Of farmers’ markets and car-boot grocery trend

KSPCA farmers’ market

An avenue leading to KSPCA farmers’ market

Photo credit: John Fox | Nation Media Group

I have been living in Kenya for a long time now, and I thought that the only thing I had left behind and missed was having a pint of beer beside a log fire in a traditional English pub. But last Saturday I was proved wrong.

I was at the weekly farmers’ market at the KSPCA, and on Bryony’s stall I saw pork pies and English muffins. Those are two things I savour whenever I visit the UK.

I have been home for only an hour and I have already eaten one of the pork pies. And I am thinking about how good it will be to have muffins for breakfast in the morning. Bryony told me that they are crumpets rather than muffins, but she couldn’t tell me what the difference is. I think that, when split, toasted and hot, they will soak up the butter just as muffins do.

I couldn’t resist finding out straight away. Isn’t Google wonderful? It seems that English muffins have a firm dough, and they have more of a bread-like texture, while crumpets have a spongy texture.

Of course, what Americans call muffins are really the same as cakes; the only difference is that they have a domed shape and they are set in greased paper that, nevertheless, when you try to remove it, pulls away bits of the cake.

This market is on every Saturday. KSPCA has a spacious ground for the stalls and booths, and there is ample space for parking. There are colourful shades to keep out the sun or the rain. It is not only a farmers’ market; there is a variety of things on sale – from Masai jewellery to my pork pies. There are a number of refreshment places, such as Browns, selling their cheeses and sandwiches, and Opa selling German sausages and chips. I gather Opa is German for grandfather, so I felt quite at home there.

A few friendly KSPCA dogs wander round the market, happy to be stroked. And you can pass through the gates of the KSPCA compound. It’s a treat for children, because they will enjoy the animal shelters, with their many rescued dogs and cats – all well looked after, yet all looking to be adopted.

I had a long chat with Emma Naylor-Ngugi, the KSPCA Executive Officer. I knew she had worked for two humanitarian organisations – Oxfam and Care. I asked her what she would say to anyone who questioned the case for caring for animals, when Kenya has so many human problems to deal with. She had plenty to say. She had worked in Wajir and she was well aware that pastoralists can care for animals more than they care for their own health.

If the camels or cattle die, so do the people. She talked of how, elsewhere, Kenyans – particularly young Kenyans – have changed the way they relate to animals. Many families now have dogs or cats as pets. But the KSPCA does much more than rescue stray or sick animals and offer them for adoption. The organisation, for example, is mandated to inspect the country’s slaughter houses, and they have the power to secure the arrest of anyone guilty of animal cruelty.

I could say much more about the work of the KSPCA, but I wanted to tell you about a new initiative. On the last Sunday of every month there will be a car boot sale at the KSPCA. We went to the first of these, last month. The facilities and services are the same as I have described here. And there is the same relaxed and friendly atmosphere. If you are selling, the charge is Sh1, 000; otherwise entrance is free.

It is the last Sunday of May today. So, why not head down Langata Road to the KSPCA. The event starts at 12pm and ends at 5pm

John Fox is Chairman of iDC Email: [email protected]