The Market Year - July
Welcome to the July edition of the Market Year. Despite the unsettled weather, our growers are bringing more summer foods to our tables. The new potatoes, peas and beans are full of flavour and the fresh herbs and salads make an ordinary meal a feast. A bumper crop of fruit is promised this year so after the green gooseberries and fragrant strawberries, look out for red, white and blackcurrants. The first cherries from nearby Kent also make their appearance now with Sussex fruit soon to follow.
Photograph: Carlotta Luke
John Mountford, known locally as Bacon John, has been a butcher since he was a teenager and now produces some of the best dry cured bacon you will ever taste. Every Friday he brings his excellent value sliced bacon and bacon joints to sell at the Lewes Food Market.
John was born in Shoreham, but grew up in Crowborough. He now lives in Hailsham and has his smoker nearby in Wilmington. John is proud of his workplace which has earned a 5 star health and safety rating. He is proud too of the fact that his bacon, smoked and green (the traditional name for un-smoked) is additive-free.
It takes John 10 days to cure his bacon in salt and muscovado sugar. It is then air-dried with no other additives. Most of the cured pork is then smoked over oak for 36 hours. His popular smoked bacon gets its natural colour from the smoking process with no dyes added. The bacon meat is then trimmed or sliced and vacuum-packed ready for sale. John‘s strong roots in the area have given him good connections with local farms. Most of his pork comes from just one farm with other free-range pigs being raised on some of the old cider apple orchards at Horam, home of the famous Sussex Merrydown cider.
In addition to our market, John has a regular stall at all the local farmers markets including Heathfield, Lewes, Uckfield, Crowborough and Hailsham. And if you miss him on Friday, you can stock up on his bacon and delicious pork sausages on Sunday morning at the market, behind Waitrose, here in Lewes. John is always ready to take on private commissions where he will take pigs from a small-holding and process them to order. But you certainly don’t have to own your own pig to enjoy some of the best bacon in Sussex. Just turn up to the Market Tower on Fridays!
More of Carlotta Luke's photographs can be found here...
In Season Now
Beetroot, carrots, new potatoes, fennel, onions, broad beans and peas. Lettuce, chard, spinach and salad leaves. Strawberries, gooseberries, cherries and early currants. Green herbs, spring onions and radishes. Lamb and hogget, crab, mackerel, plaice and sea trout.
Seasonal Recipes by Polly Senter
Lewes Food Market is run by Lewes Local Community Interest Company. It was founded to give the people of Lewes, and visitors, a unique opportunity to buy locally sourced fresh food products direct from the producers on a weekly basis.
Details of all the Lewes Food Market traders here...
See www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for help with wasting less food.
See www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk for exciting food news.
By buying local and eating food in season we are supporting and encouraging our local food producers. We can help them survive and multiply so that we are not so dependent on importing most of our food. With rising fuel costs, climate change affecting crops and constant international conflicts, importing is a risky business which can easily break down.