Guildford farmers market

Hazy sun, frost first thing, a cold day around 7C.

Market very busy but also a lot of overpriced tat.

Celtic Baker had sold out of most bread.

Apple stall sold out of small apples, and brought extra lot.

The stall that occupies where once Secretts Farm had a stall, I learnt was the former head grower at Secretts Farm. He had managed to find a plot of land and has started up his own business. The quality of the produce always high.

A cake stall got shirty when I took a picture of the stall, wanted to know what I was doing. I would have thought obvious. I wish people would learn, it is ok to take pictures in public space.

The market is due to go plastic free next year. No information on this and news to the stall holders.

Interesting conversation with Riverford, suppliers of veg boxes, on their moves to go plastic free by 2020.

Ever wondered why never see any Police? Half a dozen Police at the Experience Guildford stall, who now have a presence to try and justify their squandering of public funds, like for example offering free car parking on the lead up to Christmas, the one time of the year the car parks full to overflowing and delivering a one sheet newsletter devoid of content that is treated as junk mail and goes straight in the bin.

And what were the Police doing, a farmer branching out into illicit poppies? I have no idea.

Last market everyone thought the turkey stall had been kicked off the market. Sadly not, they are back, with turkeys siting on their stall, plus their usual turkey sausages. At least not covered in flies. And who buys turkeys three weeks before Christmas?

Fresh meat and poultry should be kept in a fridge at  between 0-5C. Today, although a cold day, 7C. Last few days not far off 15C. Next few days hovering above and below 10C. Or in other words not the temperature inside a fridge.

During the summer poultry sat on their stall at plus 25C if not above 30C.

And where were Environmental Heath? They claim to regularly patrol the market. Strange how no one ever sees them. Maybe they would care to give dates and times, stalls inspected, and why the turkey stall is still on the market.

Why would anyone wish to buy turkeys three weeks before Christmas?

If wish to buy a turkey, buy from a reputable local butcher.

Excellent local butcher in Downing Street in Farnham.

Mushroom stall had oyster mushrooms growing. I commented could grow on coffee grounds. He said no, alien species could grow. He uses a mix of sawdust and straw. Those using coffee grounds would beg to differ, they also add straw. Coffee grounds are sterilised but could subsequently become contaminated.

One thing one learns from coffee roasteries, even if nothing else, is respect for the coffee bean. Not so Cupsmith. During the hot summer, roasted coffee beans in open hessian sacks. Cold damp winter days, roasted coffee beans in open hessian sacks.

There are two places to obtain quality coffee beans in Guildford, and two places only. FCB Coffee kiosk on Guildford Station has occasional guest coffee on sale. Krema in Tungate has coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters on sale.

When buying cheese, things to look for, rare breed cows, cows pastured on grass, unpasteurised milk, traditional cheesemaking. What you do not want is pasteurised milk from black and white bulk milk producers, and cheese made on the farm where  simply replicating an industrialised process on a smaller scale including adding cultures. And never vacuum packed adulterated fake Cheddar in 17 flavours or waxed cheese with a picture of a Lancaster bomber.

But do not take my word for it, heed what Bronwen Percival has to say on buying cheese in an Appendix to Reinventing the Wheel:

Buy unadulterated cheese … if a cheesemaker hides behind added ingredients, whether smoke, added fruits or spices … it is either a tragedy … or a sign their milk was devoid of character in the first place … Buy raw-milk cheese … Buy complex cheese … Buy from a cheesemonger … good cheesemongers are curators of good cheese.

Adulterating cheese is akin to adding syrups to coffee. Don’t. It either ruins a good coffee or is used to hide bad coffee.

For quality cheese in Guildford spoilt for choice in the cheesemonger end of Chapel Street.

Farmers markets are synonymous with quality, or so they would like us to think, but do not be fooled, that something is produced locally, does not make it quality.

I will buy bread off Celtic Bakers, eat a dosa off the dosa stall, fresh produce off the stall that has taken the place of Secretts Farm, apples and apple juice off the apple stall, meat from the farm cooking the roast pork.

I noticed many of the stalls were stickered with little black Great Taste Awards maybe half, maybe more than half. Do not be fooled, these stickers mean absolutely nothing, and are certainly no indication of quality.

A dosa off the Indian stall, as always excellent.

Excellent honey crunch chicken with brown rice in Bamboo Shoots.

Passing Surrey Hills Coffee to and from Bamboo Shoots, as always empty, ok one customer. On my second pass, a girl I have not seen before. Pleasant and helpful. I commented that one of the bags of coffee grounds sat outside had been picked up. Did I want she asked, more behind the counter. No, as wrong time of year.

As always, excellent coffee at Krema.

I was greeted by an ex-barista from Harris + Hoole. Since the takeover by caffe Nero and death by a thousand cuts, Harris + Hoole have lost all their good staff.

There will be an extra market in two weeks time, a special Christmas market. If there was any information or publicity, I did not see. I only know thanks to a  couple of the stalls telling me.

The market needs to up its game, better environmental standards, emphasis on quality having priority over local, though ideally both.

A must for the Christmas market, Hidden Curiosities Gin and Chimney Fire Coffee, local producers of exceptional quality.

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