And so this is Christmas …

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The Pantry Christmas Market, 2 December 2017
Photos: Francesca Darby and Kim Elliott


Thanks so much to everyone – stallholders, volunteers and customers – for coming along to our Christmas Market, and making it such a fantastic 5th anniversary.

It certainly was the busiest market we’ve had – the Coffee Shop was hectic, selling all the baps we’d bought (8 dozen of them). Maggie, Karen and the team are so well-organised and capable, I doubt anyone would have guessed that the coffee machine had broken hours before opening time, and, at the busiest market of the year, the team were having to improvise with other urgently sourced equipment. Talk about ‘a well-oiled machine’! (As a matter of fact, some of us did collapse afterwards with a large glass of something calming, but that’s another story.)

The raffle took more money this time than at any previous market – all of which will go towards various village projects. Special thanks go to Lucy and Pam for running it, and to the stallholders who generously provided some superb prizes.

The Church stall, with its extra table laden with Christmas wreaths and gifts in addition to the delicious cakes, looked beautiful and raised a goodly sum for refurbishment projects.

As I was going round chatting on Saturday, I had some lovely comments about The Pantry from stallholders and customers. It’s always interesting to hear what stallholders think about us, because they attend a lot of markets and events, and it helps us identify where we can make improvements. I’ve asked some of them if I can share their comments with you, because they suggest that, despite none of us having tackled anything like this before we started The Pantry, we seem in general to be on the right track. Organising each market is a lot of hard work, but feeling the buzz on Saturday and then getting comments like these makes it all worthwhile.

We at Riff Raffs Sew & Sew attended the Christmas Market for the first time on Saturday, such a wonderful atmosphere.

The organisation from start to finish was superb, we were so impressed with the variety of talent & stalls on offer.

Everybody was so welcoming & complimentary on our handmade products, we loved every minute.

A truly wonderful day of sales & meeting new customers, looking forward to the next market date in 2018.

(Jo & Sharon)

Prime Wood Studios attended our very first Christmas market on Saturday 2nd December. We were quite excited because we had been to The Pantry toward the end of the summer and knew what to expect, the happiest and most motivated group of villagers you could ever wish to meet, kind, welcoming and organised.

The Pantry itself is a lovely warm environment with a superb team of ladies serving up all manner of locally made produce, tea, coffee, home made cakes, mince pies, bacon rolls, what more could you ask for? Well actually, locally made beer, apple juice and a host of other products. There was something there for everyone, all of the stall holders were very helpful and presented some exquisite crafts.

The footfall throughout the day was extremely good, especially given the fact that the village is a little gem tucked away in the beautiful surrounding countryside, this was undoubtedly due to the advertising and hard work from the organisers.

Prime Wood Studios had a busy, productive and enjoyable day, we can’t wait for the next market and would thoroughly recommend this family friendly fun day out.

(Paul & Simon)

A lovely, friendly market with a great atmosphere.


I’ll let you know next year’s dates as soon as we’ve fixed them.

Have a lovely Christmas everyone – and we hope to see you next year!




Who’s coming?



Here’s a quick rundown of who will be at The Pantry Christmas Market on 2nd December.

There are more stalls than ever before, offering a fantastic variety of local products and handmade items, so you’re sure to find unique gifts for all the people in your life – and maybe a treat or two for yourself!

Zena Ashdown: Bespoke handbags and baskets

Bicester Party Shop: Balloon decorations for all occasions and more

Duns Tew Pottery: Functional stoneware pottery

Jennie Bosher: Handmade decorations and cards, knitted cushions and toys

Horton Accessories: Fine accessories for women, men and the home

Kim’s Jewels: Fun and affordable jewellery and scarves

Paul’s Cards: Phoenix cards, stationery and gift

Pauline Pinney: Hand made cards and hand knitted goods

Prime Wood Studios: Handcrafted wooden gifts

RiffRaffs: Handmade gifts, textiles, bespoke products

William Rolls Ceramics: Salt-glazed ceramic sculptures inspired by nature

Liz Tagert: Christmas gifts, decorations, small artworks

Topstitch: Handsewn items

Waddesdon Deli: Home-cured and home-smoked produce, cheeses and more

Rebecca White: Soaps, lip balm, etc. jams & chutneys, handmade gifts, homemade dog treats

White Wick Candles: Hand-poured soy candles

Woodstock Fudge Company: Homemade fudge using traditional methods and ingredients. Flavours include: Christmas Pudding, Chocolate Orange, Vanilla, Baileys, Gin, Vanilla, Salted Caramel & Rum and Raisin

As well as all these, you’ll find Andrew and Ian in the Beer Tent, offering you tasters of XT and Vale favourites – and possibly a surprise guest beer …

The Raffle, with great prizes …

And, new for this market, but destined to be a favourite stall at The Pantry, the amazingly popular Church Cake Stall is expanding! From now on, they will not only be selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes in aid of church funds but will also be offering local and homemade produce, and seasonal items, in place of what was the General Store. We’re really hoping this will go from strength to strength, and be a regular source of much needed funds to help St Nicholas’s Church with its new projects.



New season’s apple juice

2017 juice

It’s here!

The new season’s Piddington Village Apple Juice, made entirely from Piddington apples, will be available at The Pantry Christmas Market on 2nd December.

