Gearing up for the Spring Market

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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!

 

 

B is for … Brand new stallholders

There’ll be four exciting new stallholders on Saturday, offering unique gifts for family and friends – or even yourself!

Colin Nicholls

Colin has been making pots in his garage/studio for more than 30 years and exhibits annually as part of Bucks Art Week. He’ll be bringing ‘domestic’ pottery and porcelain, fired in a gas kiln to 1260-1280 degrees C. All his pieces are dishwashable and microwaveable.

Gail Church

Gail will be bringing wooden rocking horses and wooden toy boxes.

Natalie Roach

Natalie will be bringing driftwood Christmas decorations.

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William Rolls Ceramics

William makes salt-glazed earthenware ceramic sculptures inspired by nature. Specialising in observing dogs, he works quickly to capture the movement, life and essence of his subjects. He includes organic matter such as seaweed, which produces unique results in each firing, so every piece is a one-off. You can see more photos and videos of William creating his sculptures on his Facebook page.

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.

Gearing up for C*******s

I know, I know – we’ve only just had Apple Day and Halloween, and we haven’t had Bonfire Night yet!

But The Pantry People must get busy, finalising stallholders, preparing posters and flyers, and doing all those tasks that need to be ticked off so that the next market is as good and bustling as it can be.

This year, as well as the posters and signs we usually put up, we’ve decided to have a much larger roadside sign that we hope will attract passing traffic to our lovely village market. Keep an eye out for it – and put the date of the Christmas Market in your diary now! We have some fantastic new stallholders and some old favourites – can I just mention log reindeer …?

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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!’

Who’s coming?

 

OK, here’s the roll call of stallholders who’ll be at this year’s Summer Market. There are several new people as well as your old favourites, so come along and say hello.

Carrie Crafts: Cas Mortimer’s retro sweet inspired jewellery, soaps, candles & shabby chic gifts NEW

Flooseymoo Jewellery: Caroline King’s handmade silver & semi-precious gemstone jewellery

Forever Living: Jennifer Ratcliff will be selling aloe vera products NEW

GladBags: Handmade bags for all occasions, created by Alison Court entirely out of recycled, reclaimed and rescued fabrics

Horton Accessories: Chris Cox’s fine-quality accessories for ladies, gentlemen and the home

Kim’s Jewels: Jewellery, scarves and accessories

Made in Wendy’s House: Wendy Sommerford’s handcrafted items

Nana Bebe: Simone Schumann’s handmade baby headbands and hair clips NEW

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

Piddington Bakers: Village community stall selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes in aid of St Nicholas’s Church

Piddington Cottage Garden Plants: Plants grown by Maggie and Tony Pearce, mostly propagated from plants in their own garden

Usborne Books at Home: Amanda Corking will be selling a range of children’s books NEW

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

We also have the following regular attractions …

Beer Stall: Local ales from Vale Brewery Co. and XT Brewing Co.

General Store: Including products from the Cornfield Bakery, Jim and Jules, Shaken Oak Mustard 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: You never know what gems you’ll find. Have a rummage, and see if you can identify what the book group have been reading recently

And last but certainly not least, it’s the …
Coffee Shop: Homemade cakes 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 Queen of the Coffee Shop, Maggie, and her crack team of volunteers

If you haven’t been to The Pantry before, come and see why it’s so popular. If you’re a Pantry regular – I’ll see you at the Coffee Shop!