London really is an amazing city. A city that houses approx. 9 million people, that is crammed with buildings wherever you turn, yet it is full of delightful farms. 10 city farms in fact. So far I've been to 3 of them (Surrey Docks, Mudchute and Hackney) and on Saturday, 1st June 2013, I added no. 4 to my list - Stepney City Farm.
I live in Rotherhithe so was easy peasy for me to get to, two stops on the overground and a 15 minute walk from Shadwell.
Luckily for me, when I arrived I saw a sign which made me very happy...
A farmers market :)
I absolutely love fresh, local produce and a farmers market is definitely is a place to buy it! So I walked in and headed straight to the market to have butchers around (no pun intended!).
I got an idea of what I wanted to buy from the market, but wanted to wander around the farm first and get the bits after I was done.
So off I popped to the farm shop where I brought some food to feed the animals. You had two choices of feed to buy, some for the animals and some for the birds. I went for the animals :)
First on my list was the goats... and they had some kids in there too (just to be clear - not as in children kids, as in bubby goat kids! Phew).
They were awesome!
Next to the goats were the sheep... and some lambs (who I must say were mega cute!).
|Bit of tongue poking action from this sheep!|
See, told you... cute!
They also had plenty of warning signs around for those preggers women amongst the visitors... useful to know and certainly something I wouldn't know if I was with child.
There were also chickens and ducks...
...and some iccle piggy wiggies too...
These piglets even have their own ruin! Very jealous.
I'll be honest, I have no idea what the ruin was from, possible some sort of church.* All I know is that there is a sign to tell those naughty little piggies not to climb on it ;)
* Having spoken with the farm via Twitter, they confirmed that this ruins are a Congregational Church to the south, and a Mansion which became a Baptist College to the north. They also said there will be an archaeological dig on it at some point in July - fingers crossed I'll be able to go to that because it would be AWESOME.
After that I went to visit what I assume is mummy and daddy pig.
|Nothing to see here... just a pig having a drink|
Ma and Pa pig were next to another goat... and this one was pretty cool.
He even gave me his/her hoof at one point asking for more food... awesome trick :)
I liked this goat a lot.
There was Donkeys...
You can see exactly how close to the roads the farm is!
Once I'd fed all the animals I could before the food ran out, I took a look at my hand... blurgh.. lots of animal drool and other stuff I don't wanna think about! So off I popped to wash my hands at one of the many wash stations around the farm (although my only gripe is that there were no paper towels to dry them with).
Up next was a barn...
It had bubby duck and chickens (I think!)...
...guinea pigs (which I believe some are for sale)...
...and crazy geese that were quacking ALL the time :)
There was also a blacksmiths next to the farm cafe, and there were two people hard at work in the heat...
The farm also had quite a large herb and veg garden, and also a plot of quite a few allotments which you were allowed to go to, but with a polite sign to respect other peoples plots - as it should be.
Once I'd done all the exploring, it was time to go back to the farmers market to buy the bits I had my eye on, and get some food as I was starving!! I brought a sausage roll from a stall called Giggly Pig (great name!) which was delicious. I also brought a pack of honey and mustard sausages from them, a loaf of sour dough bread from another stall, and then some fresh apple juice from another.
The farmers market has only been going at the farm for a couple of weeks, but in order for it to continue, there has to be not only a decent footfall, but most importantly people buying products. I am completely up for buying fresh, homemade food from markets such as this. You might be paying a bit more than you would do in a supermarket, but you know where the food has come from! And it's putting money in the hands of true farmers/butchers/bakers (and possibly candlestick makers) rather than the greedy guts that is places like Tesco (who I detest).
If anyone lives within, well anywhere in the East End really, please make a visit to this farm and fabulous farmers market to keep them both going!
Stepney City Farm was a true delight in the middle of a very busy area - crossrail is literally right next door.
Here's what you need to know for your visit - the farm is based at Stepney Way, London E1 3DG, their website is here and they are on Twitter @stepneycityfarm. Nearest stations are Limehouse or Stepney Green which I've read are about a 10 min walk, although I walked from Shadwell (about a 15/20 min walk), but there is a bus that goes from that station to the farm. There must be a bus that goes nearby from Whitechapel too which isn't too far away either.
So what are you all waiting for... go visit today! Well, unless you're reading this on a Monday because that's the only day they're closed... so you'd have a wasted journey, and we wouldn't want that.