses. From a silky Camembert style cheese, the Saint George, to an aged ash coated log which has the flavour of blue mould on the outside (mould is good!). And if neither of those sound up your street what about a goats cheese rolled in chilli flakes which packs some serious heat, with crystallised ginger or unusually with strawberry and black pepper. We bought an ash coated goats cheese which Dan kept calling blue because it tastes very similar to a blue cheese, a goats cheese rolled in lemon pepper this is delicious and we've been having it in salads all week and a jar of garlic crumbed cheese steeped in olive oil as a gift for someone special (resisting the temptation to eat is proving difficult).
I could talk you through all the cheeses they have to offer but I wouldn't be doing them justice so you should just go and try some yourself. Paul and his cheeses from Nut Knowle Farm will be at Nottinghill Market this Saturday but they trade all over!
I have to stop talking about cheese so let's move on to my second favourite subject. Cake.
Bad Ass Cakes to be precise, and I'm not just trying to hype up the cakes (although they really are bad ass) that is the name. Bad Ass Cakes is a bakery which frequents the Wild Food Market selling their cupcakes and 'Slutty Brownies' but the owner Barbara also make big cakes; we're talking the Leaning Tower of Pisa big cakes (go check it out on their website). What we sampled at the stall was great, the Jamaican rum cake (so I'm told by Dan) packed a good shot of rum in and the chocolate orange cupcake I took away was light and fluffy with a tangy orange gel and the best kind of icing (thick and chocolate). I'm only sorry we didn't try more, but the glittery strawberry New York Lady cheesecakes are calling me back and I've got to return in the search for the elusive Slutty Brownie (it had sold out by the time we arrrived!).
Bad Ass Cakes are at the Wild Food Market every Saturday but they also have a store and online bakery you can visit.
There are so many stalls to take a look at so head down to the market every Saturday to stock up your larder with all the produce mentioned in this post, as well as wild mushrooms, vegetables (including courgette flowers!), birch tree syrup (like maple but treacle tasting) and more.
I only regretted one thing on our rainy Saturday at the Wild Food Market. Not eating more!