Guildford farmers market

Celtic Baker

Celtic Baker

chutney

chutney

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall

Peakes Pond in Castle Grounds

Peakes Pond in Castle Grounds

Alighting at Guildford Station, I started my day with a cappuccino off the FCB Artisan Coffee kiosk. I am at a loss why anyone has disgusting coffee from Costa, when the best coffee in Guildford is available from a kiosk on Platform 2.

I learnt the bad news that Tolleys have pulled out although they retain their 51% stake in Harris + Hoole. Were they pushed? This can mean several things. Will Tesco sell their stake?  Will Harris + Hoole will go rapidly downhill to become another Costa or Starbucks or Caffe Nero on the High Street?

It is a pity the Tolleys did not offer their 51% to staff and customers, or better still give the opportunity to coffee shops like the one in Guildford, to do a buy out by staff and customers and trade as  open co-ops, or a network of open co-ops. But I do not supposed they cared so long as they made money out of the deal.

Last year, Harris + Hoole recorded a loss of nearly £13 million on sales of £6.6 million. Massive coffee shop expansion, two-thirds of which in Tesco stores. They were also closing coffee shops, even though only opened first coffee shop in 2012. Tesco store location bad positioning. In Guildford it went from that excellent coffee shop in North Street, to the coffee shop in Tesco.  A sad tale of massive expansion, greed writ large.

Along the River Wey and up the High Street to the farmers market.

Many of the stalls had sold out. I bought a lot more than I usually do.

Wholemeal bread off Celtic Baker.

Fish cakes off one of the stalls, lunch for tomorrow.

Pie stall, had sold out of their Cornish pasties, actually better than Cornish pasties. They had sliced one for show, and as a regular, gave it to me.

Off Secretts Farm, quality cucumber.

Jam off the apple fruit juice stall at the top of the High Street. It is interesting to see how they have diversified. Apple juice, then apples, then various fruits, now jam. I had hoped they might have plums. They had, but sold out. I tried a jar of strawberry and rhubarb. Their jam is proving so popular, that they have opened an office as kitchen and are buying in fruit from neighbouring growers.

I tried the jam, spread on toast. Yes, very very good jam.

Lunch was sausage in a bap off one of the stalls.

Unbelievably expensive muesli off one of the stalls. More than double the price of quality muesli from Lidl. I asked them to justify the high price. I was not convinced.

For dessert, blackcurrant ice cream off Dylan’s Ice Cream.

Card boxes for food, cups that can go on the compost heap, lids for cups made from plant-based cellulose, paper bags, wooden forks, are now mainstream, can be sourced from catering suppliers. There is absolutely no excuse for use of plastic or even worse polystyrene cups and burger-style boxes. Music festivals set high standards, it is long overdue Guildford set the same high standards for the stalls on the farmers market.

Occasionally in the past, Guildford has had a stall to encourage recycling. Height of hypocrisy when they do not set high recycling standards for their own markets. At the very least, lack of joined up thinking.

There is a need for a quality coffee van on the market. Invite Jimmy Bean or HoBo Co. It is embarrassing when you see stallholders with coffee from Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or Caffe Nero. On the one hand they want us to buy local, on the other hand failing to do so themselves.

Guildford farmers market first Tuesday of the month in the High Street.

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