SE Londoners, listen up: a new food market has opened in Brockley. It will open every Saturday morning in the car park next to Lewisham College and I imagine it will fill a gap for local people, as that stretch seems a bit of a wasteland when it comes to food shopping. The market was really busy on the first day, with over 2000 people visiting. Here’s a little taste of what to expect:
Bacon sarnies from The Red Herring, a smoke house in Hackney. Thick-cut bacon, not over-smoked, inside sturdy yet light bread. The rind on the bacon did make it a little difficult to eat but I bravely struggled through.
The Brockley beekeepers were selling pots of their honey and had brought along a big box of bees. I assume this is part of the hive (I know nothing about bees). It reminded me of a museum I used to visit when I was a little girl; mum and I would spend ages trying to spot the queen who could be identified by the white dot on her back.
Stalls popped with verdant leaves and unusual varieties of vegetables; yellow tomatoes, cobnuts, tubs of edible flowers, unusual fungi and knobbly cukes that looked like The BFG’s snozzcumbers. Interesting salad leaves were sold loose so you could mix them up; young, tender, baby ‘neon chard’, rocket, land cress and sorrel so fresh (picked the day before) that it packed some serious citrus.
There were a few meat and cheese stalls and one guy selling fish; it looked very fresh but also pretty expensive – he was selling a kg of mussels for £6, almost double what I paid for these at the famous Soper’s in Nunhead recently (about the same price in Moxon’s on Lordship Lane too I think).
My favourite was probably the chilli stall, studded with rainbow spikes. Amongst the many varieties of chilli plant were unusual herbs I’d not come across before like ‘chocolate mint’ (it smells like chocolate and mint!) and pineapple sage (it really smells like pineapple!)
I did a little hop of joy when I spotted the naga chilli plant, complete with ripe fruits; I’ve become fixated on them after tasting The Rib Man’s‘ HOLY FUCK HOT SAUCE’. I’m going to harness me some of that special flavour. The chilli man himself was very helpful with tips and multiple warnings: “for a vindaloo heat, use no more than 1/8th of the chilli”. Yikes. He told me to “treat the plant mean” by letting it wilt, then reviving it with a little water; this keeps the heat in the plant as “water dilutes the chilli”.
And there she is, my very own naga. It’s time to take hot sauce to the next level.
I always wonder where all the young and yummy parents suddenly spring from. It’s like Peckham farmers market on a Sunday; I never see them shopping in Khan’s but the slightest whiff of an arabica coffee bean and they spring from the bushes in middle class ambush. There’s plenty of room for everyone here though and I can’t wait to see the market expand with even more stalls, as they are genuinely interesting. Not a painted plate in sight.
Lewisham College Car Park, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT
Every Saturday 10-2pm
Most of the produce comes from Kent or even closer (e.g. Brockley honey)