Good Food Blog
More for your money at the marketPosted at 1:00PM, 14 March 2011 by Katy Greenwood - Food writer
When was the last time you went to the market for your weekly food shop? These days supermarkets are so convenient and so enormous that they seem to be taking over our lives and totally dictating where we shop and what we buy. But in most towns there's a local market , whether it's on everyday or at the weekends, that just shouldn't be overlooked.
You're not paying for any branding, advertising or packaging at the market; what you see is what you get
Though the market can't offer you a BOGOF on fish fingers, there are bargains to be had. After all, you're not paying for any branding, advertising or packaging at the market; what you see is what you get and it is usually fresh local produce. I love shopping at markets and though I live in London and have brilliant markets like Borough on my doorstep, my favourite market is Doncaster market.
The market in Doncaster is big. You can get pretty much anything there that you can get in a supermarket (and lots of things that you can't too). The best part of the market for me though is the fish section. Even Borough only has a couple of fish stalls, but here there are 15 stalls selling only seafood. The choice is astounding and best of all the majority is caught locally on the East Coast (but if not it is always British) and all really fresh. The stallholders love to chat and know exactly where and when their fish was caught and are always ready to give advice on how best to cook your choice. It's great to be able to browse to see who has the best salmon at the best price, which stall has the biggest crabs, and there's always something seasonal or special to see - even live langoustines occasionally make an appearance. And if there's something you particularly want for a recipe they're always happy to source it for you if you get in touch with them a few days in advance.
This is what really makes markets special for me, that the people selling the food know where it came from and actually care about it. Plus, you're not limited in your choice at all. Unlike the supermarket, at the market you don't have to have that expensive piece of lamb because it's the only one left on the shelf; here you can browse the meat stalls and find the piece you want at the price you want. I can't think of one supermarket where I would get this kind of choice or service.
What do you think? Do you use your local market and if so do you have a favourite stall, or is there something that makes your market particularly special? Or are you a die-hard supermarket shopper?