My London: Produce Stands

leila's shop, june 2015 | simple pretty

leila’s shop, june 2015

There are many things to love about living in London, chief among which is the weather (no arguments, natives: you’re wrong), but one of the happiest surprises was the abundance of top-notch produce stands. Open year round, which to a former Chicagoan is a dream come true. Whatever the neighborhood, have a wander: more likely than not, you’ll come across a charming little stand, tempting you to purchase a handful of cherries, a beautiful bunch of radishes, or even a turnip. (And that is worth noting because I don’t think I’d ever considered a turnip beautiful until I got here.)

London’s produce stands are wonderful for their seasonality, their variety, and best of all, their allowance of buying in small quantities. When apple season rolls around, I want to buy two or three apples that look especially good, enjoy them, and then return for something else. I don’t want to commit to a jumbo bag of Galas and then run home in a race-against-time to finish them before they spoil. Because try as I might, I remain the fruit-and-veg enthusiast of the house and ironically, the less I buy, the more likely a particular fruit or vegetable is to be poached by “the boys”.

For those interested in London produce stand “exploring”, below are a few of my favorites to get you started. For more options, I’ve put together a Flickr album with photos to tempt, and a Google Map with locations. Bon appétit!

clifton greens, may 2015 | simple pretty

clifton greens veg selection, may 2015

Clifton Greens: Rumored to be a favorite source for London chefs and cooks, Clifton Greens makes the most of its small footprint: the shelving is stuffed to the gills with standard and exotic produce. (I usually find something new-to-me each time I visit.) It’s always terribly busy, too, which is a very good sign.

16 Clifton Road, Maida Vale London W9 1SS. Monday – Saturday 8.00 am – 7.45 pm. Sunday 8.00 am – 7.00 pm //

daylesford organic, august 2015 | simple pretty

daylesford organic, notting hill, august 2015

Daylesford: With four farm shops in London, Daylesford is an aesthete’s dream come true. The displays always look ready for a photo shoot, the shop’s branding is elegant, minimal, and on point, and Daylesford’s founder, Carole Bamford, is known for her commitment to organic farming and healthy living. As we started our London adventure in Notting Hill, I consider the Westbourne Grove store “my” Daylesford. (I’ve heard whispers of a potential expansion to the US: how great would THAT be?)

208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill London, W11 2RH. Monday 8.00 am – 7.00 pm, Tuesday – Saturday 8.00 am – 9.30 pm, Sunday 10.00 am – 4.00 pm //

la fromagerie, august 2015 | simple pretty

la fromagerie, august 2015

La Fromagerie: Famous for its cheese room, but to me, the highlights of this cozily-lit, romantic Marylebone shop are the boxes of produce, complete with envy-inducing handwritten signage. Oh, and the baked goods. You can offset your healthy purchases with a brownie or croissant, or follow my latest balanced indulgence: a couple of apples and a wrapped caramel. And keep your eyes open, because you never know who you might see: celebrities (Nigella + Gwyneth, for starters) pass through these doors with regularity. Be cool. You’re there, too.

 2-6 Moxon St, Marylebone London W1U 4EW. Monday 8.00 am – 10.30 pm (the adjoining café hosts Monday night dinners), Tuesday – Thursday 8.00 am – 7.30 pm, Friday 8.00 am – 10.30 pm (another café evening), Saturday 9.00 am – 7.00 pm, Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm //

leila's shop, september 2015 | simple pretty

leila’s shop, september 2015

Leila’s Shop: I’m kind of obsessed with Leila’s Shop. (And you can drop the “kind of”.) It’s the kind of shop you imagine existed in London 50 years ago. Owner Leila McAlister is known for stocking only the best of everything, and her fruits and vegetables displays, whether organized simply in baskets on the benches out front, or inside on the table across from the register, are like still-life drawings brought to life. Don’t miss Leila’s café next door either. (In fact, if you’re visiting London and won’t be buying a lot of produce, start there. It’s cozy, delicious, and perfect.)

15-17 Calvert Ave, Shoreditch London E2 7JP. Wednesday – Saturday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm, Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm //

natoora, chiswick, october 2015 | simple pretty

natoora, chiswick, october 2015

Natoora: Another known source for London restauranteurs, Natoora stocks a wide range of gorgeous produce, and the staff will cheerfully help you make your selection. On my last visit, I discovered (and purchased) Miyagawa Satsumas. They were excellent. Bonus: Natoora delivers!

35 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick London, W4 1RG. Monday – Friday 9.00 am – 7.00 pm, Saturday 8.00 am – 6.00 pm, Sunday/Bank Holiday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm //

panzers, october 2015 | simple pretty

panzers, october 2015

Panzers: My closest stand: inside is the grocery store, complete with an excellent deli. With the American School a stone’s throw away, Panzers is known for stocking familiar American brands (including hard-to-find-in-London Nestlé chocolate chips). Out front, the produce beckons. They do Halloween (and pumpkins) especially well.

13-19 Circus Road, St. John’s Wood London NW8 6PB. Monday – Friday 8.00 am – 7.00 pm, Saturday 8.00 am – 6.00 pm, Sunday 8.00 am – 2.00 pm //

all photos by jane potrykus