10 things you didn't know about our farmers market
Thursday, 11th May 2023 by Kerry Rankine
Growing Communities Farmers' Market

Are you a farmers' market regular or only just discovered us? Either way, we've got some surprising facts for you. To mark our 20th birthday we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane and share 10 things you probably didn't know about the market, from its origins to some of the unique individuals and stories that make it a special place. Get ready to learn about snowed-in farmers, market romances, and even a mushroom named after one of the vendors! Read on to discover some hidden gems about the UK's only fully organic farmers' market.

  1. At our first ever market on 3 May 2003, the six farmers and producers sold out by 12.30pm as over 1,200 people squeezed into the yard behind the Old Fire Station. To this day, Growing Communities Farmers' Market remains the only fully organic farmers' market in the UK!
  2. Two of our current traders were at our very first ever market: Ripple Farm and Syd Aston, with the Mushroom Table (William Rooney), Wild Country Organics (Adrian Izzard) and Alison Bond joining soon afterwards. Shopping with us keeps your food miles low - many of our producers live locally in Hackney and all but one of our farms are within 70 miles of London.
  3. At the beginning of the Covid crisis, Growing Communities lobbied Defra and the Mayor’s office to make sure that farmers’ markets including ours were allowed to remain open. In France, all markets including open air markets were shut in the early weeks of the pandemic.
  4. Romance has bloomed at the market over the years: we now have several “market babies", including Mia, aged 7, whose parents Mei and Dan met at the market while he was working on the Ripple Farm stall! In an additional plot twist, Mei, Dan and Mia have recently moved to Taiwan where Mei has set up a pancake stall at a local organic farmers’ market – sing locally sourced butter and eggs.
  5. In February 2009, we had over 20 centimetres of snow fall during the market. Stoic customers and stallholders continued to shop and sit at the café, though we did have to dig some farmers out so they could get home.
  6. Last year the market generated over £750,000 in sales for the farmers and producers.
  7. Farmer Alison Bond, who grows in Essex and comes to the market between May and December, lets her chickens run around in her glasshouses – as they eat pests – before her new planting takes place.
  8. William Rooney, our wonderful mushroom grower at The Mushroom Table, has had a variety of mushroom named after him, Ganoderma lucidium rooney. It was identified and named after William by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
  9. Hook and Son, who sell raw milk from their grass-fed herd, have made the first raw, organic-milk-based ice-cream in the UK. It’s delicious and available at the market! 
  10. Delphine, who runs Soleshare and buys direct from fishers in Hastings and Suffolk every week for the market. is also a Cordon Bleu chef – which is why her fishcakes and smoked fish pâté are so very good.


Looking for guilt-free groceries? Plan your farmers' market visit here.

Author name: 
Kerry Rankine