The Real Farmers Market at the O2 Centre

O2 Famers Market

O2 Famers Market - Credit: Archant

A new market at the centre in Finchley Road has a wealth of fresh and cooked produce on offer

O2 Farmers Market

O2 Farmers Market - Credit: Archant

Alex Kyriacou grew up in Kentish Town but spent his weekends working on the family fruit and veg farm in Hertfordshire.

After years of selling that produce at Farmers’ Markets across North London, he’s brilliantly placed to run his own at the O2 Centre.

“My nickname as school was Farmer Boy,” Alex tells me over a coffee - Monmouth naturally - one Sunday morning at the Finchley Road centre.

There’s a scattering of tables and chairs, a singer performing mellow tunes in the sunshine, and 25 personally selected traders plying their wares at The Real Farmers Market.

“I’ve known some of these producers since I was a kid,” says Alex, a former pupil at Brecknock Primary and Acland Burghley secondary school.

Once a month he’s will join up with a city farm or to bring their animals to this corner of the O2 car park.

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At the opening event, children were delighted to pet goats chickens and donkeys from Kentish Town City Farm.

Alex says educating children about how farmers grow and produce their food is a key aim of his market, as is making good food accessible to all in the community.

A stroll around reveals a great bakery offer including Dalston-based The Dusty Knuckle who provide training and employment to young people caught up in violence and The Flour Station which started out at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Hoxton. With regular stalls at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill farmers markets (run by Alex’s rival London Farmers Market) they are famed for their sourdoughs and cakes, while Popina’s pies pastries and quiches and Miss Muffin’s delicious cup cakes also have stalls here.

We enjoyed a burger and a sausage roll from Parson’s Nose and a harissa chicken box with assorted north African salads from Doukan. Go along for Pate Moi’s freshly made mushroom spread or if you like biltong Limpopo has the full range.

Vegans were making a beeline for Rainforest Creations’ Caribbean tropial raw organic flans and salads.

Elsewhere there’s raw milk from The Happy Cow, a good fish selection from North Seafood, biodynamically grown fruit from Brambletye and Chegworth Valley’s award winning pressed juices and fruit from their family run Kent farm.

Gospel Oak resident Alistair Campbell opened the market earlier this month and said: “There was a fantastic buzz about the place and some wonderful food and drink to buy. There is so much bad news in the world right now and markets like this can act as hubs for the community and bringing people together, especially at a time when communities are divided in so many ways. It is a great addition to the area.”

The Real Farmers Market runs at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road, Sundays 10am - 3pm.