Local Lincolnshire – The Spice Market
If you read my post on stretching your food budget that little bit further you would have picked up that I’m a fan of our local market. I’m also keen on supporting local businesses and that extends to all things food wise.
In an occasional series, I will be highlighting local producers and suppliers that I use. If you’d like to know more about the thinking behind this then have a peek at the Local Lincolnshire page.
This time I’m focusing on the stall where I buy my spices and dried fruit. Run by Lynn and Stuart, a husband and wife team, The Spice Market is a fixture at Grantham market but can also be found at Spalding and Stamford. My parents have been regulars at the stall for years and I’ve used them since I moved back up here. I’ve always been very impressed with both the quality of their products and their knowledge. Not to mention that they are incredibly friendly and lovely people. They take the time to get to know their customers and can offer a really personal service.
Lynn tells us how the stall came about: “I really started the stall for two reasons. When we first got married way back in 1983, I became interested in cooking with dried pulses, nuts and dried fruit. We were not vegetarian but enjoyed having a few meat free days. We also became aware that there was a gap in the market to sell these sorts of things. I didn’t have full time work and it would be the sort of thing that could be carried on if we had children”
Over time the range that Lynn and Stuart carry has changed considerably “To start with there were no spices on the stall! We sold dried fruit, nuts, rice and pulses. We listened to what people were asking for and gradually increased our range. At Grantham and Spalding for the first 3 or 4 years we only had one 10ft stall (we now have 3 x 10ft) so we have grown quite a lot. We used to come to the market in a car with a trailer on the back. Now we are white van people.
I can’t really remember how soon it was before we had herbs and spices. We had a pegboard at the end of the stall with about 30 different types of herbs & spices on it – the pegboard got too small!
Our products are brought from just a few wholesalers who are reliable and have good quality ranges. The honey we sell is our own. Stuart started keeping bees about 12 years ago; we thought it would tie in well with the rest of our products and we now have about 15 hives. The rapeseed oil we stock is from Fulbeck, so very local as well”
Lynn and Stuart have noticed a huge difference not just in what we cook but in who is doing the cooking “I think we all use a lot more spices, not just when we entertain but in our everyday cooking. Men are definitely cooking more – retired men and newly married men. They now come up with their shopping lists on their iphones. They know exactly what they need and are very easy to serve!
Moroccan spices are very popular at the moment. Raz el hanout is a blend that is popular but was unheard of not that many years ago. Cooking a curry is still at the top I would say, but people will do them with all the individual spices now.
The customers have changed a bit but they are also different at each of the markets we go to. We are getting a much younger customer coming to us in Grantham, some want advice and some know what they want. A lot of Grantham customers have been coming to us from our early days which is pleasing – they must like what we sell, us or both! Spalding is more retired people and mums with young children. Stamford (which is our more recent market) is a mix of core regulars and new visitors every week”.
Lynn and Stuart can be found manning The Spice Market at Grantham, Stamford and Spalding markets. They also provide an online service, posting all over the country, have a blog and can be found on twitter.