Farmers Market Junkie

I love food and I love shopping, so putting the two together in a delightful little package such as a farmers market really gets me going.  So I am here to discuss three of my favs...all of which are very different set-ups.

Borough Market is one of my favourite places in London...and I have a fair few of favourite places (I would have to if I decided to uproot my entire life to move there!).  And for anyone who values my father's opinion (and you should value it, he's a legend), it is by far the highlight of all of his visits to London.  Located in Southwark, Borough Market has a long history but has been in its current location since the mid-1800's and is housed in stunning Victorian Art Deco open-air buildings.

There are foods from all over the world, not only to buy and prepare but also to eat on the spot.  I've been there to get ingredients to make some of the best meals I can take credit for (there was a red snapper, asparagus and honey-glazed parsnip situation I am particularly proud of) and also made visits just to gorge myself (chorizo and rocket sandwich, grilled cheese made straight from a wheel of cheese, ostrich burgers).  Even if you just want to have a look around, it's one place you should make sure to visit if you ever find yourself in London on a Saturday.  You're silly if you don't.

When I finally decided to brave public transport on my own, I made my way down to the Ferry Building right on the water because word on the street is that there was a market inside which I could eat my way through.  I was expecting a bit more of a Borough Market free-for-all but was pleasantly surprised with a bit more of a dignified event.  Less of a market and more of a marketplace, the Ferry Building has everything you could really want...pastry shops, kitchen goods shops, bread stands, juice bars.  Word on the street is that they do have a proper farmers market three days of the week, but I unfortunately missed that boat.

There are stunning goods here of some of the highest quality, so it is a perfect place to visit if you are entertaining or looking for a gift.  Strongly suggested/borderline demanding to be visited are Acme Bread Company, Cowgirl Creamery's Artisan Cheese Shop and (this one is definitely a demand) Miette Confectionary.

Stew Leonard's is a novelty.  I mean, just look at the entryway above.  Stew Leonard's is an experience.  But one of the most hysterical and delicious kind.  This is a full-on carnival of a farmers market.  You essentially wind yourself through a maze of incredible fresh food, buttons to push which do things like make bananas dance and sing at you and free freakin' samples.  (When I was there last week, I tried a burger with onion and gorgonzola cheese, oh yes.)  This stuff is fresh.  There is even a live cam set-up so you could have a look see at the cows that you're getting all your dairy products from!  (Not at all exciting in reality, but there is something about just knowing it's there...)

Stew Leonard's is a destination for anyone visiting Western Connecticut.  I'm not even kidding.  I've had visitors from California and England, and there were a few tantrums thrown when we couldn't go around the store for a second time.  On this past visit, we ended up with amazing stuffed clams (served in the shells) and an asian coleslaw with peanut dressing to go with it.  I haven't seen their Cobb Salad in a while, but their Gorgonzola Salad more than makes up for it.  Freshly made potato chips, lobster rolls, home made salsa...you must visit...but NEVER WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY  :)