Wednesday, 26 January 2011

On the Farmer's Market...

For just over four years now, I've had a bakery stall on our local Farmer's Market which takes place on the 4th Tuesday every month, between 9am & 2pm. It's very hard work...but I also greatly enjoy it. I'll get back to my daily Coffee Tree posts tomorrow, but for now I thought that you might like to revisit yesterday's market with me....
I usually arrive around 8am to set up. The stalls are provided for us, we just have to supply our own tables...
Then, it's a question of unpacking the boxes & boxes, and dressing the stall. As the name of my business is The Blue Angel Bakery, I try and keep that colour predominant...but I like to be seasonal as well, so on the Summer markets I bring bunches of fresh herbs & flowers from the garden and set them in pretty jugs to brighten the tables, at Christmas there's lots of tinsel and a mini- Christmas tree (one year I had fairylights too!) and in the Autumn I decorate my gingerbread with fondant leaf cutouts and have pumpkins too. And always I have my beloved Susan Branch's latest calendar, turned to the correct page (and much admired!)

I don't put everything out at once...many of my customers are office workers who visit at lunchtime, so I try and keep a good selection back so that everything still looks good a few hours later...
my youngest sister, Lucy, gave me the lovely pastel food flags for Christmas, so this month I used those to  decorate & display prices...they looked lovely! On the napkins in front, you see my samples...very important! So many people change their minds and buy something when they taste a piece first. Others just stand and eat handfuls before walking away...but that's another story!!

I try and have a few new products every month, but if I missed out brownies (3 types) or gingerbread I'd be lynched...

We 'regular' traders are always put in the same place, as we become known by people who expect to see us there every month. So I am always surrounded by friends - to my right is Debbie Grant, who makes wonderful home-made meals, specialising in dietary requirements. She's especially popular with older people who still enjoy good, homecooked food but find it difficult to cook themselves. We always have a good gossip and she's a lovely lady. To my left is Simon the Pieman helped by his wonderful wife Margot...

seen here bagging another order! They have probably the most popular stall on the market - their wonderful meat & vegetable pies are all handmade by Simon at his butcher shop, Parminters, in the nearby village of Haddenham and people queue at the stall almost before they've stopped the car!

And you all know what I sell....these Carmelita Bars...

Jamaican Ginger Cake...

sometimes Raspberry Muffins...

Apricot & Ginger Flapjacks...Brownies, Cheddar Cheese Scones, loaf cakes (yesterday Lemon Drizzle, Ginger) and anything else I have time for!

It can be cold, it's certainly tiring getting everything ready alongside my other orders (on Monday nights I stopped baking at 3.15am!) but I'm always glad I did it because it's really the only chance I get to stop and chat with 'real' people. It's wonderful and heartening to see the same faces month after hear the lovely compliments and feedback they give me...even the difficult people are ok, because they provide some light entertainment! I collect 'quotes of the month' favourite of all time is ' Is there any meat in your brownies?'! Ah, the Great British public - what would we do without them??
Happy Wednesday and thanks for reading! xox


  1. Dearest Rachel, what a charming village and how lovely all your beautiful baked goodies look! The sky blue cloth sets it all off so prettily...oh, how I would l love to stroll by and be at your booth!! What a lot of work not only to bake everything, of course, but to set up and take down. I am so glad there is no meat in the brownies!!! Love you, Sherry xx

  2. Rachel, this is by far, my favourite blog post!! I just loved seeing where you set up at the local Farmer's Market. So wonderful to see all your baked goods, so close up. I must say, of all the things you bake, I am most anxious to find your recipe for brownies in your new book. They always look so tempting and scrumptious! Your portions are big too! Loved it all so very much. Your flags are adorable! Thank you for sharing! xo

  3. I just wanted to ask, "Is there meat in your brownies?" Where does that question come from? It made me laugh right here alone with my computer! Rachel, this is so lovely--your hard work is clearly evident. Each and every item is beautiful--I can just see the moist delectable flavors popping out of your lovely bakery items!! What a lucky bunch of villagers who stroll by!! I was so anxious to see this!! I am so tickled you've shared your hectic day with us!! Thank you!!

  4. Rachel, yes, it is hard work, but such fun to be out with the public. How I would love to be able to stroll by your booth!

  5. Sorry I tried to post earlier but the Internet was a bit dodgy. Don't you just love the samplers that don't buy? Mind you at least it gives everyone something to talk about. Your stall looks great, very moreish! Love the blue cloths and your wee flags. Take care x

  6. If I visited your stand at the Farmer's Market, I would take one of each. Everything looks absolutely scrumptious!

  7. I love farmers's markets! I have not been in one for ages, even though we have one practically next door every Sunday. But it is a very small market. I want to try those desserts.

  8. You know, Rachel, if I ever get to England your Farmer's Market will be at the top of my list of places I want to visit. It's so much fun to get a closer look at the market and at the delicious things you sell. Now when I imagine it, I really can "see" you there :)


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