This morning, we’ve been modern day hunter/gatherers. By which I mean that, for the first time in months, we’ve been to the area’s biggest farmers’ market. And come away laden with goodies from four counties.
From Cheshire, a pound of Mr Bourne’s mature Cheshire. A superb piece of cheese with just a hint of blueing. And a jar of Granny Haworth’s blackcurrant jam from Eddisbury Fruit Farm near Kelsall. Mrs Haworth doesn’t do the markets any more but she’s a lovely lady if ever you come across her in the farm shop.
Cumbria, in the form of the Border County Foods stall, turned up a coil of Cumberland sausage and a pack of pigeon breasts (I’ll freeze them in packs of two for a starter based on a Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe). Austin Davies' game offerings will only improve over the next couple of months, so we'll be back.
Yorkshire came up with Tayberry jam and lemon marmalade, made by the fair hands of Bob Thorpe for the Country Markets stall (that’s the Women’s Institute stall, as was – before they let men in). And honey from Holmfirth.
But it was the several stalls from Lancashire producers which weighed us down. Wimberry pie from Park Farm at Walmersley; some crumbly Lancashire from Leagrams (we passed on the more mature 2 and 5 year old "Bob's Knob"), half a kilo of Dexter mince from a stall whose name I forget. More meat from Holts from Rossendale who only farm and sell lamb – chops, liver, and a good looking small boned and rolled loin for roasting. There was a couple of R S Ireland’s excellent black puddings to go in the freezer (and I managed a second breakfast of a black pud barm).
And, because the market isn’t one regulated by the National Association, some folk can travel quite a long distance to sell here. Perhaps the longest journey are the Beef Direct people who come from Anglesey, easily 2.5 hours. It’s worth their while as they sell excellent meat, not just beef, and are justifiably popular on the market. We came away with braising steak and shin.