Whilst living in London I discovered the Alexandra Palace Farmers Market. With views right across the city, the location was magical. The stalls were too. I had not been acquainted with the concept of farmers markets up until then and really loved the energy, the smells, the tastes and the many delicacies being proffered from either side of the tree lined market strip.
It was around that time that I first encountered Alan Rosenthal and his new business – Stewed. Alan had been a typical city boy, hard working and full of London get-up-and-go. In 2008 he ditched his office-based job and indulged himself into the carefree life of the market trader, setting up a business based on a very simple premise – he was going to sell Stew.
You could not pass Alan’s stall in Ally Pally without at least stopping and taking a huge intake of breath. Sampling the aroma of the huge pots of thick stews was a joy to the nasal senses. His branding was already clever, something he was already good at having worked as a conceptual marketing agent. People were buying. Something stood out about Alan’s stall. Therefore I was delighted a few years ago to hear that he had expanded. The business was now moving into the major retail sector. Stewed had been contracted by major retailers like Budgens, Sainsburys and then Waitrose. They were also supplying deli’s, foodhalls and developing an online supply presence.
Alan came to my attention again recently as I walked through the aisles of Superquinn only to see the familiar Stewed brand staring back at me. Nutrition heaven was once again on my doorstep. Now the Superquinn aisles are not the same as being wrapped up warm and strolling the leafy paths of the farmers market at Alexandra Palace but I can assure you that the range of Stewed dishes available will brighten anybody’s day, especially as we head into winter.
Stewed now have a range of six mouth watering pots of epicurean delights : Thai Chicken Stew; Chorizo, Chickpea & Pork Stew; Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Feta stew; Hungarian Goulash Beef stew; Bob’s british beef and ale; Moroccan Chicken Stew.
I converted my mother this afternoon with a little pot of the Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Feta stew served with a chunk of brown bread. The wind has been howling the past few days and Alan’s hearty offering seemed to settle the sense of meteorological doom, even if just for an hour or two.
Limerick has seen a great success story in it’s Milk Market. The weekend market is thriving and individual businesses are not afraid of putting a smile on their faces. Alan’s success with Stewed is a great example of how important it is to support small traders. We never know who our next big success story will be. It could be your local market trader. Give them your support.
The Stewed cookbook has been published by Ebury Press and is available in all good bookshops.