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From Lesley in London: Islington Farmers Market, London, September 2007. Autumn is Apple Season. Perry Court Farm and Chegworth Valley at Islington Farmers Market are introducing city dwellers to the mellow fruitfulness of almost forgotten English apple varieties. The unfamiliar names are vaguely evocative of a more feudal and bucolic past and beg to be read out loud, "Blenheim Orange, Flanders Cox, Ashmeads Kernal and Egremont Russet", together with "Katy, Windsor and Lord Lambourne."
A new organic variety is also on display – the smooth, red skinned, crisp-fleshed and bracingly named, Initial.
The soft fruits widely available a couple of weeks ago are dwindling and plums are predominant. I buy tiny sloes from Kingcup Farm, which if I waste no time pricking with something silver, loading with sugar and topping up the bottle with gin will mean I have sloe gin in time for Christmas. I need only remember to shake it a little every day if it is to be ready to drink at the traditional time.
Maturity is also my choice of the day in the meat department, and I buy mutton chops from Beatbush Farm stall. I aim to griddle them with hot spices, though a hot pot would be seasonal…
It is clear, however, that two hours or so after the market has opened is way too late for the pick of the day. Next to the herb stall a sign promising freshly picked sweetcorn flanks empty red trays…
London Farmers Market Links
• London Farmers Markets
• Islington Farmers Market and Producer List
• Chegworth Valley Farm Apple Juices
• Perry Court Organic Farm
• Kingcup Farm
• Beatbush Organic Farm