I love farmers markets, so I was pleased as punch when a monthly craft & farmers market popped up in my hometown. Wandering around the market with my little basket, I tasted cheese, chatted to the local sellers and was reminded of bygone days - when food was grown, sourced and reared locally, by local people. This is how our grandparents brought groceries on a daily basis. But such produce seems to be a luxury to us nowadays. I know many would argue the produce at such markets can be overpriced compared to your local supermarket, but it's vitally important to recognise the difference between the two. Much of our supermarket food is mass produced in factories, and crammed full with preservatives and (cheap) artificial ingredients to ensure a good profit. So while it may not be practical to buy from a farmers market on a daily basis, treating ourselves and our bodies to fresh, quality produce when we can, whilst also supporting the lifeblood of local family businesses, really is worth every penny, and it makes for a such lovely afternoon out! Here are some of my highlights ...
Filippo's The cheese teller stall is a must for all cheese lovers. Together with his wife Mary, Filippo sources the most delicious, unusual cheeses from Italy and the UK, as well as cold meats and oils. After tasting one or two cheeses *ahem* ok it was several, I discovered a delicious cheese that was infused with truffle. Mary said it was delicious grated over scrambled egg - and she was so right.
The spices from the The Spice Queen are simply delicious; she specialises in traditional quality spice mixes that are gluten free and Vegetarian, and I have given them as gifts to foodie friends on more than a few occasions.
Next I came across some beautiful works by local artists from the Bishops Stortford Art Society, which celebrated it's 80th anniversary last year! Then Ralphy (my doggie, for those that don't already know) discovered these wonderful wooden handcrafted pieces by this lovely gentleman, which including birdhouses, clocks and hand-carved doggie bowls (though Ralphy lost interest when he realised they were empty.)
All the tasting and shopping left me worn out so it was time for a coffee and toastie break at Toastielicious, then like a magpie I was drawn to the gorgeous handmade trinkets from Yidan, at Silver Cave Designs. Yidan is a friend of mine from craft club - she's a wizard with a pair of knitting needles, but she also runs her own successful jewellery business. She handcrafts the most beautiful pieces of jewellery, including personalised pieces. Ladies from our craft club Cottage Crafters, also sell their handmade goodies on Yidan's stall from time to time.
Should you venture to the farmers market one afternoon, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Aside from the all the above you’ll find so much more, including; artisan home-baked goods, local honey and jams, meat, fruit & veg, fresh flowers and craft stalls! Just remember to take a big enough basket ;-)