It is thought that the first ‘Farmer’s Market’ took place in areas around Turkey and the Middle East approximately 10,000 years ago. With that in mind, I consider us so very lucky to be able to have markets of food and produce today. Not so very long ago, many markets began fading out due to the introduction of supermarkets and pre-packaged foods. Going to one shop which sold everything under one roof was considered far more convenient than going to a market.
Recent changes made by the Government and an increase in health awareness however, has meant that buying freshly grown produce is desirable once again. People are interested in the seasonal vegetables and are making the choice to buy organically.
It is very rare that I get to visit a market of any kind these days, and so I was delighted to find myself able to visit Keep It Local’s Food and Produce Market, held at Coolings Garden Centre. A food and produce market is a very traditional way of selling home-made, home-grown products, and for many people this is still a valuable source of income.
Gazebos of varying size and colour greeted me in what was a very cold and blowy morning. What I liked instantly about the market was the variation in what was being sold. No two stalls sold exactly the same thing and it was clear to see that each product had been grown, made or cooked with care.
My first circuit of the market allowed me to really study the products on offer, and of course, to sample lots of tasty treats. There is something special about eating a cake, pie, biscuit or whatever it may be that has been home-made. It is a taste unlike any other, which ready-made foods purchased at the supermarket cannot even begin to compete with.
With every stall visit, I met a variety of friendly, chatty (if a bit cold!) people. In fact, I learnt lots as I walked round, from techniques, ingredients, where produce is grown and experimental ideas to name a few.
My second circuit around the market was my opportunity to purchase some of the amazing food items sampled. In no time at all, I had three shopping bags full and a desire to go straight home and try them all!
Considering it was my first market visit in quite a while, I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time browsing and taking in all the wonderful food, drink and products that were on offer. I will also add that the friendliness of the stall holders enhanced my visit greatly and thank you for taking the time to tell me about your products.
I really do believe that markets such as this one are important to communities and are also an important reminder that not everything needs to be taken off a shelf in a supermarket. I know that I will continue to visit and support markets as much as I can because there really are differences in the taste and quality of food.
So as I sit here after a delicious lunch of fresh vegetable soup, accompanied by a wonderful loaf of bread I am already looking forward to another market visit; this one has certainly whetted my market appetite!
I think I may go and have another cuppa to wash down the cobnut shortbread biscuits and the odd marshmallow or two!
See the gallery below for all photos taken during my visit