What are your plans for this weekend? If you’re in the vicinity of Gateshead this Saturday (09/07/16) we heartily recommend that you head down to Dunston for the second Staiths Food Market.
Last month, we parked up near the lovely Staiths Café…and promptly discovered that we’d come to the wrong place! But, we had a really pleasant walk along the river to the market. The path is punctuated with lots of little ‘play spots’ with balance beams, and scamble opportunities for the mini-Apprentices, and striking views for the grown-ups. I was also encouraged to see a steady stream of happy looking customers making their way back from the market.
There is a 50p entrance fee for adults, while children are admitted for free. The welcome at the gate was warm and exuberant, and we felt very welcome and excited about what was in store. It was our first visit to the Staiths…
In Talbot Jones family tradition, we walked round the whole market, before making our choices. For its first outing, I was very impressed by the range of stalls there.
In the end we plumped for Scream for Pizza for our main course. We loved the quirky little van, complete with wood-fired oven, and the fairly long queue dimished pretty quickly, as the made-to-order pizzas and cooked to perfection in only a couple of minutes. My Mexicana pizza (tomato sauce, Tex Mex chorizo, medley of chilies, finished with lime-soaked read onions, coriander and sour cream -£5) was so delicious I wished I’d ordered 2, and thought about it for the rest of the day! They happily created a mushroom and olive pizza for the children, which they greatly enjoyed too. We ate on the grass, enjoying the view. If you like your home comforts, you may like to take a blanket or some camping chairs.
For pudding, the Mini-Apprentices were in whole-hearted agreement that they wanted to return to the Emily’s Brownies stall. We purchased 4 for £7 from the really lovely Emily and her very own min-apprentice. We even had a little numeracy lesson among the children and they were very happy to answer my two’s many questions. The brownies were perfect- just the right combination of crunch and goo!
To wash it down we were excited to discover the Ugly Duckling stall. They had big tapped urns of different fruit juices, so you can make your own fruit cocktail juice, according to taste. I filled the glass bottle I was given with orange juice and added generous shots of ginger and lime. It woke me right up! the cold, pressed juices are prepared from fruit and veg destined for the dump, because they are too wonky, ugly or ripe for the supermarkets. What a great initiative to reduce food waste! A bottle cost £2, with a 50p refund on the safe return of the bottle.
There were maybe 20 stalls in total, including bakers, butchers, honey sellers, macaroons, jams and chutneys- something for everyone!
Organisers Liz and Sally were again at the gate, with sincere and heart felt thanks to their visitors. As volunteers for the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, the ladies had the idea of bringing life, visitors- and an artisan market- to the Staiths. Initially built in the 1890s to transport coal to the Tyne, the striking staith is believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe. Having fallen into disrepair, and subsequently suffering fire damage, it was finally reopened to the public last summer. It’s therefore a great opportunity to visit this iconic landmark and see it up close for yourself.
Richard was at a conference at the time of the June market, so we’re really looking forward to bringing him for his first experience on Saturday. We hear there will be several more stalls this time, too.
The market will be running every second Saturday of the month until September, so if you absolutely can’t make it this weekend, we’ll hopefully see you there in August instead!
If you love great food, click here for our other recommendations for outstanding North East businesses.