There is nothing quite as quintessentially British as the farmers’ market, found in cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the country. The smell of the food, the allure of different produce and goods – all factors lead visitors to flock in their thousands to stalls set out on the streets.
Farmers’ markets vary in size and are different from public markets which in general have a permanent location.
A farmers’ market can be either indoors or outdoors and they have existed for centuries, waning in popularity with the advent of the supermarket and hypermarket where pre-packaged food became the norm. Today, with the emphasis on organic and holistic, farmers’ markets are enjoying renewed popularity.
Traditionally, the farmers’ market enabled farmers to sell agricultural and home-made products, usually allowing the seller to get rid of surplus produce. Now, it’s a booming business that sticks to the traditional but offers so much more to the visitor.
To Farmers’ Market to Market…
According to a report from the Friends of the Earth farmers’ markets are still springing up all over the UK and are good for everyone. The farmers have greater control over their economic lives, they get higher prices, diversify their skills and benefit from the networking opportunities with other farmers and clients.
The economy benefits with more money in circulation and more outlets for local businesses. And customers get an increased choice of fresh, healthy produce at competitive prices. Add to this less fuel miles and less packaging and farmers’ markets are win-win all round!
However, you can’t just go to market and sell your food: the National Association of Farmers Markets in the UK exists to lay down rules such as bought-in food cannot be sold, and that food should be from local producers.
So where are some of the best farmers’ markets? If you are out and about in the Bristol area, check out the UWE Farmers’ Market run on Tuesdays monthly at the Frenchay Campus, where local produce is in abundance, including poultry, meat and game, pies and pasties and a massive selection of South West cheeses. There’s also a stall selling sustainably caught fish and shellfish from Cornwall.
And one of the most famous farmers’ market in Wales is taking place from July 20th-July 23rd 2015 at The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. “The object is to offer high quality food and drink of truly Welsh origin giving visitors a genuine and unique true taste of Wales experience. As a Farmers’ Market collective the focus is on small artisan Welsh food and drink producers who source their ingredients, either from their own farms or known local suppliers.”
As always, AC Services (Southern) is delighted to support its local farmers’ markets in the South West and Wales and urges any caterers who cook food for the public to check their equipment carefully and frequently.