Brockley Market

September 26, 2011


Mike and Ollie at Brockley Market

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.

Brockley Market
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)

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  • Reply Paula September 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Great post! This market looks pretty cool! The chilli store looks like my kind of place 🙂 I really like your photography btw!

  • Reply Paul September 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I tried to get the recipe out of the Ribman for the hot sauce, he was very tight lipped other than telling me it had Scotch Bonnets and SOME Naga… Good luck with your experiments though! Let us know how you get on.

  • Reply James September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Wahh! Real food literally just round the corner from where I lived for 4 years. Good old Brockley catches up at last!

  • Reply Anne September 26, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I work on Saturdays but plan to go in a little late this week so I can pop by the Market on the way. LOVE the naga plant – very jealous! Am so chuffed this area is getting better food options – we’ve got a deli (Allotment) opening nearby soon as well.

  • Reply Maronasc September 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I love food markets! Here in Salzburg we got some good ones, but I never had the chance of smelling chocolate mint, I’m very curious! Now I understand why chilli peppers always taste bland in here: too much water! Thank you for this tour, I really enjoyed going through the market with you. 🙂

  • Reply adam and theresa September 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Well, if there’s a farmers market in Lewisham I think almost job-done for the good-food crusaders. Too true though about the middle-class ambush..v funny : )

  • Reply Matt October 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    The market looks great! The chilli stall especially. Makes me wish i still lived in London. Nice to see a more diverse range of places to buy good local food. The less people railroaded into tourist traps the better. We’re doing alright up in Leeds with a great daily market in the city centre and farmers market every other week.

    First time commenter. Love your blog.

  • Reply Jonathan October 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Bacon sandwich hey. Interesting. But doesn’t sound like you were overly keen on it. Is it worth a try?

    • Helen
      Reply Helen October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Well, I think they could do with dealing with the rind issue and adding another rasher of bacon; maybe I’m just a greedy sod but I did feel the bacon-bread ratio was a little out of whack. Deffo worth a try though!

  • Reply miss south October 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Treasure the market while it’s still varied. Brixton Farmers’ Market opened like this and two years later, it’s pretty basic in comparison.

    Most of the South London ones have started all middle class and cute and ended up with a lot of less of the £9 jars of chutney…

  • Reply Anonymouse October 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Nice photos, leave the Shark alone though.

  • Reply Deptford Pudding December 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Yes, where do all these yummy mummys come from? I’ve wondered the same thing. Brockley farmers market had/has a similarly plu customer following, though I expect it’s suffered since the new market started.

    I wanted to sell arty Christmas wreaths at Brockley, but was rejected because they want to keep it food-dominated, which I understand, so let’s hope it isn’t diluted over time.

    • Helen
      Reply Helen December 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      I hope so too – it’s a great market at the mo.

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