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Bermondsey Farmers' Market draws a crowd

A new weekly farmers' market brought plenty of eager shoppers to Bermondsey Square on Saturday morning.

Bermondsey Farmers' Market
Bermondsey Farmers' Market draws a crowd
Bermondsey Farmers' Market draws a crowd
Bermondsey Farmers' Market
Vegan chocolate cake at Bermondsey Farmers' Market
Bermondsey Farmers' Market
Fresh fish from Christchurch in Dorset

The market is organised by London Farmers' Markets, established 10 years ago, which now runs 16 weekly markets around London.

Bermondsey Farmers' Market takes place every Saturday from 10am to 2pm whatever the weather. A small preview market was held in September as part of the Bermondsey Street Festival.

"All the produce comes from within 100 miles of the M25 – that's the rule," explains LFM's Cheryl Cohen.

LFM visits all the farms and producers who sell at their markets. "We try to find producers as close as we can to the market. We will have people from Lincolnshire and Somerset, and we will also have people from Kent and Hertfordshire."

Shoppers at the new Bermondsey market can expect to find 25 stalls selling meat, poultry, game, vegetables, fruit, juice, salads and herbs – but the exact range will depend on what's in season.

Some of the producers are selling their wares in London for the first time.

Traders at the inaugural market offered fresh fish from Christchurch in Dorset and game from the South Downs.

Although the emphasis will be on fresh produce to use in home cooking, there are also some secondary producers at the market.

These traders are also bound by LFM's 100-mile rule, so for example a stall serving Polish pierogi would have to source its ingredients from 'local' farms.

Cohen says that the recession means that people are shopping more carefully but the appetite for fresh, locally-sourced produce is undiminished.

"People still have to eat and food is important to them," she says. "That's why our markets are weekly not monthly.

She believes that the prices charged by traders at Bermondsey Square will compare well with the alternatives at local supermarkets or Borough Market.

"What I want to bring here is a very pleasant shopping experience for everybody in the area. There's something for everybody here. People will come and shop here and meet their neighbours and have a lovely experience."

For nearly 60 years Bermondsey Square has hosted the New Caledonian Antiques Market every Friday morning. Last month a Southwark Council strategy document warned that the market "is in decline with large numbers of empty stalls, and needs a significant rebrand and relaunch if it is to remain a significant tourist attraction."

Cheryl Cohen has already suggested that joint signage for the two weekly markets is installed around the square to draw attention to both attractions.

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