The Market Year - November
Welcome to the November edition of the Market Year. The clocks have gone back, we are heading into short days and cold nights and we all crave a little comfort from the kitchen. Choose colourful and tasty dishes for this the grey and gloomy month. Red, orange, green, white and purple vegetables coupled with warming and stimulating spices will keep up your spirits and are great for sharing with friends and family. As the first frosts sweeten the parsnips, colder waters make for high-quality fish and seafood - with the drop in temperature a wider range of fish becomes available.
This is also the month to plan and place orders for Christmas – birds and joints, vegetables and fruit, pies, cheese and cakes, as well as lot of seasonal treats. Collect your orders at the December Food Markets at the Market Tower on Friday December 20th and Christmas Eve morning.
Photograph: Carlotta Luke
As a small boy Chris Veasey was drawn to the shingle beach across the road from his home in Eastbourne by the bustle of boats, nets and local fishermen, who launched their boats straight off the beach into the Channel. Entranced by this new world, he spent time with them during the school holidays, became involved as a young helper - and soon the sea had got him for life. So, when he was 15, his parents bought him his own tiny boat. He rowed out to sea, dropped anchor, started to fish and didn't look back.
Chris successfully fished for many years from Eastbourne, owning a number of boats and sailing as far afield as Poole Bay. Currently he owns a 10-metre catamaran called Le Belhara. Chris fishes for shellfish such as crab and lobster using pots, and catches seasonal fish with gill nets and drift nets - no trawling.
Three years ago, Chris opened his own fishmonger's shop in Forest Row; for this he was awarded the prestigious Sussex Food and Drink Awards for a food shop in 2012/13. He has been nominated again this year. Chris believes that his success is due to not only the boats but to his Forest Row shop manager, Dan Howes. “Customers come not only to buy the freshest fish from the fisherman, but to get great recipes from Dan - he spent 10 years as a chef in Sussex.”
Catching his own fish means Chris can sell at reasonable prices. “The costs of buying in at wholesale prices are just prohibitive – this way, selling only retail, I can keep up the supply to my customers and bring them the best catch.” Chris voices an often-heard complaint about the legislators of the fishing world: “They have absolutely no first-hand experience of the sea and fishing.” One suspects he would relish the chance to take a couple of DEFRA officers out into the waves with him on a gusty Autumn day!
More of Carlotta Luke's photographs of Veasey and Sons Fishmongers are here...
Chris employs a skipper and two crew for his boat but is still at his happiest on the few days a week when he skippers her himself. “I'm not a shopkeeper, I am still a fisherman,” he says with a grin.
In Season Now
Red, white and green cabbages, chard, kale, onions, leeks, beetroot, carrots, squashes, potatoes, parsnips and pumpkins, swede and celeriac, jerusalem artichokes, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, apples, sloes, quince and pears, lamb, pork, pheasant, venison, sea bass, gurnard, hake, haddock, Dover sole, mussels, crab, lobster and oysters, brill, plaice, whiting and herring.
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.