The Pantry group’s first meeting of the year is always a buzzy occasion.
It’s a chance to debrief after the previous market – to mull over what went well and what was less successful, and think about how we can improve things next time. And it’s also when we look into our crystal balls and pick what we hope will be the best dates for the coming year’s markets.
Of course, we have to make sure that key people won’t be otherwise engaged – the date for the spring market was finalised only after a quick phone call to a rather startled parent that began ‘I’m in a meeting … when are we on holiday?’ But we also try to pick dates that, from previous experience, will encourage the most people to come along.
The Christmas and spring markets are always well attended, the summer and autumn ones less so. We’ve therefore decided that, like last year, we’ll just hold three markets this year, on the following dates:
Any changes to these dates will be posted in this blog.
We look forward to seeing you!
Here’s a roll call of who is coming to The Pantry Spring Market!
Common Leys Farm: New to The Pantry, the farm shop of this well-known local working farm with accommodation and restaurant is selling home produced pies, sausages and burgers.
Gaia Products: If you sampled Vasiliki Ntavertzani’s mouthwatering Greek food at last summer’s Pantry, you’ll know how wonderful it is. If not, you really do need to try it, including her fabulous homemade Greek pastries and health-giving pine and thyme honey, from bees kept by her family in Delphi. And this time, she’ll be selling delicious homemade moussaka, baklava, tzatziki and ‘Greek delight’. Vass is happy for people to order items in advance and collect at the market. Contact her on 07772454411 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GladBags: Handmade bags for all occasions, created by Alison Court entirely out of recycled, reclaimed and rescued fabrics. Only the snappers are new!
Horton Accessories: Chris Cox’s fine-quality accessories are always very popular at The Pantry.
Needle & TED: Vicky Hedger’s handmade tablet and ereader cushions.
Open Air Foods: Another first-timer at The Pantry, this specialist artisan food retailer and catering company champions the handmade and homemade over machines and mass production, and will be offering artisan cheese, home-marinaded olives and other unique items.
Piddington Bakers: Village community stall selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes. All profits are in aid of St Nicholas’s Church fabric fund.
Alex Simmons: A Piddington resident, Alex sells an eclectic variety of home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tea light holders to reindeer hides.
Tony’s Plants: Beautiful plants propagated by Maggie and Tony, who live in the village.
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.
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. Jenni is married to …
Richard Walker Photography: Richard is a photographer who will be selling mounted and framed prints, cards and calendars featuring his work.
Ann Winsome Crafts
In addition, we’ll have two stalls offering information:
Gigaclear: An Oxfordshire-based company who have brought high-speed fibre optic broadband to several villages in the area. They are keen to do the same for Piddington and will be able to answer your questions in an informal setting.
Piddington’s Community-Led Plan: What is it? Why are we doing it? How can I get involved? Find out everything you wanted to know about our new CLP but were afraid to ask.
As well as all these stalls you’ll find the …
General Store: All your favourites, including products from Just Biscuits, Little Shop of Cheese, Cornfield Bakery, Jim and Jules, Rosemary’s Jams, and more.
Beer Stall: Local ales from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery Co. and XT Brewing Co. Tasters available. Make up your own case of ales. Or just come and say hello to Andrew and Ian.
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.
Pantry Raffle: Fantastic prizes! Make sure you buy a ticket!
And last but certainly not least …
The Coffee Shop: Homemade cakes from the Piddington Bakers, croissants and pain-au-chocolat from the Cornfield Bakery, legendary bacon and mushroom paninis and baps and more, all served up with frightening efficiency by the dazzling duo of Maggie and Karen and a crack team of volunteers.
So here it is, the final list of stalls at The Pantry Christmas Market!
As usual, there’s a mixture of old friends and exciting newcomers – not to mention some stallholders who are certainly both. You should recognise a few familiar Piddington faces among people who are taking a stall for the first time.
I hope to feature at least some of these in more detail over the coming week, but for now, in alphabetical order, we have …
Zena Ashdown: A firm favourite at The Pantry, Zena offers a fantastically affordable range of gorgeous handbags and baskets
The Beer Stall: Local ales from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery Co. and XT Brewing Co. Tasters are of course available, served enthusiastically by the ace team of Ian and Andrew. Why not choose from our selection and make up your own mixed case of ales – for yourself or as a gift?
Jennie Bosher: Cushions, knitted toys, cot blankets and more
Kathy Chalk: Individually designed decorative glass pieces. Offering unique gifts and decorations, Kathy’s stall was very popular last Christmas
Christmas Lights: Assorted lights to make your home sparkle
Debbie’s Home Cooked Food: Another very popular stallholder at The Pantry, Debbie produces ‘proper’ home-cooked food using local ingredients. If you’d like to order in advance to collect at the market, Debbie is happy for you to contact her on 01296 770196 or 07966 148130 or email email@example.com. Her website shows what is available
Event and Party Essentials: Lots of great Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, plus ideas to make your party go with a bang (or a bong – ask at the stall!). Lynda has supported village events and initiatives for many years, so do come along and support her own brand new venture – and add some fun to your Christmas preparations too
Forever Living: Range of aloe vera products, including Christmas hampers
Horton Accessories: Chris will once again be offering his range of fine-quality accessories for ladies, gentlemen and the home – you may find the ideal gift for that chap who is so difficult to buy for!
