“Now the buzz word is local,” says Martin Gallagher at Pomona. “People want our stuff to be English if at all possible.”
Since 2002, Martin and co-owner Leslie Singh have served the people of Belsize Park and beyond. Their shop on Haverstock Hill - packed with fruit, veg, flowers, bread, cheese, wine and more - is buzzing from 7am to 8 or 9pm every day of the week.
Pomona’s fresh produce buyer Leslie Singh visits the Market every morning before travelling back to unload directly onto the pavement outside the shop.
“It arrives at Pomona by 6am, ready and displayed, to sell by 8am,” says their website.
“We could deliver to the back,” explains Gallagher. “But we like people to see it come off the van everyday ... big volumes of produce coming in fresh.”
Singh buys from a wide range of wholesalers across the Market. “Now it's five days a week but as we move into spring and summer it will turn into six days a week. I still enjoy it. Working through the seasons ... that’s the best bit of it. There’s always something coming up. All the English asparagus is coming on line and all the local fruit. There is always something to look forward to.”
Back at the shop, a quick tour shows a staggering range of product lines. Fresh produce includes blood oranges, Yorkshire forced rhubarb, English apples, rose garlic, turmeric, Roscoff onions, micro herbs, kiwi berries, Romanesco and more.
It’s no wonder that Pomona has developed a side line supplying food photographers with ingredients for their shoots.
“We supply photographers so anything special they need I can come into the market I can look for it – that’s my part of the operation,” says Singh. “With all our products, if you don't see it and if it is available we will source it for you.”
There are bunches of flowers, coconut milk yoghurts, natural liquorice, olive oils, wines, packs of fish and meats, and even cheese and kale bakes in the freezer.
What’s in demand these days? “Anything dairy or gluten free” confirms Comal Zaidi, one of the staff.
Singh offers advice for anyone keen to explore the Market for the first time; “Come down and have a look around and speak to a salesman – everyone down here is very friendly. Have a look first and then ask questions.”
179 Haverstock Hill~
020 7916 2676