Taste the best of Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town Market

Ron and Sue Jordan, left, of Poppy's Preserves with customers Mandy and Keith Payne
Ron and Sue Jordan, left, of Poppy's Preserves with customers Mandy and Keith Payne
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Since the relaunch of Hemel’s old town market in August last year, organiser Jay Dallas has been quietly compiling a dynamic gamut of traders.

Now he has approximately 30 different traders each month selling everything from vinyl records to banana jam. But he says he’s still on the hunt for more people to join in. Mr Dallas, who works for Saunders Markets, said: “We’re looking to source a local butcher, as I think that’s the only thing that’s missing at the moment.

Ivan Tymkiw of Millwhites Cider, with some of the customers' favourite tipples

Ivan Tymkiw of Millwhites Cider, with some of the customers' favourite tipples

“I’m really pleased with how it’s going, especially as the market is still establishing itself.

“We have got a great variety of local bespoke and quirky sort of stalls. There’s something for everyone.”

The market runs from 11am to 3pm on the first Sunday of every month and the next one is Sunday, June 7.

Contact Jay on 01483 277640/07769 219443 or email jaydallas@saundersmarkets.co.uk

Debbie Mills and her artisan bread stall

Debbie Mills and her artisan bread stall

Here are just some of the market traders selling their wares:

Poppy’s Preserves

Husband and wife team Ron and Sue Jordan produce hundreds of pots of jams, chutneys, preserves, piccalillis and marmalades in the kitchen of their Jarman Park home each month.

Sue, whose nickname is Poppy among other traders, said: “We use all natural ingredients and we love being able to tell people exactly what’s in something when they buy it.”

Therapist Julie Bouttell and her crystals

Therapist Julie Bouttell and her crystals

The couple sell well-loved flavours such as strawberry and raspberry but their real passion is experimenting.

Favourites include strawberry and champagne marmalade, banana jam, plum gumbo and kiwi and lime jam.

Millwhites Ciders

Ivan Tymkiw works for small, award-winning company Millwhites Cider which has a base on Bourne End Farm on the outskirts of the town.

The man who makes it happen: Old Town Market manager Jay Dallas

The man who makes it happen: Old Town Market manager Jay Dallas

The Hemel old town resident said: “We get most of our apples from a place on Gaddesden Row and locals who have surplus in their orchards.”

The range of hand-crafted ciders include a traditional scrumpy, rum cask, apples and pears, rioja cask and strawberry.

Mr Tymkiw says the free samples he offers on market day always go down well.

Artisan breads

Accomplished baker Debbie Mills has been making cakes since 2008, but it wasn’t until her sons were saying the bread in their lunchbox was being pinched by their friends at school that she decided to make and sell her handmade loaves too. Bread-lovers can choose from flavours such as olive and basil focaccia, mozarella and tomato bread and olive bread sticks. Ms Mills, who now has a raft of loyal customers, jokes: “They sell like hot cakes – I can’t keep up!”

Crystal healing

Crystal healer Julie Boutell began selling her precious stones in October last year and believes she has a sixth sense when it comes to helping people benefit form their healing properties. Ms Boutell also practices Reiki, reflexology and clairvoyancy.

The Gadebridge resident said: “I find crystals fascinating and they’re something I’ve always been passionate about. They all have different energies and similar mineral contents to what humans have.

“They can be healing on both an emotional and physical level.”