First look – who’s coming?

At last we have the definitive list – barring any last-minute surprises – of who is coming to The Pantry Christmas Market.

Drum roll … we have (foodies first):

Brill Organic Vegetables: Kevin is currently selling organic produce bought in from Sandy Lane Farm and North Aston Organic and offering veg boxes and home deliveries, but hopes to progressively sell more of his own organic produce grown on land he cultivates in Brill.

Debbie’s Home Cooked Food: Debbie produces ‘proper’ home-cooked food using local ingredients, selling at farmers’ markets and delivering to customers’ houses. She offers a bespoke service, including catering for special dietary requirements and providing smaller complete meals. To order in advance and collect at the market, email: debbiesfood@outlook.com; tel.: 01296 770196.

Orchard View Farm: We’re delighted to welcome Orchard View Farm to The Pantry. In 2009 Jim and Helen decided to build a farm which encompasses their core values of raising happy animals and showing people how their food arrives on their plate. Their sausages and pies are award-winners: they have recently been awarded a Great Taste 3 Gold Star Award for their free range pork – the equivalent of 3 Michelin stars for a restaurant – and last week were crowned winners of the best innovative sausage in the south east & London! The farm shop and cafe (at Little Meadle, near Longwick) is lovely – do go and sample some of their delicious food and see all the animals. Free-range bronze turkeys are available to order. To order in advance and collect at the market, contact them on 01844 273387 or via their website.

Waddesdon Deli Company: A Pantry regular, Sandy’s stall selling delicious home-cured and home-smoked produce, cheeses and more is always buzzing with customers.

Zena Ashdown: Everyone makes a beeline for Zena’s gorgeous range of reasonably priced handbags and baskets.

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

Michelle Bridges: Michelle’s handmade quilts, cushions, draught excluders and door stops were a big hit at the last market.

Kathy Chalk: Individually designed decorative glass pieces. Offering unique gifts and decorations, Kathy’s stall is a favourite at our Christmas markets.

Avon: Jackie has been Piddington’s Avon representative for many years, and will be offering a range of toiletries, cosmetics and gifts.

Kim’s Jewels: Kim, who recently moved to Piddington, will be selling handmade glass jewellery, along with other costume jewellery, scarves and accessories, all reasonably priced.

Horton Accessories: Chris Cox’s fine-quality accessories are always very popular at The Pantry.

Paul’s Cards: Phoenix Christmas and birthday cards, stationery and gifts.

Pea Green Designs: Alex, who lives in Piddington, offers an eclectic variety of home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tealight holders to reindeer hides.

Rustic Homemade Decorations: Gorgeous Christmassy decorations made by Milly (aged 11) and Bryn (aged 7) from Brill. How could anyone resist those reindeer?

Liz Tagert: Liz, another Piddington resident, is selling kitchen wares and home goods.

Jenni Walker (The Hat Hire Company): Jenni’s is another stall that people really love, with her range of beautiful and affordable jewellery and accessories. She also sells her photographer husband Richard Walker’s mounted and framed prints, cards and calendars

Piddington Bakers: Village community stall selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes. All profits are in aid of St Nicholas’s Church fabric fund.

As well as all these stalls you’ll find the …

Beer Stall: Local ales from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery Co. and XT Brewing Co. Tasters available. Choose from our selection and make up your own mixed case of ales – for yourself or as a gift. Or just come and say hello to Andrew and Ian.

General Store: All your favourites, including products from the Cornfield Bakery, Jim and Jules, Shaken Oak and our own ‘Piddington Blend’ apple and apple and pear juices, made from villagers’ fruit.

Pantry Raffle: Fantastic prizes! Make sure you buy a ticket!

Secondhand Book Stall (if we can fit it in!): Have a rummage and see if you can find that modern first edition that’ll make your fortune. Or ponder over just how many John Grisham fans there can be in one village.

And last, but certainly not least, the …

Coffee Shop: Homemade cakes and Christmassy goodies from the Piddington Bakers, croissants and pain-au-chocolat from the Cornfield Bakery, legendary bacon and mushroom baps and more, all served up with frightening efficiency by the dazzling duo of Maggie and Karen and a crack team of volunteers.

