Norwich market pair have a passion for locally-made bread
- Credit: Archant
It started as a week-long trial in a pop-up stall but now, three years later, the Norwich Providore is still proudly selling local bread and produce on Norwich market.
And it is a family affair for co-owner David Winter, who runs the stall with Steve Prentice, as Mr Winter's son Steven provides them with fresh bread every day.
Mr Prentice said: 'The council were doing a trial for people to come on the market.
'Well David's son is one of our bakers and owns the Bread Source. So he took up the offer and came onto the market short-term to sell his bread.'
But when Mr Winter gave his son a hand for that week, he got the bug for being on the market, and as he had just been made redundant from Norfolk County Council he thought they could give it a go.
'It's a success, growing year by year,' said Mr Prentice, 62.
'We're taking on more local produce because that's all we want to sell.'
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All the bread sold, from baguettes to focaccia, comes from Norfolk or Suffolk, as well as the various chutneys, honeys and other treats.
And although the Norwich Providore works closely with the Bread Source, the two are seperate businesses.
'Lots of people like to buy local and support local,' Mr Prentice, a father-of-two, added.
'We sell the artisan bread which is rustic, it's got no additives or presvatives - people call it proper bread. It's fresh every day.'
One customer, Laura Harland, visited the stall to buy a rustic loaf. The 56-year-old said: 'I like this stall because the bread is just wonderful and you know it has not got any nonsense in it.'
In terms of the market's future, Mr Winter and Mr Prentice said the priority should be getting empty stalls filled.
'We need to get the shutters up,' said Mr Prentice.
A range of different breads to choose from
Mr Prentice said their most popular bread was the multiseed loaf, at £2.50.
'It's wholemeal, it's got the seeds right the way through, it's a healthier bread,' he explained.
But another favourite with customers was a muesli loaf, which had a natural glaze, at £3.20.
'Some of the restaurants around Norwich have this one,' he said.
'It's great with brie and camembert, or any blue cheese.'
One of the more unusual breads on sale was the quartermaster, at £2.30.
Mr Prentice said: 'It's quirky because it's made from white, wholemeal, spelt and rye flour, it gives it a special taste.'
And finally, for £2.80, Mr Prentice pointed to the 24 hour sunflower bread. As hinted in the name, the bread is left to prove for 24 hours, and it's made from half white flour and half wholemeal.
Why the market matters
The pair said the way the market used to be run was 'quite archaic' but over the last three years things had improved.
'Now there are the two market managers they're more proactive, and we see and talk to them.'
They also said that they had seen an increase in new people visiting the market since this newspaper started the Get Behind Your Market campaign.
'More people have come in, footfall has increased,' Mr Prentice said.
'Things like this should continue.'
Mr Winter added: 'There is more diversity now, people should come on here because it's a more personal service.'
He said customers often became friends and they were able to have a chat and learn what type of products they wanted.
'It's not like being in the supermarket,' father-of-two Mr Winter said.
'People can ask questions and ask for help.'