I have worked for London Farmers Markets in some capacity for the last seven years, running markets, promoting new ones, auditing producers. Indulging my passion for local and seasonal produce, and getting to know small artisan producers has given me immense pleasure (as customer and employee) over the years. And even once diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2007, I still found that most of the natural and seasonal produce on offer was safe for me to eat.
However, there was a gap in the market in my selfish opinion; specific gluten free products. A few traders offered flourless cakes or desserts, but the risk of cross contamination was too high. As the high street restaurants and retailers have seen the opportunity in free from food, as too have the dedicated tiny team at LFM. But, the difference here is their standards as a basic entry requirement, before they even consider the gluten free element:
- All produce sold by any trader at a certified London Farmers Marker must be made, grown, gathered or produced by the person who sells it.
- Nothing should be bought in if it can be made. This includes pastry, compotes, sausages, meringues
- All eggs must be free range and regional.
- As many ingredients as humanly possible must be English, and sourced from local /regional producers where possible. Exceptions include coffee, chocolate and spices for example.
- They support sustainable production, traditional and heritage breeds and all producers must operate within 100miles of the M25.
So you can imagine the lenghts a gluten free producer has gone to get a LFM pitch?! Not only are they safe for coeliacs, but they are rich in responsibly sourced, seasonal, fair trade ingredients. And I pleased to share with you three new dedicated gluten free producers whom I have had the pleasure of auditing myself:
KEIK – Cordon Bleu trained cooks , these ladies know their ingredients and techniques applying these to create gluten free pastry tarts, cakes and biscuits, each a far cry from ordinary free from foods. Specialities include Salted caramel tart, Seasonal vegetable tarts such as beetroot or pumpkin, seasonal cheesecakes, biscotti, and red velvet cupcakes made with beetroot, 70% chocolate and topped with organic marscapone. Their aim is to not be know as “gluten free” because the products are good in their own right. And then they have a majority of the products certified gluten free by Coeliac UK too.
Find them at Balham Market from 8th June on every second Saturday, with more coming soon.
Hens Kitchen – Henrietta is a passionate cook and coeliac herself, who was keen to bring gluten free products to the markets when she couldn’t find any. She brings a range of products including freshly made gluten free bread, double chocolate marble cheesecake, variety of cookie flavours and a killer chocolate brownie. All made in a dedicated gluten free kitchen, they also specialise in occasion cakes and private catering.
The Free From Bakehouse – Founder Caroline creates cakes, biscuits and treats which are not only gluten free, but many are dairy, sugar and even egg free too. An award winning artisan bakery, dedicated to gluten free baking she showcases seasonal ingredients with products including dairy free brownie topped with criolla cacao nibs, autumnal Parsnip, pear and caramel cake, baked gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake, savoury tarts and muffins alongside classics such as flapjacks, blondies, mini loafs, victoria sandwich and carrot cake – all free from gluten. Plus they can also take orders for celebration cakes.
Find them at Broadgate market once a month.
In addition to these dedicated gluten free artisans, you will also discover heaps of naturally gluten free ingredients and products: sausages, seasonal fruit and veg, foraged ingredients and products, preserves, soups and meals…. Enjoy the abundance.