A few tasters …

We got together last night to finalise who is coming to The Pantry Christmas Market and what we’ll be selling in the General Store. This will be our third anniversary, so we were hoping to make the market our best yet – and it’s looking good so far.

Some of the items in the General Store are very locally sourced indeed – look out for our Piddington Christmas Chutney, made by Jim and Jules from Piddington apples, a new collection of Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jams, made from the good things growing all around the village, and the range of three Piddington apple juice blends: Piddington Apple Juice, Piddington Apple and Pear Juice and Piddington Apple Juice – Cider Day Blend. The latter was made with the apples remaining after our village Cider Day last Saturday. You can read more about this new village venture – and see the incriminating photographs – here.

We have a fantastic range of stallholders lined up, offering everything you need for a great locally sourced festive season, from free-range bronze turkeys and Christmas meats to handcrafted jewellery and reindeer hides. I’ll give you more details in a later post, but for now, here are a few tasters of what’s coming.

Reservoir_pigs
Reservoir pigs – Orchard View Farm
alex2
Pea Green Designs
kim2
Kim’s Jewels
jennie-bosher
Jennie Bosher – Crafts
reindeer
Rustic Reindeer

A Market on a Plate – are you coming?

Posters and leaflets are everywhere now, so there’s no excuse for missing out on what should be a really great foodie night. There’ll be lots of different foods to taste, all supplied by our favourite Pantry suppliers, and lots of local drinks to sample alongside them, together with expert advice on good – and not so good – food and drink pairings. You’ll have fun, learn something new and perhaps make a few surprising discoveries about exactly what food and drink is being produced very close to home. And of course you’ll be able to buy products from the General Store after the tasting.

So do come along and help to make it a really buzzing night.

Incidentally, as this is an expensive event for a small group like ours to put on, The Pantry has decided to subsidise it, to keep the price of the tickets at £15, as we really want to bring something a little bit different to Piddington.

So please support The Pantry by joining us on 13 September, and please encourage anyone you think might be interested about our Market on a Plate to buy a ticket. The more people that come, the better the atmosphere.

See you there!

A Market on a Plate – please spread the word!

Posters and leaflets have been distributed, but the best publicity is word of mouth. So please spread the word about this exciting event – get a group of like-minded friends together and have fun sharing the various tasting platters and comparing notes on the different food and drink pairings.

The Pantry food and wine night A4 v3 web-page-0

Rain, rain, go away

It’s wet. And cold. And coldly wet. Summer, eh?

Squelching back home through the puddles last night, after a shorter than usual Pantry meeting (owing to one of us having to dash off for physio as a result of a yoga-based injury), we had all our fingers crossed for a return to summery weather by 7 June, when we’ll be holding our summer market.

The theme this time is holidays,asparagus both at home and abroad, and we’ve tried to bring to Piddington a few of the delights that lazy summer days can bring.

Think of early summer in England and the chances are you’ll be picturing fresh green bunches of delicious asparagus and bowls of luscious strawberries. We’ll have both of these for sale at the summer market, freshly picked from Rectory Farm.

strawberries

What else? Well, naturally, you need some ice cream, and all the better if it’s locally made. We’re quite excited about the fact that at the market this time you’ll be able to enjoy delicious homemade ice cream from local milk from two different ice cream makers. On the General Store, and at the Coffee Shop, you can buy single-serve tubs of ice cream from St George’s Gelato, based in Haddenham. You may have tried their gorgeous Italian-style ice cream at one of our markets last year. In the car park, outside the main hall, you’ll find Bradshaws Farm Ice Cream, who’ll be selling cones and smallice cream pots of ice cream made from fresh milk from their family herd of Holstein-Fresians in Grendon Underwood.

If Italian gelato sets you dreaming of more far-flung holiday destinations, look out for Vasiliki Ntaverzani, who will be selling real Greek honey and homemade Greek pastries. Are you hungry yet?

Also coming on 7th will be the very popular stalls from Waddesdon Deli and the butcher John Walman, who this time will also be bringing a range of salad produce.cakes

Once again, members of St Nicholas Church will be running the Community Stall, selling delicious homemade cakes in aid of the fabric fund. So do go and treat yourself – and support an important part of the village at the same time.

