I was vaguely aware of a few local farmers markets around the Birmingham area thanks to the genius of twitter but at last months Midland Food Bloggers meet up (as written about by fellow Jo’s Kitchen) we met a representative of 24 Carrots, which is the monthly Farmers Market in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
Brian from 24 Carrots came along to our tell us about the market and how it all began. It was set up by members of the Jewellery Quarters’ Residents’ Association, in an aim to bring fresh local produce to the residents of the area, instead of relying on the ubiquitous supermarkets. Not only was I impressed by the genius of the name for the market, but I couldn’t resist popping along to the next one, as did Jo from Jo’s Kitchen.
So on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning in we met up outside the Big Peg for the October Market. Through twitter I had learned that another fellow Midlands Foodie that I met in March, Tom Baker of Loaf, was going to be there with his wood fired pizza oven, and I had been looking forward to another of his pizza’s all week.But as we arrived and spoke to some of the stallholders we learned Tom had suffered a disaster, as his oven had collapsed on the journey from the other side of the city. You can read all about it here and see how Tom turned the disaster around by opening up a Pop-Up Pizza Takeaway from his home and what a victory with over 70 pizzas sold!
So with no Tom to stop and chat to, we went off to meet the other stallholders. We first got chatting to Sara from Squisito Deli, whose stall was full of tempting Italian treats like the range of Focaccia’s including Red Onion, Roasted Squash and Sage, Mushroom, Sausage and the one I was chose was the Gruyere and Leek. There was a range of other breads including Ciabatta and some little bread rolls called Parma Twists, which also made it into the shopping bag, and were delicious later with my lunch. For next time I already have my eye on the sweet Focaccia with Apple, Cinnamon and Sultana.
They also produce a range of Sausages, and lot of Italian inspired cooking ingredients, including Oak Smoked Chilli and Smoked Sea Salt and bulbs of Oak Smoked Garlic which is prepared by Squisito in Warwickshire. Also, if you can’t make it to a Farmers Market to meet the lovely Sara you can always order her products online through Big Barn, the online farmers shop.
With lunch for later taken care of, my thoughts turned to what could I have to keep me going and warm me up on the chilly morning, I turned around there was Gavin and his stall More Cocoa, serving the best Hot Chocolate I’ve ever had. I’m not a huge fan of hot Chocolate normally but this may be due to instant chocolate I was given when I was younger, but this was divine, topped off with a few Marshmallows and a drizzle of melted chocolate. If Hot Chocolate is not your thing, then Dean of More Cocoa also makes some Chocolate based sweet treats including some lovely looking Brownies.
The next stop was at Hindley’s Bakery which is actually local to me from the neighbouring town of Lichfield, which is a supplier to some of my favourite eating venues in the area including my local The Yorkshire Man and it’s sister eatery 1709, The Brasserie and the Granary at Weston Park which I visited earlier this year (read about it here).
Whilst Jo opted for the Butalump, I thought I’d buy my first Spelt loaf. We had this for Sunday morning brunch, lightly toasted and served with Scrambled Egg and the wonderful Black Pudding I picked up from Woodhouse Farm.
The Woodhouse Farm stall was full of all sorts of different meats and smoked products and had I not already planned and bought my food for the weekend I’m sure more than Black Pudding would have been purchased. Same goes for the other stall we spent a while at, Kiss Me Cupcakes, one of Birmingham’s leading cupcake bakeries, who had their fabulous cupcakes on offer in different flavours.
With a stop to take in the live entertainment of McScraggy and the Suits, me and Jo completed our trip to 24 carrots. We had a wonderful morning chatting to all the stallholders and picking up some lovely goodies and I’m sure to be back again.
If you feel like visiting 24 Carrots, the remaining two markets for 2010 are on 20th November and 18th December.