Speciality and continental markets

The upsurge in interest in traditional markets has also given rise to a whole host of speciality markets being successfully created across the country.

The speciality food sector has experienced above average industry growth over recent years and in some of Britain’s most beautiful and historic cities, towns and villages you will find a host of markets to try, taste and buy local goodies.

Whether it is choosing garden-fresh fruit and vegetables, a local traditional cheese, oven baked bread or a rare-breed meats, food markets are piled high with fresh and delicious delights. The more local the better as depending on where you visit you can be guaranteed an array of choice straight from the local natural landscape or if you happen to be by the coast, the sea-lapped shores.

As with any market, success or failure boils down to the quality of the traders, their products and the services they provide. The huge popularity of Farmers’ Markets across the UK today has in many ways marked a return to simple, uncomplicated, face-to-face transactions between producers and their customers. Towns and cities have realised that creating Farmers’ Markets has proved to be the perfect way of re- establishing a direct relationship between producer and consumer, plus drawing visitors back into the high street.

Talk to people in the know and they will tell you there are in essence three golden rules that should apply to a genuine farmers’ market. Firstly, producers must be local, which is defined as within a specified radius of the market site (normally 30 miles). Secondly, producers must sell their own produce, and all secondary produce should contain local ingredients where appropriate. Finally, the person behind the stall must be the producer, a close family member or an employee directly involved with production; thus allowing you to ask questions about how and where it was produced.

Whether it is fish and seafood from the coasts of Devon, Cornwall, Norfolk or Lincolnshire or Northumberland, pork pies from Leicestershire, cider from Somerset or Herefordshire, sausages from Lincolnshire or Bakewell’s famous puddings, the producers of these and other fine foods across the region will be more than happy to chat to you, their customers, about their wares. It is all part of the experience in many ways and you soon realise just how passionate and proud the producers and sellers are about their products.

An off-shoot from the popularity of farmers markets has been the upsurge in continental markets springing up across the country; either pitching up in town once a year or where interest and demand has dictated on a seasonal or monthly basis.

As with all markets, they bring an energy, vibe and atmosphere to any high street, square or shopping centre as consumers get chance to purchase items and food from various countries. The likes of olives, cured meats, cheeses, breads and cakes are always popular and invariably create a constant trade, but more and more it is also the likes of sweets, biscuits, wines and ciders, jams, preserves and pâtés which create an offering that is hard for the consumer to resist.

And don’t forget with the changing of the seasons brings with it a different offering each time. Christmas continental markets such as those held in Birmingham, Bath, Edinburgh and Belfast for instance are a great excuse (if you need one) to tuck into the likes of waffles, chocolate and mulled wine to get you into the seasonal spirit.