And when it’s time for a little drop of something? Never fear, the beer stall will be there, with beers from Vale, XT and Oxfordshire Ales. Have a glass at the market, then take home a few bottles for later. Or you could choose tea, coffee, chocolate, squash from the Coffee Shop  – and maybe a bacon or mushroom bap to tide you over until it’s time for an ice cream.

Of course, it’s not all food and drink at The Pantry. Emma Arnold, whom you may have seen at Art on the Hill at Brill earlier this year, will be selling her gorgeous hand-printed garden cushions and other items, Zena Ashdown will be offering bespoke handbags and baskets, Tony Pearce will be bringing a lovely selection of plants for your summer garden, we’ll have a brand-new selection of secondhand books, CDs and toys, and of course, there’ll be the General Store, with an interesting selection of local foods and toiletries.

So all we need now is for the sun to put his hat on. But even if it’s raining, we’ll just put on our plastic rainhats, galoshes and scratchy plastic macs, raise an ice cream in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other, and enjoy the Great British Summertime. We know how to have fun, don’t we?

Rain-and-Sunshine-Photography

 

 

What’s on at the Christmas Market

Better late than never! It’s been so hectic here at Pantry HQ that only now do we have a final(ish?) list of what’s available tomorrow.

So here it is, hot off the press and ready for you to download and see all the special offers and Christmassy products we have for you.

What’s on at the Christmas Market

Please don’t forget to buy a raffle ticket before 1pm. There are lots of excellent prizes, including a gentleman’s leather belt, handmade by a craftsman who lives in Piddington specially for us at The Pantry. We’re honoured. Also beautifully handmade for us (by Rosemary, famed at The Pantry for her hedgerow jams and jellies) is a Christmas door wreath. And there are hampers of various products, a Christmas decorative reindeer and much more besides. People often forget about the raffle in the general excitement of the market, so add it to your list now!

It’s not all cakes and ale

Of course, The Pantry will abound with local food and crafts suitable for giving as gifts, but there’s more to it than that. To take some of the hassle out of the Christmas preparations, we’ve tried to bring to the Christmas Market several stalls and services of a more practical nature.

Local butcher Peter Goss will not only be offering a good range of traditional, quality meats and poultry all sourced from local farms, but will also be taking Christmas orders.

The always popular – and award-winning – Bucksum will be back, selling their fresh vegetables and salads.

Local farmer Nick Wallington will be taking orders for Christmas trees. Delivery is possible. Order directly from Nick on Saturday or phone on 07850 880438.

We also hope to have bags of rock salt for sale, to keep your paths free from slippery ice.

On the General Store we’ll have a selection of Christmas lights for sale. (Sorry, I seem to be overcome with general Christmassyness – that says ‘Christmas lights’ in sober black and white.)

And we haven’t forgotten the garden birds. Also on the General Store we’ll be offering wild bird seed and fat balls in packs of a suitable size for gifts.

Here’s a thought. If you live in Piddington, why not set yourself a challenge and try to get all your Christmas shopping done without leaving the village this year?

Light-Christmas-House

Christmas is coming

There’s no avoiding it: every magazine and newspaper has its Christmas Gift and ‘Countdown to Christmas’ features, encouraging us all to shop online and have items sent from large warehouses all over the country, and we are already starting to panic at the glitzy sparkle of the John Lewis and M&S TV ads (or is that just me?).

But what if there were a better way to shop for Christmas? A place just around the corner, where you can buy gifts for the whole family from the people who have made them, or stock up on locally made festive food and drink while chatting to your friends over a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of cake made by one of your neighbours? Where the money you spend goes back into the local community rather than into a faceless corporation?

Of course, you’re reading this, so you know what I’m talking about – at The Pantry Christmas Market you’ll discover a different way of starting your Christmas preparations. We’ve tried to bring together everything you need under one roof, so you can shop for gifts, food, drink, order your turkey and buy your fairy lights without the hassle of fighting the crowds (or the online ordering system) or struggling to find somewhere to park.

