Greenwich Farmers Market

So – what did you make of the Farmer’s Market in the Pleasaunce today, then? I guess much will have to do with whether you made it when the sun was shining or it was mizzling with rain.

For my twopenn’orth, I liked it a lot. I thought everyone friendly, I liked that it wasn’t just the same guys that you get at Blackheath but some different ones too, I thought the quality was good (I particularly enjoyed the frittatas and the Giggly Pig was a welcome addition too) and I would definitely go to another one. I was a little puzzled by the craft stalls, wondering how they fitted a farmer’s market remit, and there were a lot of cakes,but generally, I thought it was very good (I was sad to see that despite all the cakes, the biscuit guy wasn’t there…)

However – I’m not convinced that the Pleasaunce is the right place for something like this in winter. It was muddy, and the tyre tracks, despite the fact that the traders had clearly made huge efforts to be careful, will linger on after today.

My suggestion, for what it’s worth, is that the market should do some negotiating with Halstow Road School  and use their playground during the winter months. It would be easier for stallholders, and less muddy for the rest of us. And – since Halstow already does craft fairs, then maybe a craft section would fit a little more snugly in the remit than it does now. Halstow themselves could have a stall or two – and they could recruit for the community choir at the same time.

What do you think?


16 Comments to “Greenwich Farmers Market”

  1. Penny Lane says:

    I agree with you GP. It was nice and tucked away and the stalls were different to Blackheath. I also worry about the damage to the Pleasaunce and feel that Halstow school would be the perfect place summer or winter.

  2. kate says:

    Sigh… there are always lots of considerations and at the moment the Friends of EGP have been open-minded. We like the Pleasaunce being used; we like the cafe getting extra custom; but we want local residents (especially those closest) to be happy and for there to be no adverse effect to the Pleasaunce. There’s also always a concern about cars in the Pleasaunce. In fairness, I think the Farmer’s Market people were careful yesterday and they had listened to our concerns (e.g. re-situating the sausage man).
    It is a balance, but I felt incredibly depressed when one pro-customer I was trying to explain the Friends position to yesterday said “grass be damned”. This seems a high price to pay for one’s gourmet sausages and fancy olives (recommended by the way…)

  3. kate says:

    Sorry, should have signed that comment off saying I am Secretary of the Friends of EGP.

  4. Russ Ness says:

    I thought it was a good effort and the stall holders were very friendly, I don’t like to make comparisons, but I felt because it was a harder pitch than BH Farmer’s Market they made a better effort.

    Downside, positioning was not good, all against the back wall so you had to fight around trees, some holly and trample through mud.

    So – great idea, willing traders – more thought needed about how it works there from the people hosting them.

  5. Simon says:

    I wanted to echo earlier comments by saying I liked the selection of stalls and the fact they are different to blackheath’s market.
    The poor weather probably highlighted the problems that holding the market in that location will cause. The turnout seemed pretty strong, but how many people will be willing to traipse around in the mud to get their groceries.
    One of the stall holders told me the school had been suggested as a possible alternative venue, and it seems a really good idea to me especially in the winter months.
    As for the stallholders making an effort to keep everyone happy….one told me they parked at Sainsbury’s and all walked back to the Pleasuance to man their stalls to avoid any parking problems!
    I really hope the market can become a regular fixture…somewhere….as there seems to be a demand for it and it’s just the thing that east Greenwich needs.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I went on Saturday morning to pick up some sausages and croissants for a motly crew of sleeping hungover bodies in my house. I thought there was such a lovely atmosphere there and I actually thought the produce superior to that of BH market. I do hope it continues either there or in some very close location and wish all stallholders every success. I am also loving the free table tennis table in EGP at the moment too by the way – its my new favorite non-groggy headed Saturday morning thing to do.

  7. Hitherqueen says:

    I went but was hoping to find more of a ‘farmers’ market than an artisanal bakers market. Greenwich is well provided for fancy cupcakes and rustic breads (the majority of the stalls), it is less well provided with good quality fruit and veg (just one stall that I could see). I don’t think it’s likely to be a regular feature, not least because of the NIMBY attitude of the Friends of EGP (if you are worried about damage to trees why are the stalls placed right in the middle of them instead of the open grass by the Chevening Rd entrance?) Could do better would be my verdict.

  8. Ru says:

    is the farmers’ market now a regular event? If so, when?

  9. Penny Lane says:

    Dear Hitherqueen,

    The open grass by the Chevening Road entrance is a BURIAL GROUND!

  10. Smallpaws says:

    I missed this, when is the next one?

  11. Alan says:

    Dogs shit all over it and your kids jump all over the graves, so I really wouldn’t worry about a couple of stalls.

  12. Penny Lane says:

    My kids don’t jump on the gravestones and neither should anyone elses if they are properly supervised. If dog owners forget their bags for the shit the cafe has a supply of them for free. Can’t make it any easier so Alan get off your high horse.

  13. Jim Skelton says:

    Hi All,

    As a stall holder at the Market on 02 October (Candle Shack), i would like to thank everyone who attended for making us all feel very welcome. Wonderfully friendly people who are engaging and interested in what you have to say make a market work. I personally hope we are allowed to return to the lovely park and its lovely people.

  14. Hitherqueen says:

    Penny Lane – calm down dear, they’ve been dead a long time. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind…

  15. Dextercat says:

    I thought the Market was great. It could have been placed better as my friend and I came with our prams. (but we managed) However the fact that the Market has been cancelled again for the second time is a bit of a travesty. It reflects really badly on the Friends of EGP and sends the message to other East Greenwich residents that they want to keep the park all to themselves. Not to mention the implications of a lack of custom it has on pistachios. I wonder how happy you’ll all be, when the cafe closes and leaves you with an empty building ripe for vandalism and antisocial behaviour? Will you still be in the opinion of “not in our back yards”

  16. Matthew Wall says:

    Dear Dextercat,

    Good news – the market has certainly NOT been cancelled, merely re-located to Halstow School adjacent to the park. The next one is Saturday 6th November from 10am-3pm (please see our website for details: http://www.fegp.typepad.com). Hopefully this will become the regular venue from now on.

    And for the record, it was Chris Elder the Farmer’s Market operator, who was the person most unhappy with the Pleasaunce as a venue, citing as reasons difficulty of access and concern over damage to grass.

    The Friends of EGP committee, whilst very supportive of a farmer’s market in East Greenwich, came to the conclusion that the school would be a preferable, less contentious venue. For while there are residents who like the market in the park (including me actually), there are plenty of others who’ve expressed concern about the damage to grass (likely to get worse as winter approaches) and the increasing commercialisation of what is still a functioning naval cemetery. Some are even against a farmer’s market full stop.

    As a democratic Friends group we have to weigh up all the opinions of our 300+ members and reach a compromise. We think we have.

    When it comes to Pistachios, I think it a little dramatic to suggest that a monthly market’s change of venue will cause the cafe’s demise. Chris Elder has said he’d be more than happy to offer the cafe a stall at the market to advertise its wares. Hopefully it will be a natural progression from the market, across the road and back into the park for some refreshments.

    We campaigned hard for the cafe for over two years. We want to see it succeed. With a little imagination and good will on all sides we can make both the farmer’s market and the cafe work to the benefit of all.

    I hope that sets the record straight.

    Best wishes,

    Matthew Wall
    Chair, Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce