Undy is the newest of Monmouthshire’s Farmers Markets, but is already building a strong reputation and attracting some good producers.
Started only last Autumn the market is going from strength to strength and, operating on the last Saturday of the month, in the South of the county fills a gap very well.
It had taken a while for me to get there but when I did I was far from disappointed.
The Community Hall is small but had a real buzz about it even though I arrived later than many. Perhaps the new hall, with a site already designated will be a chance to expand even further and provide a real destination market.
Outside Graham Waddington of Native Breeds was grilling burgers, bacon and sausages from his own supply and was virtually sold out as market growers grabbed a special breakfast.
The nice thing about a new market is that different suppliers are there amongst the old faithfuls.
Burren Bakery (@claddaghgal) was next to Elmtree Foods (@elmtreefoods) and virtually stripped of stock though I did get some of Roisin’s Brownies and Collette’s Pork Pies and a quiche for a late lunch. The Pork Pies had a pepperiness to them which enhanced the pork and gave a deep savoury bite whilst the Brownie was crisp yet gooey, rich but light. I was able to offer Roisin a piece of Soda Bread made with my own Buttermilk which seemed to be appreciated and, coming from a brilliant baker, that appreciation was well received.
At the far end of the hall Barbara Warren had Lamb on offer at £63 for a half lamb and , were it not for my allergy to lamb fat I would have snapped it up. Provenance is all important and knowing Barbara’s operation at Court Bleddyn Farm, above Trevethin in Pontypool, I can vouch for the quality of her meats - be they Pork, Lamb or Beef.
As it was, though Lamb was the main focus of her stall on the day, Barbara also had a “secret” cooler full of Pork and I was able to obtain a nice Pork Loin which roasted up a treat the following day!
Vegetables from Whitebrook Organics helped in the Sunday Lunch with the Jerusalem Artichokes roasted alongside Parsnips and Potatoes, whilst Carrots, Broccoli and Peas provided a dash of colour and Apple Sauce and a Sage and Onion Stuffing meant that the plates were fully loaded.
The Parsnipship have a range of vegetarian dishes available but I was not tempted as this was a rather carnivorous market trip.
One of the new suppliers at Undy was Native Breeds. Graham and Ruth Waddington set up their charcuterie business having previously been part of the Trealy Farm organisation and bring a subtle difference to their produce.
Whilst Graham was toiling over a hot grill outside Ruth had the stall inside. Smoked Chicken and Pastrami would a week of tasty salads and sandwiches, whilst a beautifully smooth Boudin Noir begged for good rashers and eggs or inclusion in a Cassoulet style dish. The little tasters before buying and the obvious knowledge of the product and its origins are part of what makes Market shopping special and so far removed from Supermarkets and even some ‘specialist’ shops!
As I said we were later than usual getting out and this worked very much to our advantage as I was offered the last four pots of Native Breeds’ Vanilla Pannacotta made with Jersey milk at a very reasonable price – they went on to form the basis of the aforementioned Sunday Lunch with a little sliced Mango and Papaya and a dusting of home-made Praline.
Of course a good meal demands Coffee and Petit fours to finish so it was great to see the Fudge Fairy had a stall there despite also having a shop nearby. In real life the Fudge Fairy is Helen Beveridge who makes some of the smoothest fudge I have ever tasted and sells it in markets and from her own retro sweet shop in Undy. The Vanilla and White Chocolate and the Lemon Meringue varieties were tasted and formed part of the coffee and petit four course for the lunch.
One variety with Welsh Whisky Liqueur was definitely reserved for the traditional St David’s Day meal as it had been made especially for that event. Helen will have a stall in the Hayes in Cardiff from 1st to 3rd March as part of the St David’s celebrations and will undoubtedly have all three of the varieties that I bought and many others as well.
Though we had arrived late Undy Farmers Market still had all the ingredients we wanted and will definitely become a regular destination for us. It showcases some of the superb products of Monmouthshire and the immediate surrounds which makes it undoubtedly Local and Great.
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