Look at the photo below, taken at last year’s Christmas Market. Don’t you just feel the Christmas spirit? Come along on 7 December, between 10am and 2pm and be part of our village Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Market, 2012
Christmas Market, 2012

Mutual support is good for everyone

Driving back from Sandford Market this morning with a couple of friends, having had a delicious breakfast, chatted to some people who have supported The Pantry in the past (hello Jill!) and picked up some local bread and meat, plus a few Christmas stocking fillers for the family (including me!), we got to talking about how our visit had not only been enjoyable but also had given us the chance to look at The Pantry with fresh eyes.

I must say, we all felt a great sense of pride in what has been achieved in Piddington over the last year – a bit like proud parents, I suppose. Seeing the buzz of activity at Sandford, we marvelled at how the people who organise it manage to put on a market every week – hats off to them for an amazing effort!

It also gave us fresh heart and the impetus we needed to start pulling together our Christmas Market on 7 December. At this dank, dreary time of year, it’s all too easy to stay indoors, huddled over the fire, and ignore anything that needs a bit of effort. Visiting the market this morning brought home to us all just how important it is to resist these tendencies and support all the people who are working so hard to bring life to their communities. I wrote in an earlier piece about how volunteering can be good for your health. We decided this morning that mutual support like this can have huge benefits for the health of a community – and of course you can have great fun while you’re doing it.

So please look out for those local community markets and go along for a coffee or to buy a few things. If you’re stuck for ideas, there are lots of event-listing websites, e.g. Where Can We Go? And, of course, don’t forget to come along and support your very own community market on 7 December, 10am til 2pm. It’ll be great!

Our very first market, Christmas 2012.
Our very first market, Christmas 2012.

The Pantry Christmas Market – our first anniversary!

Can you believe it? The Pantry is a year old! Come and help us celebrate our first anniversary at the Christmas Market on Saturday 7 December 2013, 10am–2pm.

Because it’s Christmas, we’ve put together a selection of stalls offering interesting local gifts and crafts – including unusual handmade jewellery, silk scarves and accessories from Shalotte, decorative art dolls and cushions from Jenny Bowen-Pine, Kathy Chalk’s exquisite decorative glass pieces (very popular last Christmas), plus handbags from Alison Court, a selection of accessories for that hard-to-buy-for man in your life from Horton Accessories, and more still being finalised. A full list of craft stallholders will be posted soon.

In the General Store we’ll be featuring some seasonal specials. If your Christmas decorations seem a little tired, freshen them up with some new Christmas lights from the selection we’ll have for sale. Who knows, we may even put on a display to rival that well-known garden centre just up the road. We’re making up some pretty gift baskets – lined with our trademark red gingham! Or you could buy one of our Pantry cotton bags and make up your own gift bag filled with local produce.

And don’t forget the garden birds. Also on the General Store we’ll be offering bird seed and fat balls in packs of a suitable size for gifts.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Pantry without a range of stalls offering the best of local produce, so you’ll find, for example, the very popular local butcher Peter Goss, who’ll be bringing a selection of high-quality locally sourced meats and poultry, Bucksum selling their top-class salads and vegetables, Jim and Jules with their delicious chutneys and jams (including a special Piddington variety, made with a villager’s apples!), the Waddesdon Deli Co. offering their delicious goodies and The Little Shop of Cheese providing an array of cheeses, many of which are packed to make them suitable as gifts for the foodie in your life.

The Piddington Bakers will be back with their fabulous array of scrumptious homemade cakes. All the profit from their stall will go towards the repair work that is needed on the church, so please support them by buying a cake (or two … or three …).

There’ll also be great offers and promotions on Pantry food and drink – including deals you can’t afford to miss on our popular local beer and cider stall.Our Biermeister is keen to get you tasting and comparing brews from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery and XT Brewing Co. Buy a case and mix and match the beers you choose.

Outside, we’ll be selling rock salt to keep your paths safe, and we hope that Nick Wallington will be taking orders for Christmas trees, as he did last year.

If all that isn’t enough reason to come along and join us at The Pantry Christmas Market, then do I need to mention the coffee shop, with its tempting aroma of bacon baps wafting around the village hall (sorry, veggies!)?  Plus – as it’s a special occasion, what with it being our first anniversary as well as Christmas – we’re planning one or two extra treats.

Remember, save the date – 7 December.