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.

(Jennie)

I love coming along to The Pantry at Piddington. It’s a great atmosphere and a real social occasion for the community as well as a super market for anyone visiting from further afield. My favourite is the cake stall, I always buy far too many. I have had my Cards and Stationery stall for over 2 years now and have a keen supply of regular customers (who are greatly appreciated). Definitely a permanent fixture in my calendar.

Oh … and the bacon butties are fabulous.

(Paul)

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!

 

 

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A is for … Apple juice and Ale

… both of which can be found at The Pantry Christmas Market this Saturday.

First, for the second year running, we are very proud to offer our own Piddington Village Apple Juice, made exclusively from fruit grown in the village. The apples were all donated by villagers at the Apple Day in October, and, after the Piddington cider makers had filled their containers with sufficient freshly pressed juice to experiment with a 2017 vintage, the remaining apples were all taken to be pressed and bottled for us by Drovers Hill Farm in the Chilterns. Piddington Village Apple Juice makes a wonderful very locally sourced gift. And because it has been properly bottled, the juice has a long shelf-life.

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The Pantry Beer Stall features two new breweries this time: Loddon Brewery, near Reading, and The Shotover Brewing Company in Horspath, just outside Oxford.

From Loddon Brewery we’ll be selling four ales: Ferryman’s Gold (4.8%;
‘Golden, smooth, aromatic and zesty’), Hocus Pocus Old Ale (5.0%;
‘Rich, smooth and ruby in colour’), Hoppit (3.9%;
‘Highly hopped session ale’) and the quite special Night of the Stag (4.4%; ‘Murderously good beer’), brewed especially for an episode of Midsomer Murders of the same name that was filmed at the brewery. (Though the brewery was turned into a cider producer!) You can see some photos of the filming here.

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From The Shotover Brewing Company we have these four beers with an Oxford connection: Trinity (4.2%; ‘A pale gold intensely hoppy beer’), Prospect (3.7%; ‘A session bitter full of hoppy character and flavour’), Scholar (4.5%; A’ classic mid-strength, complex English bitter’) and Oxford Porter (5%; ‘A smooth, rich, dark, flavour packed beer’).

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And from our two regular breweries we’ll have:

From Vale Brewery, Good King Senseless (5.0%; ‘Rich ruby red seasonal ale’), Red Kite (4.3%; ‘Deep red hoppy chestnut bitter’) and Gravitas (4.8%; ‘Single hopped premium pale ale’.

And from XT Brewing Co., Penguin (4.6%; ‘Spiced seasonal ale’), XT 1 (4.2%; ‘Blonde’), XT 4 (3.8%; ‘Mellow amber’) and XT 9 (5.5%; ‘Black ale’).

All these ales and our own apple juice would make a perfect local gift hamper when combined with some other products made in the village or nearby, e.g. Piddington Apple Chutney, Rosemary’s Jams, Oxford Blue Cheese, Islip Mill Honey or Shaken Oak Mustard. You can find them all in the General Store.

We have some interesting new stallholders this time too. I’ll focus on some of them before the market.

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!’

The Pantry Spring Market

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Go Piddington!

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The very first Pantry market, 1 December 2012.

Wow! We have a record number of village people (no, not them) selling their wares at the Christmas market on Saturday 5 December. Please come and support them, and make this a really special third anniversary.

Avon: Jackie Cooper-Smith has been Piddington’s Avon representative for many years, and will be offering a range of toiletries, cosmetics and gifts from this popular and great value range. You’re bound to find plenty of gifts and stocking fillers for all your family and friends as well as something to make you look fabulous throughout the festivities.

c17_christmas_secondaryspotKim’s Jewels: Kim Elliott, who has recently moved to the village, will be selling handmade glass jewellery, along with other costume jewellery, scarves and accessories, all reasonably priced.

Pea Green Designs: Alex White, another Piddington resident, offers an eclectic variety of home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tealight holders to reindeer hides. They are upmarket but keenly priced – I promise you won’t be able to resist buying something, even if it’s just a little silvery bird Christmas decoration. They flew off the stall at the last market – well, not literally!

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Liz Tagert: Liz, who also lives in the village, is selling kitchen wares and home goods.

Of course, there are also the Piddington Bakers, villagers who bake delicious homemade cakes to sell in aid of St Nicholas’s Church fabric fund. As this is for the benefit of the village, The Pantry waives the fee for the stall – so everyone benefits. And we all get to scoff cake.

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As well as Piddington people selling their wares, we also have even more local treats made from the village’s own produce.

You may already be a fan of Piddington Christmas Chutney, made by Jim and Jules from Piddington apples. We’ll be selling this again – and Rosemary (another longstanding Piddington resident) – has made up another collection of her fantastic Hedgerow Jams and Jellies, which she creates using the good things growing around the village.

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Last year, you may have bought these two together – as ‘A Piddington Pair’ – and you’ll be able to do so again. This year, however, you’ll be spoilt for choice, as we’ll also be selling the the range of three Piddington apple juice blends: Piddington Apple Juice, Piddington Apple and Pear Juice and Piddington Apple Juice – Cider Day Blend. The juices have all been pasteurised, so they’ll keep for a long time.

Piddington BlendIf you live in Piddington, you’ll know that the Cider Day Blend (no photograph, as we haven’t collected it from the apple presser/bottler yet) was made with the apples remaining after our first village Apple-pressing Day on 31 October. This event was intended to provide enough juice from apples donated by villagers to produce a trial batch of Piddington Cider.

To say the day was a huge success would be an understatement. It brought people together in an atmosphere of industrious hilarity, the number of apples – and pears – donated was incredible, and the great cider experiment is well under way. You can read more about this new village venture, follow the progress of Tom, Dick, Harry and Dave – and see the incriminating photographs – here.