Editor’s Note: In addition to covering athletes and events at the Summer Olympics, Cronkite News Service reporters are offering occasional observations about their experiences.
LONDON – I don’t mean to sound like a hipster, but I love a good farmers market. To judge the many I’ve gone to, I’ve created a mock March Madness system.
After seeing the Borough Market in London, I think I have an eternal victor.
Just a short and painless Underground trip away from our dorms at University College London, the Borough Market provides everything you could ever want. And as someone who likes fresh fruit and goodies, I had been searching guidebooks for a good place to go.
At Borough, cheese vendors greeted me at every corner, offering delicious samples and smiles. Fresh fish sprawled across huge chunks of ice created an interesting smell, but the many homemade breads nearby quickly erased it.
There’s fresh-squeezed juice from every fruit imaginable. If the line is too long for the vendor you’re standing at, don’t worry; there are at least four others that have similar items but prepare them in their own ways. I was initially upset when I had to give up on the first watermelon juice I saw but pleased when a neighboring juicer provided me a refreshing alternative.
It’s the largest market in London and one of the largest in the world. It’s also the only fully independent market in London. Everything—from the prosciutto to the basketball-sized double chocolate chip brownies—is created locally. A board of volunteer trustees runs the market.
It’s also a cultural experience. People from all over the U.K. operate the market, and visitors come from all over the world. I probably heard at least six languages by the time I left. In fact, I was behind a Polish couple for so long that I may have picked up a few phrases.
So as my roommate and I devoured the cheese we bought, I compared it to other markets I’ve been to in the world. I’d like to say Borough is a Cinderella story but anyone would agree that no others stood a chance.