Hello Conscious global citizen & consumer! If you think we are playing into a trending fad of farmers’ market, bagging local produce & organic orgasm, no! We’d say it’s more of back-to-basics (don’t farmers worldwide grow the food so where’s the gimmick in that!). There’s a good reason why local farmers’ market & organic food is the way to go.
First, is all local produce sustainable – No! The common perception is that since local food is regional, it would have traveled shorter distance to reach us so a lesser carbon footprint. But since there’s no established standard on what’s this distance etc, not all local produce can be termed sustainable e.g. meat. But food production that involves pesticide free, organic way of producing is what is sustainable.
Why shop at local farmers’ market & organic food – Because of multiple reasons. In one of our features, we explained how the food around us is increasingly polluted – from vegetables, dairy, poultry to meat. Plus as production chain in the conventional food system have become increasingly consolidated, and as distribution networks have become increasingly globalized, the issue of food safety, such as foodborne illness, has also increased. Even the smallest amount of contamination can lead to a national or global outbreak as we have seen in recent times with bird flu & swine flu. In addition, focus on higher yielding plant varieties suitable for industrial production, higher yield & ease of transport affect the nutrition values of such food. To achieve higher yields, & make them disease-resistant is what has led to the controversial GMO seeds.
To reverse the effects of industrial production of food and eat more nutritional meals concept of farm fresh, shopping at local farmers’ market & organic seasonal food have gained momentum in recent times.
- Farmers involved in local food farming often choose plants based on what grows best in the region and accoding to the season with minimal intervention of pesticides etc.
- Local, sustainably produced farm fruits and vegetables are often fresher, as they do not require long distances for transport, and thus can be harvested closer to peak ripeness. As opposed to adding preservatives or additives to keep them fresher over transport & on supermart shelves.
- Many fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on the parent plant.
- Sustainably produced food also means less (or no) agricultural chemicals (such as pesticides), antibiotics and hormones.
While many supermarket chains have also now started stocking branded certified organic produce, plastic packaging, synthetic containers is the other big concern – both health-wise as well as from plastic waste problem. Which is why local farmers’ market & organic food chains are the latest places to check-in and get your dose of healthy nutritional food. We list some of the popular farmers market in our readers’ cities!
1. Marché Biologique de Raspail – The most chic
Located on the Boulevard Raspail in the 6th arrondissement, the Marché Raspail is one of the most popular markets on the Left Bank. Less than 20 minutes walk from the Jardin du Luxembourg and only eight minutes from the Musée d’Orsay, this open-air market has been running since 1920 and usually has around 40 fruit, vegetable, bakery, and takeaway food stalls. On Sundays the market turns into an organic haven. You can cop magnificent fruits and vegetables from local gardens and even cheese, meat and all other kitchen essentials. It is not unusual to spot celebrities, wicker basket in hand (Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg can often be spotted here).
When & where: Sundays 9am -3pm, location
2. Marché Biologique des Batignolles – First ever organic market
The first organic market in Paris, the Marché Biologique des Batignolles sits on the Boulevard des Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement. A one-stop-local-shop for a range of fruit, veg, cold meats, wines and even essential oils, here you can meet the producers and farmers themselves. Though i’s relatively smaller in size compared to many other Parisian markets, this is the one to visit when looking for niche products alongside everyday market goods. Fresh raw milk, vegetarian wheatgrass shots, and vegan croissants can all be bought here. Less than 20 minutes’ walk from the historical Parc Monceau and the Square des Batignolles, this market is a great place to spend a morning before enjoying the sunshine in one of Paris’s beautiful green spaces.
When & where: Saturdays 8:30 am to 2 pm, location
3. Marché Bastille – Twice a week
Located on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and presided over by the huge Bastille monument, the Marché Bastille takes place twice a week and is one of the city’s largest food markets. The quality here is high, with notable cheese, poultry, fish. It’s a must checkout if looking for free-range poultry and local cheeses. Check out the stand of Jackie Lorenzo, one of the best fishmongers in Paris.
When & where: Thursdays & Sundays 8am-2pm, location
4. La Ruche qui dit Oui – e-commerce innovation (A.K.A The Food Assembly in UK)
A few months back, we had debated whether Paris or London is the hotbed of green innovation & startups. The La Ruche qui dit Oui, though a French startup is now popular as The Food Assembly in UK and the melting pot of the European continent with extension to Spain, Germany & Italy! Recommended by our guest couple, Gilles & Bianca who told us how urbans can go zero waste, this startup has got interest from international investor community.
Essentially, it’s a community platform where consumers can group themselves to buy directly from local farms! You first need to find your local “ruche” on the company’s website (600 ruches in France alone!!) and sign up to the newsletter.
Every week, the ruche manager will send you an email and tell you what you can buy this week. Local foodmakers then come and sell directly their goods to to you in your city. It’s a great way to get connected with your neighbors and local farmers. Go on and try it!
