10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market

The first time I visited London’s Borough Market, I remember coming back home empty handed.

There was simply too much to take in, too many possibilities in front of me and I couldn’t make a choice.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

The first time I visited Barcelona’s world-famous Boqueria market, the same thing happened.

And then, right before Bastille Day, I was lucky enough to attend a private tour of the Borough market with demo chef Luke Robinson, who showed us around and shared his top tips to shop around the market.

And that’s when it hit me: buying produce at the farmers’ market is not as obvious as it appears and a few farmers’ market tips go a long way to find the best produce and make the most of your trip!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

1. Go early

The early bird gets the worm. This is especially true at the farmers’ market.

The crowds much more sparse, produce is fresher when it hasn’t sit in the sun/cold for a few hours and you’ll also avoid the risk of the produce you really wanted to have run out.

So check the opening hours, take a big nice latte along and head on down early & bright!

2. Plan ahead

Whether you want to go all in by doing all the meal planning heavy-lifting ahead of your farmers’ market trip is entirely up to you. If you go for this option, make sure you compile (and take to the market!) a grocery list.

One thing you definitely want to think about beforehands though is the quantity of produce you’ll need and whether any impulse buy is a good idea.

How much will you’ll cook that week? How many people are you feeding? Do you want to (and can you) freeze any leftovers or will they need to be eaten soon?

Asking yourself those questions will help you make sure you buy enough food without wasting any of it.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

3. Shop around

At the market, it’s quite often the case that a few stalls offer the same type of produce.

If that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to take a stroll around to check for freshness, quality and prices before you start shopping.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

4. Follow the seasons

One of the main advantages of shopping at the market is the availability of fresh, local, seasonal produce.

It’s no secret that seasonal produce tastes better and, more often than not, is cheaper than out of season alternatives.

But while we’re all roughly aware of fruit & vegetable season, fish, meat and even flowers (!) have seasons too, and markets’ merchants are always happy to show you what’s good at any point in time.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

5. Trust the queues…

Most farmers’ market rely on regulars’ customs.

Which means the people around you most likely know their way around the market, and therefore know who has the best meat/fish/vegetable/bread…

6. … And your nose!

When it comes to finding the best produce, your nose is your best friend.

Fish shouldn’t smell fishy. Fruit, especially berries, melons and tomatoes should be fragrant. And I am still to meet anyone who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread…

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

7. When in doubt, ask!

Farmers’ market merchants are knowledgeable professionals and you should absolutely make the most of it.

Want to know what’s truly sensational this week? Unsure about which cut of meat to choose or how to cook it? Not sure you can quite fillet a fish on your own?

Don’t be shy and ask way! You’ll be surprise how much helpful advice, useful services and inspiration you’ll get that way.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

8. Don’t be scared to try something new

While you should definitely not buy each and every alien thing you see at the market, a little something new here and there never hurt anybody (and absolutely helps keeping the creative juices flowing!).

Heirloom varieties, uncommon produce, rare spices, there are many ways to think outside the box and you should take full advantage of it!

9. Look out for special events

On top of their regular schedule, some markets also hold special events that are always worth taking a look at.

From weekly cooking demos (if you’re ever near the Borough market on a Thursday…) and tours, to annual events and Christmas specials, make sure you keep an eye out for those as they’ll allow you to see your local market with fresh eyes!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

10. Always reward yourself with some celebratory baked goods!

Because let’s face it, if you don’t come home with a freshly-baked all-butter croissant, a crunchy baguette or a bag of artisan doughnuts, have you even really been to the farmers’ market?

What’s your top tip to make the most of a trip to the market? Answer on a croissant-filled brown paper bag or in the comments below!

More London adventures & tips

A local’s guide to Angel Islington

5 things to do in London before summer is over

30 regional French dishes you must try (& where to eat them in London)

What to do in London when it rains

Exploring London’s Bankside

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10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market

New Covent Garden Flower Market

The early bird gets the worm prettiest blooms.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

At least, that’s how the saying goes at the New Covent Garden Flower Market.

