Slow Food London members braved the cold and snow to celebrate Terra Madre Day, 10 December 2010, with an early morning visit to New Covent Garden Market.
They toured the famous 57 acre Nine Elms market with Ruth Holbrook and Zeenat Anjari of the Covent Garden Market Authority.
“I enjoyed meeting like-minded food enthusiasts, and hearing about how a ‘proper’ market works”, said Lucy Wallwork. “It was well worth getting up for” Wine expert Gilbert Winfield echoed this sentiment: “I discovered vegetables I did not know existed”, he said.
Participants saw at first hand how the 800 year old market carries out its function as the largest fresh food market in the UK, and as a vital link in London’s food chain. Some 40% of the fresh fruit and vegetables eaten in London, outside the home, comes from the Market.
Miriam Jacob, Slow Food London’s membership secretary, was also enthusiastic. “The produce looked wonderful, it was put out attractively and looked so fresh”, she said. “The range was tremendous with seasonal English vegetables in all shapes and sizes as well as exotics from abroad”.
Ruth went on to explain plans for redevelopment of the market, which is currently seeking a private development partner to replace its 1970s infrastructure with modern facilities for its tenants.
Proposals also call for reaching out to individual Londoners, through a retail area to be called “The Market at New Covent Garden Market”. This is intended to make it much easier for the public to access the market in future.
“It really is something you should see!” was Miriam’s final comment.