Secrets of Surrey Street Market: How are Croydon's traders coping in the heat?

Croydon Guardian: Traders in Surrey Street market. Traders in Surrey Street market.

While struggling to keep it cool on the hottest day of the year so far, Sarah finds out how the market is coping.

Fruit and vegetables will perish faster in the heat. Bananas have even been known to bake and split on the stalls.

Traders have to keep as much of their goods out of the direct heat as possible by using extra covers and sheets.

This is tricky though as they have to avoid cutting off the shops and other stalls around them.

Traders will douse their stalls with cold water regularly and avoid putting too much out at once. Many traders have walk in fridges in the warehouses behind Surrey Street and will leave produce in there rather than filling their stalls.

This, of course, means regular trips throughout the day - harder work in weather conditions most of us opt to laze about in!

Traders have to adapt to our food preferences and appetites in the heat. Raheem, who owns the Afghan Wrap stall has swapped his griddle for a juicer during the heat wave.

Croydon Guardian:

Surrey Street Market in the sunshine

Other stalls are offering refreshing salads, cherries, doughnut peaches and watermelons. ‘Focaccia Concerto’ a new bread stall on the market, have been stocking up on Mediterranean style breads, perfect for summer ‘Al Fresco’ dining and, yeast free too so keeps well in the heat.

The market traders are amongst the most wise and knowledgeable traders you’ll meet so it is always worth asking them for advice about how to best keep their food, especially in the heat, as well as ideas on how to cook it.

I have had many a chat with the wonderful family who run the Chinese produce stall about how to make the perfect stir fry, a perfect dish to cook in the heat as it so quick on the hob and light to eat.

They recommend just three, four at the most main ingredients along side the sauces, so the flavours have space between each other.

I haven’t quite perfected my balance between soy sauce and oyster sauce yet but, when I do, I’ll be sure to share my recipe with you.

I was lucky enough to catch Focaccia Concerto’s master baker, Peter, on his stall this week and he explained to me that it is the bacteria in the air that turns bread moldy.

The best way to store it is wrapped in a paper bag and placed in an air tight container. His yeast free bread will keep a week like that.

Another trader gave me my refreshing recipe hint for the week - buy a bowl of grapes from the market, take them home, wash them, throw them into a bowl, cover them in vodka and put them in the fridge. One for the adults of course and to be enjoyed in moderation but one I am certainly going to try over the weekend.

Traders have to keep themselves cool, mostly by stripping down which is pretty visible. The means they take to keep warm in the winter is a whole new secret to share another day!

Follow Sarah on twitter @Sarah_E_Milne.


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