With 21 wholesalers and 10 florists under one roof, supplying 75% of London florists, the trade-centric market is a flower lover’s dream come true.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Home to the finest flower suppliers, the market offers the widest selection of the freshest flowers, plants, foliage and sundries.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Fields of rainbow-coloured blooms everywhere you look.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Boxes upon boxes of heaven-scented, British-grown wonders.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Pastel-coloured hydrangea clouds.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Provence-worthy fields of French lavender.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Walls of greenery of all sorts, ready for eager green-thumbed gardeners to plant.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Many a lily of the valley bit.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

The prettiest, barely-blooming peonies I ever did see.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Some more quirky choices, like these vibrant artichoke flowers!


And walls of the prettiest faux flowers, for those from you who like me can’t even keep a cactus alive…

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

Recently relocated to a new spot down Nine Elms from its previous home, New Covent Garden Flower Market is the ultimate spot to get the prettiest flowers at the very best value.

New Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + WhiskyNew Covent Garden Flower Market, London ● Cake + Whisky

A must visit for florists, hotel managers, eager gardeners and brides-to-be alike.

Or you know, anyone wanting to treat themselves/their loved ones to a home filled with pretty blooms.

No matter why you go, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be going home empty handed!

New Covent Garden Flower Market, Nine Elms Ln, London SW8 5BH – 8:30am to 10:00am, Monday to Saturday 

(Google Maps doesn’t seem to have registered the change of address just yet though, so if you plan on heading to New Covent Garden Flower Market, your best bet is to locate the Nine Elms Booker store as the entrance to the market is just across the street.)

New Covent Garden Flower Market

Brunch at Market Restaurant, Camden

In my world, Saturday is brunch day.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of fantastic places for this in London.

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

The latest of my discoveries is Market restaurant, a lovely no-nonsense farm-to-table little place right by Camden Town station.

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

It’s a small, cosy restaurant with blasted brick walls, zinc-topped tables & an open kitchen that knows it’s way ’round the brunch classics.

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Starting with loads of tea (and a little bit of coffee).

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on (remarquably excellent) toast.

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Salt beef hash with fried duck egg and caramelised onions.

Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky Brunch at Market restaurant, Camden | Cake + Whisky

Incredibly fluffy buttermilk pancakes with hot berry mix, vanilla crème fraiche and maple syrup.

There were also Eggs Florentine thrown in somewhere, but it looks like I didn’t manage to capture them in all their glorious simplicity!

With quality, wholesome food made using the freshest seasonal produce, Market restaurant is absolutely the place, and no matter what you choose from the short but perfectly formed brunch menu, you’ll be in for an egg-ceptional start to the day!

You might want to book a table though, as it’s quite small and (unsurprisingly) fills up quickly!

Race you there? 3…2…1… BRUNCH!

Market restaurant, 43 Parkway, Camden NW1 7PN

Brunch at Market Restaurant, Camden

Borough Market

You’d have to give a lot of money to miss out on the opportunity to explore a market.

A trip to a foreign supermarket is always one of the things I look most forward to when abroad on holiday, and I always come back with suitcases full of spices, sauces, sweets and other local specialities.

If anything, I like markets even more.

Especially one as epic as Borough Market.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

If you’re a foodie, Borough Market is really close to the idea you have of heaven.

They have everything you could possibly wish for.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky Ted's Veg | Cake + Whisky

Beetroot | Cake + Whisky

Mushrooms season is my favourite! | Cake + Whisky

From fruit and vegetables stalls, pilled high with the most gorgeous produce the season has to offer…

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… to mountains of cheese

Ortiz tuna cans | Cake + Whisky

Jam | Cake + Whisky

Mountain Spice, London | Cake + Whisky

Mountain Spice, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… along with some excellent deli products…

Eggs | Cake + Whisky

Brindisa, London | Cake + Whisky

… a few essentials (if you don’t think Iberico ham is essential, you’ve clearly never been to Brindisa!) …

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

… and piles of fresh bread, still warm from the oven.

And the best part is, you get to taste it all!

You can truly make a meal out of nibbling your way through the stalls.

But if you’re feeling quite peckish, Borough Market is also home to some of London’s best street food stalls.

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Brindisa, London | Cake + Whisky

Borough Market, London | Cake + Whisky

Paella | Cake + Whisky

Raclette, hog roast, sandwiches, paella or Asian food, the only difficulty (as usual) is to choose!

London's best doughnuts: Bread Ahead | Cake + Whisky

Turkish Delights | Cake + Whisky

Macarons | Cake + Whisky

But whatever you go for in the end, make sure you save some room for dessert! 

Maybe save some for me as well?

Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL

Borough Market