Thank you!

 

 

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The Pantry Christmas Market, 1 December 2018
Photos: Chris Weavers and Kim Elliott

Thanks so much to everyone – stallholders, volunteers and customers – for coming along to our Christmas Market, which our Treasurer, Chris, tells me was our 22nd! I found this so hard to believe, I counted up all the markets we’ve held since we started in December 2012 and it’s true. We really have got together as a community this many times and created something that lots of us in the village think is meaningful and important. And not just in the village. We’ve got to know several of the stallholders who have become regulars, and real friendships have grown as a result of these markets. The Pantry is part of their world now, as they are of ours.

Glancing back over the list of producers and suppliers, I was surprised by the variety of stalls and produce we’ve had. We featured more food stalls at the beginning. The idea for The Pantry had grown from disussions about the possibility of having a village shop, so our initial focus was on food, with some craft stalls – hence the name! For various reasons the balance has shifted. (Reasons include, for example, the difficulty of finding small food producers who want to attend a market as infrequent as ours, or who already sell elsewhere on our dates. Also, we can’t guarantee large sales of perishable goods and, if we buy in stock to sell ourselves, most companies will only agree to sale or return on bigger orders than we can make, and of course won’t offer sale or return on food products, quite understandably.) In recent years we’ve mainly relied for our food offering on the homemade cakes and produce sold by villagers, the fab bacon and mushroom baps freshly cooked to order in the Coffee Shop, an order of bread from artisan bakers and Sandy from Waddesdon Deli, who brings her delicious cheeses, meats and home-smoked produce. We’d love to feature more food stalls, though, so if you’re a small food producer, or know someone who’d like to come to a market next year, please contact me.

Thank you again for coming on Saturday. The hall was lively and buzzing, as usual, and beautifully decorated for Christmas (thanks Kim, Chris and Ken!). We moved the Christmas tree into the front marquee to make it more festive out there, along with lights, tinsel and a festive soundtrack, then shifted it back afterwards. I’m not sure this was enough to keep customers from making a beeline into the warm hall, drawn by the delicious smell of bacon and mushrooms, so we’ll have to rethink this next year. We’re very grateful to the stallholders in the marquee for being so good-humoured about their position this time. And we’re sorry you missed the Christmas music, Jen. We were so concerned about having it in the outer reaches (the front and side marquees), we didn’t notice that neither sound system managed to make it into the main hall! We’ll do better next year – promise!

We couldn’t hold these markets without the help and support of everyone involved – no matter how small a part they may play. After all, someone coming along to have a cup of tea and slice of cake, then spotting a neighbour they haven’t seen for ages and enjoying a good catch-up was one of the main reasons for starting The Pantry 22 markets ago. To see it happen so many times, at every market, is absolutely brilliant!

See you at the Spring Market on 30th March!

Author: Hazel at The Pantry

I live in a small Oxfordshire village, and am writing a blog for The Pantry, a community project to provide the village with a place to meet and to buy locally made and sourced products and to raise funds for village causes.

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