The Piddington Bakers: This village community stall selling delicious homemade cakes and bakes needs no introduction. Go on, treat yourself! All profits are in aid of St Nicholas’ Church fabric fund
Alex Simmons: A first-timer as a stallholder at The Pantry and a resident of Piddington, Alex is selling a hand-picked range of beautiful and eclectic home accessories and gifts, from ceramic tea light holders to reindeer hides
Liz Tagert: Another Piddington villager and first-timer at our market, Liz will be offering household goods, including kitchen wares, ceramic storage jars and lanterns
Waddesdon Deli Company: It’s hard to imagine The Pantry without Sandy and her stall packed with delicious home cured and smoked produce, cheeses and more. If you sample some of her products, it’s guaranteed you’ll want to take them home with you!
Richard Walker Photography: A newcomer to The Pantry, Richard is a photographer who will be selling mounted and framed prints, cards and calendars featuring his work. Richard is married to …
Jenni Walker (The Hat Hire Company): Another very popular stallholder at The Pantry, who’ll be bringing her collection of seasonal fashion accessories and contemporary jewellery
Toys: Lots of children’s toys at bargain prices, including plenty of stocking fillers
As well as all these stalls you’ll find …
The Pantry Raffle
Fantastic prizes include:
- a round of golf for four plus spa session at Bicester Golf Club
- a ladies handbag from Zena Ashdown
- a car valet worth £17
- a Christmas hamper
- six bottles of local ale
- a bottle of vodka
Make sure you buy a ticket!
The General Store
All your favourites, including products from Just Biscuits, Little Shop of Cheese, Cornfield Bakery, Jim and Jules (including a new batch of Piddington Christmas Chutney made from Piddington apples!), Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jams, Littlecote Soap Co., Jacobs Field Lavender and more. There’ll be lots of special offers and Christmassy gift packs of toiletries and foodie delights. And once again we’ll be offering ‘A Piddington Pair’ – a jar of Piddington Christmas Chutney paired with a jar of Rosemary’s Hedgerow Jam in a ready labelled gift bag – which proved so popular last year. Or why not make up your own hamper from the tempting array of goods on offer?
And last but certainly not least …
The Coffee Shop
Homemade cakes from the Piddington Bakers, croissants and pain-au-chocolat from the Cornfield Bakery, legendary bacon and mushroom baps and now the SUPERBAP (it’s even BIGGER, with THREE rashers of bacon in a whole ciabatta!), hot chocolate with marshmallows and more, all served up with frightening efficiency by the dazzling duo of Maggie and Karen and a crack team of volunteers
By the way, all the images in this post are taken from various Pantry markets over the years. If you appear in one of them and would prefer not to, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure your photo is removed.
Thank you to all those people who made it through the rain to join us at what we think was one of the best markets so far. Despite the almost biblical torrents, not to mention the many other local events going on at the same time, villagers and people from further afield stoutly stomped through the storms to enjoy the summery delights of The Pantry.
And a huge thank you, too, to all our doughty volunteers for their hard work setting up and putting away the market, including putting up the marquees in the sweltering heat on Friday (and for improvising gutters between them in anticipation of the deluge to come!) and for turning up and helping on the day.
We’ve had a couple of lovely emails, one from a visitor and one from a stallholder, both saying what a lovely atmosphere the market had, and what friendly people they’d met. I know there are a lot of community and farmers’ markets around these days, but it really does seem as though we have something a bit special here.
I felt extremely sorry for the chap selling Bradshaws Farm Ice Cream from his trailer in the car park, outside the main hall. On a sunny day, he’d have done a roaring trade. But there was plenty of interest in our other new stallholders, Emma Arnold (Blue Hydrangea), with her fascinating range of handmade pieces, and Vasiliki Ntavertzani, who presided over a table of mouthwatering Greek delights, including the most delicious homemade Greek pastries (oh, that heavenly baklava!) and pine and thyme honey, from bees kept by her family in Delphi. (Contact details: 07772 454 411; email@example.com) Vasiliki has sent us this photo of the family beehives – if you bought a pot of honey from her on Saturday, this is where it comes from!
Finally, as we slowly start to recover from the summer market, we have already started planning our autumn event. We’re quite excited about this, as we’re hoping to do something a little different this time. Local food and drink will still be involved, of course, but with a twist. I’ll let you know more later, when plans are a little more advanced …
In the meantime, have a great summer!
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, 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.
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 small 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?
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?
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.