Last weekend I was staying in Bath and had promised to cook dinner. In need of some ingredients, I headed off to the Green Street Butchers who sell naturally reared and grass-fed rare breed meat and poultry sourced from local farms. Sadly, they were closed for their summer holidays, but luckily Bath is home to other super independents such as the Tunley Farm Butchers in Green Park Station. With one of their farm-reared whole chickens in my basket, my next stop was the bustling farmers’ market.
The farmers’ market takes place every Saturday morning at the old Green Park Station, once the hub of trains from Bath to the Midlands. Closed from 1966 it is now the atmospheric venue for this lively weekend destination for discerning foodies and locals who just love wonderful fresh, seasonal, local, wholesome food. There’s a bit of everything from fruit and vegetable stands to fresh sourdough bread, glorious mushrooms, local game, fresh fish, meat and eggs, flowers, cider, apple juice, cheeses and so much more. With such a supply of wonderful ingredients, I wished I had volunteered to cook all weekend!
By the time I left the markets, my basket was brimming with veg from the Chris Rich Farm Shop including staples such as yellow and green courgettes, broccoli, and quintessential carrots as well as very special treats such as courgette flowers and purple and white beans. Chris Rich also sells gloriously romantic garden flowers and I couldn’t resist a bunch of happy yellow sunflowers and fragrant sweat peas.
If you love mushrooms, then head straight for Phelim’s mushroom stall. His variety box of mushrooms is a feast for the eye as well as the taste buds – red, yellow, white, round, flat, oyster – all shapes and textures. They just looked so beautiful I couldn’t resist giving them a go and oh wow I’ve been hooked!! So full of flavour and went perfectly with delicious homemade risotto (recipe coming soon).
In the future, I am always going to carry a Tupperware box to take my fish purchases home. I learned this great sustainable idea from the gentleman I chatted to whilst queuing at the fish stall run by Felce Foods, a family-run, smokery and fishmonger based near Stroud. I would highly recommend their salmon – so fresh and full of flavour. For those who are not as well organised as the gentleman in front of me, all fish is wrapped in paper which I thought was so heartwarming.
My ingredient shopping for the day was rounded off by a quarter loaf of sourdough bread from The Oven, a bakery based at Hartley Farm near Bradford on Avon. The sourdough was dark in colour with what looked like a potentially heavy crust. I had assumed, therefore, it would be quite heavy in texture but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Light and moist this sourdough had a crisp crust and burst with flavour. Next time, I’ll be buying a whole loaf!
If you are a local to Bath or just visiting, I would highly recommend giving Green Park Station Farmers Market a visit, it is definitely one of Bath’s secret gems.