The apples were brought along to the Village Hall by villagers on Apple Day (7 October 2017). Some was juiced on the day, and that is now turning into Piddington Cider. All the apples that were left at the end of the day were taken to the brilliant Drovers Hill Farm , near Princes Risborough, to be pressed and bottled for The Pantry. We sell the juice and the cider throughout the year to raise money for village good causes.

We collected the new stock on Monday and sampled it at our Pantry meeting on Wednesday. I can confirm that it’s absolutely delicious. It has a slight sharpness to it, but a beautiful sweetness and depth of flavour comes through from the fairly high proportion of dessert apples that went into it. Sharp, sweet and deep – the essence of Piddington, really.


Piddington Apple Day, 7 October 2017. Photo: Kim Elliott



VH Xmas Pantry pic
Our first market – more successful than any of us had expected

Wow, that went quickly! Time to think about how far we’ve come and maybe reflect on what The Pantry may have contributed to life in Piddington.

The Pantry Christmas Market to be held on Saturday 2nd December will mark our 5th anniversary, and will be our biggest so far. We’ll be celebrating the determination of a small community to create and sustain a new village amenity in tough times, and the wide-ranging effect this successful venture has had on our village.

The first Pantry Market and Coffee Shop was held in the village hall on 1st December 2012. In an article published in the Bicester Advertiser (29th November 2012) Francesca Darby, one of the organisers, stated that “The intention is to make the market a regular feature … the hope being that this will eventually become a source of funding … and achieve greater local awareness for the plight of small villages.” At the time, Piddington had just lost its pub – one of the very few amenities left in the village.

Bicester Advertiser article
Bicester Advertiser, 29 November 2012

Fast forward five years (and over 20 markets) and we are still going strong, the organising group and fantastic volunteers still include the same faces and our stallholders continue to give their support.

Our original aim was to promote small local businesses and fundraise for a village shop. However, after village consultation, it was apparent that the latter aim lacked real viability. Nevertheless, the group believed that other village causes could be helped.

The Pantry has so far raised over £10,000, generated by profits from the general store, beer tent and coffee shop, stallholder fees, raffles and secondhand book sales. At each market, we have offered a free table to St Nicholas Church, where volunteers sell homemade cakes to raise funds for essential work on the building.

This summer The Pantry offered a donation of £3000 each to the committee of the village hall, towards the renovation of its kitchen, and to St Nicholas Church project group, for their plans to construct a kitchen/servery. We hope that by this time next year one if not both projects will be completed.

The Pantry may have had a more wide-ranging effect than simply raising money for village projects, however. It’s quite likely that the sense of involvement and community spirit it has fostered in villagers has led to other community initiatives, such as the three hugely successful Apple Days held in Piddington, which has resulted in Piddington Village Apple Juice and Piddington Cider, both of which are sold to raise further funds for village causes.

We feel delighted and proud that a small rural community that had lost most of its amenities has managed to create and sustain such a successful initiative in tough times. The market exists because people continue to come to it. While The Pantry blog has a worldwide following, it is our visitors who create the special atmosphere on the day.

So don’t forget, the Christmas Pantry will be held on SATURDAY 2nd DECEMBER, 10am to 2pm, in the village hall, Piddington, OX25 1PU, and will mark our fifth anniversary. It is going to be the biggest yet. Put the date in your diary and tell your friends!

In the meantime, thank you all for your continued support.

Christmas Market – The Countdown Starts Now!

The posters for the Christmas Market on 2nd December are starting to appear, so put the date in your diary now. It’s going to be a good one!

Pantry Xmas 2017 colour A4-page-0

Who’s coming?

Collage 2017-02-26 Pantry 3


Who’ll be here on 23 September?

As you can see from the list below, as well as our lovely regular stallholders, Zena (tempting bags), Chris (quality accessories), Kim (fab affordable jewellery and scarves), Paul (gorgeous greeting cards, wrapping paper, gifts and more) and Sandy (a wide range of cheeses, meats and other deli produce), we have several new stallholders and – back by popular demand – Flooseymoo, with her beautiful range of handmade jewellery.

Most of our new stallholders have websites, so have a browse at what they offer. I’m sure you’ll be tempted!



Zena Ashdown: Bespoke handbags and baskets

Flooseymoo Jewellery: Handmade silver & semi-precious gemstone jewellery

Horton Accessories: Fine accessories for women, men and the home

Jazzy Lily Hot Glass: Handmade glass bead jewellery – NEW

Katy Anne Crafts: Hama bead art/items and sewn items – NEW

Kim’s Jewels: Fun and affordable jewellery and scarves

Paul’s Cards: Phoenix cards, stationery and gift

Prime Wood Studios: Handcrafted wooden gifts – NEW

Rebecca White: Toiletries, jams & chutneys, handmade gifts, homemade dog treats – NEW

Elaine Whittaker: Tropic skin care – natural, cruelty free skin care products – NEW

Cake stall


General store

Coffee shop



Piddington Cottage Garden Plants: Plants grown by Maggie and Tony

Waddesdon Deli: Delicious home-cured and home-smoked produce, cheeses and more

Bicester Party Shop: Balloon decorations for all occasions and more

Beer stall