I’m not sure there’s a better way to start the weekend than with a leisurely stroll round Bath Farmers’ Market under the beautiful vaulted roof of Green Park Station, picking out delicious bits and bobs for a long lazy lunch. One of the best things about a good food market is exploring, but it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start, so here are my top five not-to-be-missed Bath Farmers’ Market highlights – which, not incidentally, will combine to make the perfect picnic lunch…
The Oven Bakery
A tiny bakery outfit based at Hartley Farm just outside Bath, The Oven make some pretty fabulous sourdough which you should definitely pick up for your lunch, but I also really want to mention their incredible granola, packed with jumbo oats, raisins, seeds and nuts. It’s a delicious way to start the day but I’ll be completely honest, I also like to just snack on it by the handful.
Non Solo Pasta
This is a recent discovery for me – my eye was immediately caught by the mouth-watering porchetta on the Non Solo Pasta stall, stuffed with herbs and wrapped up in gorgeous crispy crackling, and I just had to try it. With a fresh loaf of bread and some salad it made possibly the best sandwiches ever, which took me straight back to Florence. Another thing to look out for is their macaroni cheese arancini (what a glorious combination of words that is) which, quite frankly, words fail to describe.
The Tomato Stall
Anyone who doesn’t think tomatoes are particularly exciting needs to visit The Tomato Stall post-haste, because their gorgeous red and gold plum tomatoes are absolutely exquisite. Sweet, juicy and firm, you can eat them straight out of the paper bag like the most delectable of bon bons, or simply chop in half, drizzle with olive oil and add a few fresh basil leaves – no further gilding of the lily is required.
The gorgeously clean and briny aroma of fresh fish is one of my favourite smells at the market – it never fails to make me hungry. You can pick up all sorts of seafood at the Felce Foods fishmonger stall, but my absolute favourite thing is their rich and creamy taramasalata, perfect for pairing with your sourdough loaf from The Oven.
Olives ‘n Stuff
Is there anything as moreish as a bowlful of olives? Once I start nibbling I just can’t stop, so a visit to the Olives ‘n Stuff stall is always essential. They offer a gorgeously grown-up version of pick & mix, with a tempting array of different marinated olives that you can scoop into a container yourself and pay for by weight. Depending on current Covid restrictions, you can taste different olives before you buy, too, to help you choose (or possibly make it harder).
As always, it’s a real wrench narrowing my choices down to five – honourable mentions must also go to Moist (who create an incredible range of different hummus flavours – my favourite is their butter bean & zhug special), Somerset Charcuterie (their red wine & blue cheese salami is a revelation), and Seven Hills Chocolate (I recommend their golden nuggets of chocolate-covered honeycomb for grown-ups, and their gorgeous rainbow-coloured chocolate frogs for kids).
Are you a Bath Farmers’ Market regular? What’s your favourite stall? Leave me a comment and let me know!