Special Mention: Recently our guest writer Ines spoke about some plants with herbal properties that help you tackle To help you find these plants and identify them, there’s an incredible app – Pl@nt Net. Just scan the plant and get all details about it! Discover the plant infusions that help you fight everything from headaches to cellulite right here!
1. Peckham Farmers’ Market – Farma certified
Peckham Farmers Market is a FARMA certified weekly farmers’ market & organic food affair in South East London, serving the communities of Peckham, Dulwich and Camberwell for 14 years. Run by the Urban Farmers Market and offering fresh, home grown produce all under a covered roof, traders include bread and brownies from Flour Power City, meat from Low Wood Farm and buffalo cheese and meat from Alham Wood all the way from Shepton Mallet, in Somerset.
When & where: Every Sunday 9 am- 3 pm, location outside Peckham Library
2. Marylebone, Notting Hill & Pimlico Framers Markets – The Swish & Organic
Taking place every Sunday morning, the Marylebone farmers’ market is a favourite among locals & self-proclaimed organic foodie Londoners. With dogs welcome here, take your pet out too. Go organic-hopping through the 40 stalls to stock up on some of the best of Brit produce. Must-visit: James Coe for an outstanding array of beef and lamb. Others highlights include Adrian Izzard’s for salad leaves, Windrush Valley goat cheese cake, or freshly shucked oysters from Simon Long.
The Notting Hill farmers’ market has been around long before farmers’ market became a trend – since 1999. The market is a great spot to sample fresh organic produce. Recommended: Hurdlebrok (Olive Farm stall), which sells exceptional dairy products from its herd of Guernsey cows, Rookery Farm organic eggs. and fruit grower David Deme’s stall.
The Pimlico Framers’ market and organic food central, is de rigueur of Belgravia, Chelsea, Battersea and Pimlico residents. The London Farmers’ Market suggests Eden Farm’s for its fresh robust mix of organic vegetables, award winning sausages from Ambrose Farms free range pigs, free range meat from Flitteriss Farm & Beatbush Farm, free range poultry, seasonal game. Also highly recommended are Moreton mushrooms & Lincolnshire Poachers unpasteurized milk, butter and cheese when they’re at market. You will also find shellfish, smoked fish in season from David Jennings, Chegworth Valley’s award winning juices – apple, pear etc – soft fruits, apple cakes and countless sustainable marvels!
When & where:
- Marylebone: Sundays 9 am-2pm, location
- Notting Hill: Saturdays from 9am-1pm, location
- Pimlico: Saturdays from 9am-1pm, location
NOTE: There has been revision to the list of recommendations under Pimlico Farmers’ Market. Our earlier research we had the following text under this section: Kingcup Farm’s range of edible flowers and interesting vegetables and herbs (leek flowers, radish pods), EFJ Gould’s cheddar, sausage from Dorset’s 12 Green Acres. You will also find shellfish, smoked fish in season from David Jennings, Chegworth Valley’s award winning juices – apple, pear etc – soft fruits, apple cakes and countless sustainable marvels!
3. The Broadway Market – recommended by our Guest greenie – Pablo & UrbanMeisters Founder Mirela Orlovic!
Our guest greenie – Pablo – already told our readers about local farmers’ market & organic food haven The Broadway Market in Hackney, East London. Countless options to buy fresh produce from farmers, our guest greenie Pablo chatted with a lot of the farmers too.
When & where: Saturdays: 9 am-5pm, location
4. Daylesford – Farm-to-table-to-farmstay-to-spa!
Started almost 35 years back on a family farmland to eat better, nutritional seasonal produce, Daylesford today has grown into a niche organic, sustainable local farm chain through London. And if you are looking to soak yourself in the whole organic experience, you can actually do guest stays at their Cotswold cottages next to the farmshops! Serving both fresh organic produce as well as food products (to even bath & home products!), their stores have fresh produce delivered from their farms. A must check-out!
When & where: With multiple outlets, check here to find if there’s a Daylesford near you.
5. FarmDrop – Enter the e-commerce dragon!
Started by Ben Pugh (who worked at Morgan & Stanley before), Kent Gowland & Ben Patten, FarmDrop delivers local produce directly to London residents.
Tired of driving to local markets, and also wishing to challenge the learning that that five companies – Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Co-op – control 80 per cent of the British food market, while only one per cent of food consumed is locally sourced, FarmDrop was born. The first FarmDrops happened at the end of 2012 in Newbury and Crawley, to date when FarmDrop has so far signed up a potential 125 producers and 160 keepers. Over the next two years the team aims to open 350 FarmDrops across the country.
They deliver the food in what they call « Vanimals » – electric cars in animal pattern paint for a zero emission delivery.
If you trawl the internet for farmers’ market & organic food centres, there will be countless options for both the cities. But we compiled this short, crisp list including online startups to give you a quick directional local guide instead of endless confusing options. If you have a favorite then definitely write to us or just drop us a comment on any of our social channels at Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
If you have friends or family working on some interesting organic, sustainable food startup, online or offline, feel free to connect us with them here or on our Linkedin channel.