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Bermondsey Square food market

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Current: 11 of 26
Saturday 30 January 2010 4.14pm
I went today and bought a mildly over-priced sausage butty. I don't suppose I'll be going back.

I normally buy my meat from the butcher's on Great Suffolk Street and my veg from Lower Marsh market. Both have a good range of standard products at reasonable prices. If I want to splash out, I can go to Greensands, which opens at much more convenient hours and during the week.

When I want something special, I go to Islington Farmers Market (Sunday being easier for me to shop on than Saturday); I do appreciate the farmer's market offer.

So, even though it's twice as far away as the butchers, today I thought I'd go to Bermondsey market to get something the butchers don't normally stock - rabbit. Not only was there no bunny, I couldn't see any game at all - just very expensive versions of things I can get well enough for much less money more conveniently. If there were rare breed veg, they weren't being marketed well. The excellent cider stall that was there at the start had gone.

What exactly is the compelling case for the market? It's not convenience, it's not price and it's not the ability to buy a good range of stuff.

I think I'm going to carry on going to local shops who are here to serve us all week and where at least some of the money passes through local people's hands.

ps It was nice to see Juanita while I was there, though.
Saturday 30 January 2010 4.46pm
We had a wander around the Market about lunchtime, liked the look of the Mozarella stall and spotted some lovely cakes on another. Nice to see a fruit and Veg stall from a Farmer in East Kent that has been in the area for as long as I can remember. Nice chat with the young lady on the stall too.
Good luck to the Stall Holders and let's hope the Market gets more publicity and the trade to make their efforts worthwhile.


We saw that that St Mary Magdalen's Church was open, nice to see Juanita who told us that there was a talk being given shortly, so we ended up having a lovely hot cuppa and an interesting talk on the History of the Church and the area.
Saturday 30 January 2010 7.10pm
I also popped along and bought a treacle tart and some very yummy cheese. I would have bought more but had forgotten my wallet at home and so was relying on the generosity of my significant other...

Hmm cider stall - that would have been nice today - it was freezing!
Saturday 30 January 2010 11.12pm
We got free-range organic eggs cheaper than we've found them elsewhere in se1. And my neighbour arrived in for tea this afternoon bearing amazing chocolate cake and plum tart bought from a stall we'd firmly turned our back on for post-Christmas diet reasons. They were scrumptious :)
Sunday 31 January 2010 11.33am
A hot cider stall would have been lovely, they used to have one at the borough market.I went about 11, there were only a few stalls there an d I did not see the fishman.Perhaps they should defer the market till may/june?
Sunday 31 January 2010 12.56pm
Sorry, folks, this is going to be a rant. Just had a conversation about yesterday's market with friends who were complaining bitterly about the lack of stalls when they'd "made the effort to come out". The phrase "if they want our money they'll have to provide a better service" came up more than once. As did references to twenty four hour services available in supermarkets.

I guess it just hadn't occurred to me how much the 21st century consumer's concept of "good service" impacts on enterprises that deal in the real world of seasonal availability and uncontrollable weather conditions, and for which scales of operation and profit margins aren't large enough to spread losses.

I have a friend who runs her own award-winning guesthouse. It's in an isolated rural beauty spot, which means she's effectively breaking even or making a loss for half the year. Lately she's had summer booking enquiries from people wanting her to match the discounted deals with which the big, international hotel chains are hoping to ride out the recession. She buys all her fresh food from local farmers, sources organic, fair trade wine and coffee and pays her staff a living wage.

My point is that if people don't engage their brains enough to realise the realities and costs of food production - and of supporting the rural economy - they can't make informed judgements about their shopping choices. And we'll all have less choice available in the end.
Monday 1 February 2010 11.04am
It is entirely possible to like the convenience, wide range of products and consistency of a supermarket (I shop almost daily at Tesco and am a shareholder) AND enjoy shopping at a local farmers' market like the one at Bermondsey Square.

For me the main draw to the Bermondsey Square market was the fish monger since you can't get decent fish in any supermarkets (even, shock horror, Waitrose!). Once there I may pick up some other bits and pieces, but I'm not going to pay 4 for a loaf of brown bread when I can get some equally nice bread in Tesco for 1.39.

The stalls need to compete on quality and offer something different. They also need to be more available - not 24/7, but at least there for a few more hours in the day to capture the early wakers and those who enjoy a lie in after a tough week.

I don't want to repeat everything that has gone before, but starting the market in the spring would have been far better.
Monday 1 February 2010 12.14pm
I shop in supermarkets too and have to think about every penny I spend. And if the animals could hang on a few more hours for feeding I'd be more than happy to have a few more weekend hours in bed...

But I do think farmers' markets do compete on quality and offer something different. It kind of depends on your definition of quality - for me, as well as the product being wholesome, it has to do with how and where food is grown and how it's sourced and paid for all along the line. And one of the differences I appreciate is that by offering seasonal food farmers' markets help to draw attention to seasonality and the implications of ignoring it. On thing I've taken away from this thread is the fish guy's comments on
Monday 1 February 2010 2.03pm
aoibhneas wrote:
But I do think farmers' markets do compete on quality and offer something different. It kind of depends on your definition of quality - for me, as well as the product being wholesome, it has to do with how and where food is grown and how it's sourced and paid for all along the line. And one of the differences I appreciate is that by offering seasonal food farmers' markets help to draw attention to seasonality and the implications of ignoring it.

I agree wholeheartedly. I don't believe that you can compare supermarket prices with the farmers markets. Supermarkets have such an unfair advantage in price-wars that local farmers can't really compete with if they still want to produce quality items. IMHO Supermarket chains rarely display ethics when it comes down to the bottom line. (Obviously there are exceptions to this.)

So many of us are so used to buying 'cheap food' as opposed to 'good food'. Good food doesn't just mean wholesome, it means knowing how it was grown, how it was transported and how well the producers pay and treat their labourers. This is what the Farmers market is all about. I'm no money-bags but I will happily pay a little bit more for food that I know is ethically sourced because I believe that it's the right thing to do and support.
Monday 1 February 2010 2.45pm
carmenes82 wrote:
Once there I may pick up some other bits and pieces, but I'm not going to pay 4 for a loaf of brown bread when I can get some equally nice bread in Tesco for 1.39.

I am enjoying enormously the 1.60 malted loaf which I purchased on Saturday at Bermondsey Square market.
Current: 11 of 26

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