Here we spotlight some of our regular stallholders.
Porky Pigs & SpicesPaul and Liz Stone, of Rhyne Park Foods, have been pig farmers for at least twenty years but decided to concentrate on farming rare breed pigs in 2005. The meat from rare breed pigs has a more superior flavour, which is exactly what the husband and wife team from Bures, who now specialise in as many as twenty sausage recipes, were interested in.‘People are often wary of buying ordinary sausages, not sure about what exactly has gone into them’, says Liz, ‘but if the customer is looking for pure pork sausages, they’ve come to the right place when they visit Rhyne Park Foods. We don’t use a packet mix like some of the other producers. With our meat you know where the pig has come from, what it has eaten and which cut has gone into which batch’. The company also caters for seasonal demand, so that in the summer months, for instance, they offer barbecue packs of kebabs and other unusual and tasty pork and apple burgers.Liz is responsible for making up the required cuts ready for the markets as well as the packs of the distinctly flavoured meats. While husband Paul, generally manages the day to day running of the farm. One of the couple’s relatives is also active member of the production team and so it is very much a family run business.Rhyne Park Foods have been regular traders at Essex Farmers Markets, enjoying huge popularity from customers who always come back for more. Farmers Markets are not only on the rise for their fresh produce they offer excellent value for money produce direct from the farmers’ field and the traders offer the customer face to face advice and other cooking tips.One of the favourites, says Liz, is our roasted garlic sausage, flavoured with olive oil and a hint of rosemary and apart from loins and chops that are in high demand, they supply ham and bacon joints and they are often asked by customers for specific cuts of pork.Obviously, Liz is keen to support other local traders and sources her extra ingredients from other local farms and traders, including the apples or apple juice and the vegetables such as leeks, which also helps to keep food miles to a minimum. She is keen to enhance their sausages with seasonal produce only, which not only means their customers are offered variety it also means they don’t need to import produce, again keeping the food miles and costs to a minimum.Liz believes that the farmers markets are the best ways to sell their produce as they are more customer and environmentally friendly. They offer customers a chance to buy excellent quality food at realistic prices as well as being able to be a more customer focused, here they can share tips and recipes and one or two secret ingredient too.Rhyne Park Foods is a commercial enterprise and therefore it should come as no surprise that customers can also buy their products via a website, so if you can wait until the next farmers market, you don’t have to be without your favourite banger for long as you can buy online.Rhyne Park Foods can be found at Brentwood Farmers Market every 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month and Wanstead Farmers Market on the 1st Sunday of the month On the 2nd Sunday at Upminster and Gants Hill Valentines Mansion on the 4th Sunday.! Rainbow Orchard - English Apples ‘like they used to be’Penny and Andrew of Rainbow Orchard in Essex have recently joined the Essex Farmers’ Markets. To date they have bought along their fresh seasonal produce to a warm reception from our clientele in Southend on Sea, Chingford, Thorpe Bay and Wanstead. Penny’s father planted an apple orchard on his land in Essex thirty years ago, and Penny remembers as a girl helping him, in particular putting black plastic around the trunks of the trees to prevent the rabbits from knawing at them. Over the past few years the land became overgrown and inaccessible.‘This summer we had the brambles cut back and rediscovered my father’s beautiful orchard, which was literally in perfect condition with thousands of apples in abundance’, says Penny. ‘There are approximately forty to fifty trees, which have been left alone to nature for the past few years, and visited by wild deer. My father planted about twelve old English varieties, including Cox’s Orange Pippin, Blenheim Orange, Bramley Seedling, James Grieve, Sunset, Newton Wonder, Discovery and Tydeman Late Orange.’ ‘My father was a very clever and talented man. He was born near Southend in Essex, won a scholarship to study at Brentwood Boys Public School and gained his A Levels early, aged seventeen years old. He studied to be a structural draughtsman at Westminster College, going on to work as a civil engineer at Havering Borough Council.’ ‘Hobbies were a significant and important part of his life, and because of that he has left an amazing legacy which has been embraced by the Farmers’ Markets to allow Rainbow Orchard to bring his apples to the people of Essex!’ Many customers have already remarked how wonderful it is to see these old English varieties available, and to bring back the taste of apples like they used to be. Rainbow Orchard will be bringing their apples to the Essex Farmers’ Markets for as long as possible. Correct storage means that apples picked in late summer can last well into the winter, so you will be able to meet them at future Essex Farmers’ Markets for as long as stocks last. Next year they plan to access the rest of the orchard and bring even more varieties for sale, as soon as the first apples ripen in summer.