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Wallingford’s Local produce Fair seems to have decamped from the planned hall into the centre of town – no problem with that as both are just a couple of minutes stroll from the new apartment.

Two plump corn-fed chickens for a tenner; not sure if free range or organic but they look good. The stall-holder, a ruddy-faced woman, the epitome of country farming folk, was coping well with the crowd and fevered buyers, but had no time to chat.

Next freshly laid eggs and two pats of gloriously golden butter from Vitality Farm, a local farm located along the Thames. No plums from the fresh produce stall, but new potatoes and a bag of tomatoes. Then a raid on the Cross Lanes apple stall for a mix bag of Beurre Hardy Pears and Claygate Permain apples. Finally a little cheese, Haddon Gold, from Crudges on the far side of Oxford.
The sun struggles to part the dull, heavy cloud cover. The stalls brighten. I’m feeling virtuous, a real foodie. Who needs Borough Market with all this right on the doorstep?

Crudges Cheese: Haddon Gold


  1. Now that’s my kinda shopping , and eating Andrew. Generally the chickens that don’t specifically advertise that they are free range or organic aren’t, but the most likely form of rearing for your cornfed beauties is in open barns. These are what they call Dutch barns, with 2 or more sides open to the elements (sun, fresh air etc) while the bottom half of the walls keeps foxes out and the roof gives protection. There is a low rate of birds per square meter and they are free range within the barn, with on demand feeding, which means they forage (as chickens are meant to do) and can eat / drink when they want to. It’s not real free range but a lot of farms have gone this way with the spectre of birdflu looming large and the perennial threat of Mr Fox. Kinda like avian urban living, but in a Chelsea apartment rather than a housng estate.

  2. Paula says:

    Great blog.
    When is the Wallingford local produce fair – is it a regular occurence? I’m based in Oxford but it sounds worth making a little detour for.

  3. Andrew says:

    It is held every Saturday morning. Its Ok with a half a dozen stalls – better is the Saturday one once a month – more stall holders.

  4. Mark Gray says:

    Hi there
    You seem to have confused the Local Producers’ Market with the Farmers’ Market.
    The Local Producers’ Market runs every week, not just once a month. We also only sell food and produce from within 30 miles of the town. Most of our produce is from within 5 miles of the town.
    The reason for a weekly market is to give people the opportunity to buy local, not supermarket, food on a regular basis.
    In any given week we have dozens of products, including meat, free range eggs, vegetables, bread and cakes. Not to mention beer, wines, preserves, cheeses and honey.
    Our market is about real shopping, not some monthly feel-good excursion for people who spend the rest of their shopping money in supermarkets.
    Mark Gray, Chair.
    Wallingford Local Producers’ Market

  5. Andrew says:

    I realise the error of my ways! Sadly I seldom make it to either – despite my best intentions – work always seems to intervene.


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