Leeds and Beyond – Farmers Market 5. Oakwood

Another Saturday – another farmers’ market, this time in Oakwood.

Even though I lived in Oakwood during my late teens and early twenties I didn’t know that Oakwood Clock was not built for this site but was originally erected in Leeds Market where it stayed until 1912, at which point the popularity of the market meant that a new entrance had to be built and the clock was in the way.  In 1913 it was moved to its present site and a shelter added for the benefit of those waiting for their tram. How appropriate then that the Farmers’ Market should be set up in front of the clock, thus completing the circle.

All photographs by Stan Graham

There were the regular peripatetic stall holders present in the form of Church View Eggs, The Organic Pantry and Mario Olianas.  The refreshment was provided by Third Wave, a speciality coffee stall from Baildon. Swillington Organic Farm was there with their rare breed free range organic meats, as was Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese from a little farther afield.

Some of the smaller producers also had a presence and Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil caught my eye, as did Yorkshire Highland beef and Yorkshire Orchards, who sold a variety of apple based drinks. Bakers were represented by Bloom Bakers and Leeds Bread Co-op, from whom I bought what is my favourite bread of all time, their Malthouse Sourdough. Should you have a problem with gluten, or just like food which is free from the substance, then there was Primal Cut Sausages and Gluten Freekz bakery who do a version of Yorkshire Curd Tart, the county’s best-kept secret.

All of the stallholders demonstrate an obsession for what they do and I had a lengthy conversation with the owner of Stickey’s Honey, Chris Holmes. Stickey has nothing to do with the honey; it has been his nickname since childhood but has now become appropriate. It is obvious that his passion is not so much with the honey but with the bees and their behaviour and wellbeing.  This is so much the case that he doesn’t stand markets during part of the summer when the beekeeping takes priority over trading. He sells several types and flavours of honey, depending on what the bees have been feeding on, and has won awards for his produce, or should I say the bees’ produce.

The market is quite small and select so I can mention some of the other stalls.  They were The Seasonal Larder preserves and chutneys, Thistlemist Farm with their soup, sauce and pesto, Allum’s Pies from Altofts and B Whiteley Farmshop and Nursery based in Pudsey. There was also a stall run by REAP Roundhay Environmental Action Project, dedicated to carbon reduction and the environment.

Oakwood Farmers’ Market is a very pleasant, intimate affair with a good assortment of stalls and in a wonderful setting. The event takes place on the third Saturday of each month and is advertised as being open from 9.00am until 12.30pm, but I suggest that you get there as near kick-off time as you can.  I arrived at 11.30 only to find that I had missed the busy period and the stall holders were beginning to pack their stuff away. I was also gutted to find that I was too late for the entertainment which, on the day, was Roundhay Ukulele Group. You win strum, you lose strum!

Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living.  He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds.  He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.

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