A browse around the General Store

General store collage

When we started the market, we were all completely new to stocking and running a stall selling locally made high-quality foods and toiletries, and to be honest we had no idea of what would be popular and what wouldn’t. We wanted to offer as wide a range as possible of items that were a little bit special, but that were also affordable. We’ve offered a variety of products in the General Store over the last couple of years, but there are some ranges that people now ask for specifically, and which disappear very quickly!

Of course, the artisan breads from the Cornfield Bakery are always extremely popular, as are the tasty savoury products from Just Biscuits and the appealing little waxed cheeses from Little Shop of Cheese. But what is a hunk of cheese without a good tangy chutney or pickle?

Jim and Jules are a small family business making top-notch jellies, chutneys and pickles from locally sourced produce, and we find that once people have sampled their wares, they come back for more. Last year, they made a special Christmas chutney for us, using Piddington apples (provided by Karen and Derek – thank you!), which was hugely popular.

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This year, we’ll again be selling the little gift sets ‘A Piddington Pair’ – a jar of Piddington Christmas Chutney paired with a jar of Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jam in a ready labelled gift bag. Honestly, you couldn’t get a more local and unique gift for a foodie friend! As well as our own special chutney, you’ll find some other delicious-sounding items made by Jim and Jules (unless someone else has snapped them up first):

  • Jim and Jules Onion & Chilli Gubbins
  • Apple & Chilli Jelly
  • Pops’ Perfect Piccalilli
  • Beetroot & Orange
  • Hearty Ale Chutney – made with beer from Tring Brewery
  • Jingleberry Jelly – a very special edition made with Hedgerow fruits after a family forage along the canals
  • Cranberry & Red Onion
  • Quince & Apple Jelly – made with Quince from Jim and Jules’s village
  • Green Tomato Chutney – made with Tomatoes from Jim and Jules’s greenhouse

Jacobs

Another much loved range is Jacobs Field Lavender. These toiletries are made from extracted oils produced from lavender grown in Jacobs Field in Islip, Oxfordshire. The venture is an inspiring example of ‘land share’, bringing together like-minded people who own land with those who would like to share and cultivate it for a greater good. Profits are given to local charities; local schoolchildren come to learn about growing veg, and there are beehives producing honey. The products themselves are gorgeous. You’ll find all your favourites – Hand Cream, Hand Wash, Linen Water, Moisture Lotion, Pillow Spray – but you’ll also be among the first to try their brand-new products – Body Butter, Body Latte and Essential Oil. We’ll be selling Jacobs Field Lavender products in beautifully presented ready labelled gift bags, to make your life a bit simpler. If you buy two or more products, the gift bag is free.

There are lots more interesting products on the General Store. Why not make up your own hamper from the tempting array of goods on offer? Ask for a basket at the stall.

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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

Progress report

The Pantry is well into its second year now, so it seems a good time to issue a brief update on how things are going.

If you’re a regular at The Pantry, you’ll know how popular these markets are. We advertise them widely, and visitors come from quite far afield, many making a point of telling us how impressed they are to see such a small village put on a regular event like this.

The small group of people who organise The Pantry rely hugely on the enthusiasm and commitment of a band of excellent volunteers, without whom the markets couldn’t happen. The volunteers are mainly (though not exclusively) Piddington villagers, which is great because The Pantry is a community project intended to benefit Piddington. The goal is to provide a foundation for a permanent community shop and cafe in the village. Some of the money raised at the markets is used to replenish stock and improve subsequent markets. The remainder is put in the bank, as the foundation of a community shop fund. There have been six Pantry markets in Piddington and two ‘Portable Pantry’ stalls at other markets. So far, we’ve raised around £4,000, which we think is pretty amazing.

So thanks, everyone who has supported the markets so far – and if you haven’t been to The Pantry yet, why on earth not? The atmosphere is great, there’s always lots to look at and tasters of food and drink to try, there’s plenty for children to do, and the bacon baps are legendary. Come to the Summer Market on 7 June, and don’t miss out on something that Piddington is doing so well.

That was spring, roll on summer

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First look: who’s coming?

daffs signpost

Just a quick note to let you know that we have the following confirmed stalls for the Spring Market:

Zena Ashdown (Bespoke handbags and baskets)

CiCi-CoCo – NEW

Debbie’s Home Cooked Food

Horton Accessories

Avon  (Local representative: Jackie Cooper-Smith) – CANCELLED, WILL BE AT THE JUNE MARKET

Aurora Jewellery – NEW

Little Shop of Cheese

Polkadot of Winslow

Waddesdon Deli Company

JM Walman (Quality Butcher)

Tony Pearce – Plants

Piddington Bakers

In addition to these, we’ll have the General Store and Beer Stall, with products from:

Cornfield Bakery

Islip Mill Honey – NEW

Jacobs Field Lavender

Jim and Jules Big Adventure

The Littlecote Soap Co.

Oxfordshire Ales

Vale Brewery Co.

XT Brewing Co. (XT 9 – Black IPA is new for 2014)

And, of course, there’ll be our popular

Secondhand Bookstall

And our special event for children:

Mad Hatter’s Corner (Creative craft table for children – with competition to design a mad hat or mask)

As it’ll be Mother’s Day soon (on 30th March), we’ll be putting together some gorgeous little Mother’s Day gifts featuring products from the Littlecote range in jute gift bags.

VH signBy the way, if you’re in Piddington in the morning of 3oth March, the Village Hall is opening for another Lazy Sunday. The breakfasts are delicious – bacon or mushroom baps, croissants, egg or beans on toast, and plenty of tea and coffee. There’ll be Sunday papers to read too. Why not come along (with or without an accompanying mum!) and see what’s happening? You might even hear some gossip!

Specially for children: Mad Hatter’s Corner

Another Pantt partyry meeting last night, and the ideas were coming thick and fast for our Mad March Market – some slightly madder than others, it has to be said.

Only the Coffee Shop volunteers know (and they’re not saying) just how they’ll be interpreting the theme of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

But one idea we did put some thought into was having an activity at the market that would interest children. So we came up with …

Mad Hatter’s Corner

A space where children can get crafty making their own Mad March hat, or mask, or whatever their imagination comes up with.

Craft materials and equipment will be provided, and there’ll be a competition to find the best creation.

Children can enter on the day – all entrants will get a small prize – and there’ll be two age categories: Under 11 and 11-16.

The judging will take place at 1.30 pm – at the same time as the raffle draw.

So you can shop the stalls and have a coffee break in the knowledge that the youngsters will be happily occupied with scissors and glue – and someone else will be clearing up after them!

hare mask