Farmers' markets are a good idea: they act as a marriage broker between growers and shoppers. Those who produce food are not necessarily skilled in the dark arts of marketing and shoppers who care about their ingredients may like to see and speak to the people who produce them. What's on offer won't always tick boxes such as organic, but it will be both seasonal and fairly local. The option to look at fruit and veg that hasn't arrived cellophane-wrapped from the other side of the world, or to buy juicy pork that comes from old breeds, is an increasingly appealing one.
The system is not problem-free. Most towns have few places to park, so it's small wonder that most people go for the out-of-town supermarket. Town centres have sadly had their day and the future for farmers' markets – as with cattle markets before them – will probably be to follow suit by moving to somewhere more accessible outside of town.
Hereford farmers' market is my choice, and having been a guest at the opening ceremony, I've been a strong supporter over the years. It has blossomed into a twice-monthly event which showcases some of the area's best produce and attracts a loyal following. The people who crowd in for local meat and veg will almost certainly stop to buy in the other shops. A reason to brave the city centre and a good result for everyone.
For details and dates, see hfmg.org.
Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, on the fourth Thursday of every month, has lots of live demos.
Moseley in the West Midlands has first-rate olives and olive oil from Greece, imported, selected and sold by local enterprises like the Olive Press in Ludlow.
Usk farmers' market is small but dedicated, with nice stalls and stalwart supporters.
Shaun Hill is chef/proprietor of the Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny, 01873 852797Reuse content