Piddington Apple Day 2016

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Piddington Apple Day, 22 October 2016. Photo: Mario Terzino

Before we throw ourselves fully into preparing for The Pantry Christmas Market, I just wanted to celebrate our village’s second Apple Day, held this year on 22nd October.

From a small pip of an idea, begun at our very first Apple Day, last October, the Piddington ‘Apple Corps’ have continued their enthusiasm for all things relating to village apple trees and their fruit.

The first initiative – to get the first pressings of Piddington Blend Apple and Apple and Pear Juice to market – was a huge success, with stocks selling well at The Pantry markets and at the village Pop-Up Pubs throughout the year.

The next step was to investigate the possibility of using some of Piddington’s apple juice to make cider. And so the Piddington Cider Alchemists (and Friends) came into existence. Weeks of nervously watching, testing and encouraging Tom, Dick, Harry, Dave (the four fermenting vessels) were rewarded in July by the first bottles of Piddington Cider

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This year’s Apple Day was a much bigger event. The weather was perfect (again! – at The Pantry we can only dream of such weather!), lots of people turned up to sort, wash, chop, scrat, pour, press and even dance to the great live music from Barney Newman and Tom Leary. The Harvest Supper afterwards was lovely, with lots of villagers contributing to the delicious spread. I’ve posted a few photos below, but if you’d like to see more, please go to the Piddington village website.

As well as being a wonderful day for the village, with people of all ages coming together to work hard and have great fun, the results of Apple Day 2016 are that …

  • Every apple was a Piddington-grown apple and every last one of them was used – either pressed on the day for juice for cider or taken off for pressing and bottling as Piddington Village Apple Juice, which will be available to buy at The Pantry Christmas Market on 3rd December (put that date in your diary now!) and of course will also be available at future village events and pub nights.
  • We more than achieved our cider juice target. Just over 250 litres of juice went in to the fermenters and demijohns – a 78% increase on last year’s 140 litres!
  • Proceeds from the auctions and donations from everyone were divided equally between the Church and the Village Hall.

 
The Cider Alchemists have already begun the mysterious process of turning this year’s juice into cider, and the vessels, hidden away in their top secret winter quarters, are now quietly fermenting. Read more about our community apple project here.

In the meantime, keep a lookout for ‘Piddington Apple Day – The Movie!’

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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

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.

Who’s coming to the Autumn Market?

Well, not this Pantry Person, unfortunately, as on 14 September I’ll be otherwise engaged – though I will certainly miss being there. Not just the brilliant atmosphere on the day, and chatting with people I haven’t seen for ages while sampling some of the delicious tastes on offer (not to mention the fantastic range of local beers and ciders we’re offering), but also the buzz and excitement of helping to get the market ready. It’s hard to describe how great it feels when, after all the hard work, you step back just before it opens and see that everything has suddenly come together. The hall is always decorated so beautifully, the stalls and the coffee shop always look so attractive and welcoming, and everyone is friendly and eager to make it a really enjoyable event.

Anyway, if you’re lucky enough to be in Piddington from 10 am to 2 pm on 14 September, here’s what you’ll find there.

You can make the list bigger by clicking on the rectangle at the bottom right; clicking on a link will take you to the supplier’s website.

Who’s coming? First peek

We have some exciting new stalls at the Autumn Market, not to mention our new local beer and cider tent!

There are several fantastic small craft brewers and cider makers in this area, and this is your opportunity to sample a few of their products, and take home a bottle or two for later. We’ll be featuring beers, ciders and apple juice from producers including The Little Orchard Co., Oxfordshire Ales and XT Brewing Co. Newsflash! XT-ONE was voted ‘Beer of the Year’ at Jimmy’s Farm Sausage and Beer Festival in July! Look out for the event to be broadcast on Countryfile, BBC 1.

Another newcomer to The Pantry is I’m Japanese, an intriguing stall containing a range of traditional Japanese family food cooked by Japanese-born Momo using locally sourced, organic, free range ingredients. What a wonderful chance to taste something so different and special – something you’d never be able to experience unless you were the guest of a Japanese cook! I’m sure Momo’s stall will be extremely popular.

You may already be a fan of the exceptionally tasty and tender beef produced by Oving Dexters from their small herd of Dexter cattle grass-reared on a farm in the village of Oving, Buckinghamshire. If so, you may wish to preorder directly from them in advance, to make sure of your chosen cut. If you haven’t tasted Dexter beef before, do try it – I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the flavour.

We’re also delighted to welcome St George’s Gelato, based in Haddenham, who make delicious fresh  Italian-style ice cream in small batches using simple, natural ingredients and free from artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Finally, as the cheeses supplied by Little Shop of Cheese, a small family business based in Buckinghamshire, were so popular at the Summer Market, we’ve invited Nicola Parker to run a whole stall devoted to British cheeses, so that you can choose from a much wider range. You may already know Nicola, as she takes a regular stall at Bicester Market every Friday.

Of course, you’ll find some familiar faces too – look out for more details soon.

You really can’t afford to miss the Autumn Market on 14 September, so put the date in your diary now!