Salad queen’ crowned market trader of year

“Salad queen” Serpil Erce has been crowned Islington’s Market Trader of the Year 2009.

Serpil has run Sunny’s Olive Tree stall at Whitecross Street market for two years, working Monday to Friday from February to December. Her loyal customers come from as far as Liverpool Street and Moorgate in the City, and it was they who put her forward for the council’s prestigious award. On a busy day, Serpil and her team serve up more than 200 salad boxes. She starts work in Whitecross Street at about 7am, but even before then she has spent hours preparing 14 types of fresh salad, with everything from carrot to coriander.

She says she wouldn’t sell anything she wouldn’t eat herself – and all her salad is made fresh each day. The only additives are olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.

“It’s hard work – but it’s good to work for yourself,” said Serpil, who won £300 of free trading. “It is lovely to work spring to autumn, very nice being outside, I would recommend it.”

“Every single customer is very important. It they weren’t here I wouldn’t be here, the market wouldn’t be here. To me they come here because they get friendly service – they don’t want to see miserable faces.” Councilor Lucy Watt, deputy leader of Islington Council, said: “There were a lot of very good entries and Serpil was a worthy winner. She’s a shining example of the market traders who turn out to serve the public day in, day out, come rain come sun.”

“We’re very proud of all Islington’s markets and committed to helping them go from strength to strength.”

Islington Gazette, 2nd Oct 2009

Derbyshire Agricultural Festival


Sunny's salad is a healthy and tasty alternative for lunch

Michael Bains

My salad experience is second to none. You arrive at Whitecross Market smelling the cooking fumes of BBQ-like scents. Your adventure begins as you walk along the alley and you will know instantly when you reach the salad stall. Not from the smell of course but by the queue that extends along the alley surpassing the adjacent stalls.

Before joining the queue you will glimpse the sight of the growing salad mountain being served. You no longer think of feeding yourself only but rather salad for the table. As you move down the queue your eye would start to see the beginnings of that created mountain of salad that left the production line just a few moments ago and as your gaze cannot miss the spread across the counter feasting your eyes by the multitude of colours laid out; the red, green, yellow, orange, purple and the astonishing portion whether you decide to test your appetite on a small mountain or large mountain you would still be blessed not by your 5 a day, 7 a day but 10 a day and more.

You take your merchandise thinking what a bargain, laughing at the vendor echoing in your mind "did they forget to do their sums! £4.20 for this large box of nutrients!". As you begin to munch through obviously from its crunchy and crispy texture the freshly cut on the day cherry tomatoes, green beans, grated carrot, spinach revealing the contents under the mountain peak. The pulses and tangy houmous, red cabbage not to mention the decorating ingredients of capers, pickled green chilli, sun dried tomatoes and for an extra 30p you can ask for feta cheese and olives. But what olives 4-5 or even 6 different flavoured olives! Can this be happening to me in London or am I still in that Mediterranean holiday that I woke up dreaming about this morning.

Baz Kawar