Hadleigh Market gets two more years!

“I am absolutely delighted that Babergh have extended the contract with Suffolk Market Events enabling us to continue our work in the town. Over the last twelve months significant improvements have been achieved at the town’s weekly market and I am really looking forward to working hard to continue to improve it further.  The market now has a consistent number of top quality stalls serving the people of Hadleigh with a brilliant range of products but there is more than can be done and over the next two years, with the continued support of Babergh, we will strive to achieve even better things for the market.”

Awards News

Lavenham Farmers Market is in Top 20

Suffolk Market Events are so excited to be included in the Daily Telegraph’s list of the Top 20 Farmers’ Markets in the UK.

“Lavenham Farmers Market was rescued from the brink of closure in 2008 and, after many years of hard work, we have reached national recognition.

“It is an honour to be sitting next to some of the country’s giants and we’d like to thank all our customers, traders and local media for all the support you have shown over the years – here’s to even more fantastic years ahead.”


Bury St Edmunds Farmers Market est arrive!

Following its hugely successful pre-Christmas launch, Bury St Edmunds’ new Farmers Market will be back on the Traverse in the centre of town on Sunday, March 12th.

A line-up of the area’s finest producers will be delighting shoppers with their top quality local produce, including Wooster’s Bakery who will be showcasing their brand new ‘Bury Loaf’ especially created for the farmers market, The Beehouse Honey Company will be back with their Bury St Edmunds honey as well as The New England Boar Company, Truly Traceable Pies, Casey’s cakes and new stalls selling traditional English puddings, Suffolk pork and gluten free products from Madame Sunshine.

Everything that is sold will have been produced by the person selling at the market giving the customer the opportunity to meet the producer face to face, with the vast majority based within a 30 mile radius of the town. Nothing will have travelled further than 50 miles so it really is buying local at its best!

The December market resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response from locals, visitors, traders and shop owners and we are delighted that the market will be returning on the second Sunday of every month from 10am – 4pm.

See you on The Traverse on Sunday March 12th we can’t wait!!

Blog Traders

Field to fork

As we know farmers markets are all about locally sourced, top-quality ingredients and the provenance of what we eat and drink is paramount within the context of a good farmers market.

I have been working with Justine at Suffolk market Events since the summer and I have definitely had a crash course in understanding the difference between a farmers market and a really good farmers market! However I was left speechless by Truly Traceable and their venison and game pies, when I met Steve and Lynn Tricker at the launch of the Bury St Edmunds Farmers Market last Sunday. Seeing me eye up a venison and cranberry pie, Steve mentioned casually that he could trace back and identify the animals that were the source of all of the pies and sausage rolls on their stall. I must have shown my surprise so he picked up a folder, leafed through some pages and then pointed to a photo of a muntjac deer taken just after it had been shot. Alongside the picture were the details of the animal, exact location and date of the shoot which corresponded with the particular batch of pies and sausage rolls made for the market. 

As a fully qualified deerstalker and butcher, Steve manages this part of the business whilst Lynn’s specialty is the delicious homemade pastry encasing the pies and rolls. The pie was delicious by the way, and it was a genuine and eye-opening example of how seriously small scale producers believe in the ‘field to fork’ philosophy and are involved in every part of the process.

Here at Suffolk Market Events, we work tirelessly to promote this ethos and we are delighted and proud to be working with such a fantastic group of top-quality local producers.


High impact?

I have recently been invited onto a scale up business course at the Eastern Enterprise School for Social Enterpreneurs. I love that place, it is a hub of forward thinking people, a melting pot of characters and a huge source of inspiration and so I was delighted to be invited back. However like all of us in business, time is precious, especially when you are running a business single handed, and so I was concerned that eight hours spent away from the computer with phones strictly turned off, after school child care to arrange, dog walkers to pay….. this might be something I cannot really afford to do? It’s nearly four years since I did my Start Up buisness course at SSE and I had forgotten what happens when you walk through those doors! Eight hours away from the computer with phones off, after school clubs, dog walkers….it’s a brilliant way to spend the day! And the result? I know what the social impact of my business is, I have remembered that running farmers markets is way more than 30 stalls in a venue and I am starting to remember what my life long business dream is!

One of the sessions we covered involved drawing your social impact and using symbols to portray this impact. It really made the brain cogs turn as I tried to show how Life Can Be a Bowl of Cherries if that’s what you believe in. I am proud to see the ‘ripple effect’ that my business has on a social, environmental and economic level. The markets are a shining of example of community cohesion, they are a place where people come to ‘chew the fat.’ The projects that I have run in primary schools have had some impact on childrens eating habits and they have made people think about the source of our food and the journey it takes to reach our plate. The local producers at the markets have seen an increase in takings and the surrounding businesses have experienced a larger footfall on market days.

I love the fundamental basic world of market trading and the ancient etiquette surrounding bartering and money exchange but I am equally passionate about the modern concept of social impact and I am utterly delighted that I spent eight hours in the SSE this week, oiling those brain cogs and pulling apart the layers that make up my small but well-formed, business.


