The directions to find this culinary gem in West London are hardly the most glamorous. The website says that the market’s location is a “car park behind Waterstones.” More specifically, in order to find it, walk through the opening between two buildings off of Notting Hill Gate; go down a ramp that runs along the back of one of the buildings; and maneuver between the delivery vans for the dry cleaners. Then, suddenly you come upon rows filled with tables of beautiful, local produce and ready-made food items. You’ve entered the Notting Hill Farmers’ Market.
The London Farmers’ Markets, of which this is just one, were created in 1999, just after I left London. Nina Planck, a fellow Virginia native who grew up in the next county over from me, founded them when she lived in the city. They sell only foods grown in the UK and the other prepared items that are sold there must contain 50% or more-locally sourced ingredients. As you can see from the photo stream below, this is an amazing treasure trove of meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, breads, jams, and other great edibles. There were so many delicious things that I wanted to bring back to the States with me (scroll down to find out what I did pick up).
The day I was at the market I saw parents and their children loading up baskets full of all kinds of products to bring to home, including one fellow American who was searching for the peppers with which to make salsa. This is a resource I could have really used when I was living in London. The stalls on the Portobello road, with the Cockneys swearing at each other in the early morning as they set up their stands, and the local Tesco Metro were my usual grocery shopping destinations. I did really well by them, but it would have been so wonderful to have the variety of items that I saw here. My hope is that one day I get to live in London again, so that I have the chance to explore and enjoy this and the other local food markets.