In the centre of St Helier is the Central Market, a Victorian cast iron market hall which was opened in 1882 as a result of the stalls being banished from the Royal Square in 1800.
It's is worth seeing both for it's architectural detail including the recently restored central fountain, and for the colourful array of fruit, vegetables and flowers inside.
The water at the base of the fountain is home to many goldfish. It's a favourite place for young children to visit while in St Helier, and to throw a coin in the water. The money is emptied out once a month and donated to local charities.
The array of fruit and vegetables on the stalls is very varied, and compares well with the range you would find in a UK city. Locally grown produce and exotic imports are attractively displayed side by side.
The Central Market stocks very little in the way of organic fruit, veg and meat. For fruit and veg you are better to go to The Organic Shop in Stopford Rd. Marks and Spencer's also sell organic meat and fish.
There are several florist stalls. Their displays make a colourful backdrop to the central fountain. You can buy flowers here to take away, order an arrangement or bouquet to be delivered as a thank you to someone or even arrange for flowers to be sent by post.
There is a small gardening stall where you can often buy bulbs for the attractive Jersey Lilly, boxed to carry home easily.
There are several traditional butcher's stalls in the market. The range of meat for sale is good - as well as common cuts, more unusual meats are stocked as the market supplies many of the top Island restaurants. You will find duck, pheasant and wild boar as well as lamb, beef and pork!
You may sometimes see distinctive cuts of Jersey beef. Although Jersey cows are kept for their milk, a small amount of the meat is sold in the market. The fat on the meat is a distinctive yellow colour - nothing to do with it being 'off' - this is the natural colour.
One of the butcher's stalls has a spit roast running constantly with chickens cooking. Great to pick up for an easy meal or for your picnic.
The Jersey Dairy also have a stall here, selling the full range of products made locally from Jersey milk - including cream, yogurt and Jersey ice-cream.
There are stalls selling specialist foods and chocolate, bakery stalls, cafés and sandwich bars - so it's a popular place to pick up a quick lunch.
As well as food stalls, there are gift shops, a haberdashery shop, a wool shop, a Post Office, second-hand book stall and a shoe shop.
One of the most interesting stalls in the Central Market is a quaint old-fashioned shop called Red Triangle Stores. Part luggage shop, part model shop and part ironmonger, stepping into Red triangle is like stepping back into St Helier of a hundred years ago! The shop has a reputation for stocking all sorts of obscure items you can't get elsewhere - like blacking for Victorian fire surrounds - and they're all stored on the original wooden shelves! I had a Christmas job there about 25 years ago and the shop hasn't changed a bit since then!
You can buy parking cards and season tickets in the market office - or be weighed on the large scales and get a hand-written note of your progress!
The gift shop called The Moon and Sixpence also sells a range of beads and jewellery findings.
The Central Market is open Monday to Saturday, but closes on a Thursday afternoon (unless it is a Bank holiday week when it will usually stay open.)
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