War on waste

Watching Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recent BBC series, I was astonished by the colossal amount of waste this country produces. I was staggered to learn that the average household in the UK throws away 25% of the food that we buy and I was disgusted to see the enormous piles of vegetables that farmers are forced to throw away because supermarkets have ‘cosmetic standards’ when it comes to how straight the average parsnip is. To see family farms forced to go out of business by these supermarkets, made my blood boil and made me shout even louder about the importance of shopping at farmers’ markets where the local producer can sell directly to the customer and where bendy cucumbers and short, stumpy parsnips are welcome.

So, inspired by HFW, I have been really aware of waste in the house (although I think we probably do OK). I compost all our peelings, teabags, coffee grounds, egg shells and tumble dryer fluff, we make a roast chicken dinner stretch to packed lunch sandwiches on Monday, risotto for dinner and stock for soup, I recycle all our plastic and paper and the garden gets watered from the water butts. However, because I have been mulling over the whole issue of waste, I guess I have become even more careful and so here are five top tips that I have been practising and which I would love to share with you. If you’ve got a minute, then why not send me your five tips back and before long we’ll have a whole book full!

1. I always have scappy old bits of cheese in the fridge that are too small to slice or grate. So collect them all up, the more varietes the better so even the rock solid end of the month old parmasan, is a treasure, and either make cauliflower cheese or just freeze the sauce for when you need it.  

2. Gather up the crushed up, dusty remnants from the bottom of the cereal bag and make krispie cakes . They can be a whole mix of Cheerios, corn flakes, Krispies or shreddies – who cares when they covered in chocolate?

3. Every few weeks I dare to delve into the bottom of the bread bin where I dig out the stales old bits of sliced loaf, pitta and an occassional bread roll and I whizz them into breadcrumbs and stick them in the freezer ready to use in bread sauce or chicken nuggets. 

4. I must admit I have only done this once and it did make me feel a bit Domestic Goddess, which I’m not sure I liked but hey, it stopped me chucking food away! So, those wilted bits of coriander, basil, dill and other herbs that you use but don’t necessarily grow? Resue them from the mouldy little plastic bag they are shuffed inside, in the corner of the fridge, chop them up and make ice cubes from them. Honestly, you will use them over the next twelve months and it will feel good! 

5. Finally, I must credit this one to Nicola Miller of The Miller’s Tale who Tweeted this tip a few months ago and it is right up my street. If you are a Granola eater than you will know that the end of the bag is always a bit ‘un-granolaly’ as the oats and the fruit and the honey all become a bit unstuck. So bag it up and next time you make a crumble, pour the old granola on the top and hey presto, it makes the most delicious crumble topping! Magic!

If you are inspired by any of these tips or if you would generally like to learn more about cutting down on waste, then why not join us, upstairs at Lavenham Farmers Market, on Sunday, February 22nd when Justin Kett, Head Chef at The Swan Hotel, Lavenham, will be showing us all how to make delicious family meals using nothing but leftovers. It will be an amazing opportunity to learn directly from one of the region’s very best chefs and, as with all our workshops, it will be fun, informal and packed full of information!


Quotes on a toilet door

Three years ago I was part of a brilliant group of budding entrepreneurs lucky enough to be offered a place at the School for Social Entrepreneurs East of England Enterprise, Ipswich. It was a great opportunity to spend time with like minded people, to get inspired and to experience huge personal motivation.

It wasn’t until I neared the end of the course that I realised how I always used the same toilet in the building when I went for a wee, and then I realised why! On the back of each door was a different quote and my favourite quote, from the late, great Anita Roddick, was in cubilce three.

Over time, since graduating, that quote has often rung loud in my ears and, a few weeks ago, when I proudly earned myself the title of Suffolk’s Food & Drink Hero, I realised just how much that quote has meant to me, how much it has inspired me, how much I have acheived with that mantra in my head.  

I am, as I explained, on that very proud day, essentially a working mum who stepped forward to save something that I care about but, more than that, I am living proof that if you really do believe in something with enough passion, then you really can make it happen.


Have your cake and eat it

After a morning meeting in the enchanting village of Clare, I knew it was going to take a while to travel the eight miles or so back to Lavenham. Why? Because between Clare and Lavenham there are too many distractions for someone like me! 

Stop one was Number One Deli for a mug of good coffee; even when the village is relatively quiet this small deli is always buzzing with chatter and clatter. Stop two was one of the wonderful little treasure trove shops, not much bigger than a small front room and packed from floor to roof with all sorts of gorgeous goodies. Stop three was the fabulous butchers and then as I approached Long Melford I knew I couldn’t head home before paying a visit to my favourite teeny weeny bakery, Tanswells Cakes, on the High Street.

No larger than a cupboard and with just a couple of small ovens, this bakery turns out the very best carrot, chocolate, lemon and blueberry muffins. Belgium Buns with just enough stickiness and proper doughnuts crammed full of sticky jam. I popped in for one cake and came out with seven! The total cost? Less than a fiver. Now that’s what I call having your cake and eating it!