I received an email from Tessa Allingham recently, who is a Food Writer and author of ‘Suffolk Feast, One County, Twenty Chefs.’ She lives near Bury St Edmund’s and it was a real compliment when she said, “It’s funny when something so new so quickly becomes part of the fabric of a place. To me, that’s what’s happened with the Bury St Edmund’s Farmers’ Market. I can’t imagine my home town without it now; it’s something I look forward to every month, and without fail every time I walk round it, not only do I buy some of the best food to be had locally with which to feed my family, but I talk to the producers, I learn, I become more aware and knowledgeable, more connected with the place I live in.’
I believe this is one of the most important aspects of all our markets; customers build up a rapport with the producers, they become familiar with the food and more confident in trying new ingredients and cooking different dishes. There is a preconception that farmers’ markets are expensive but these ingredients don’t need to be fussy; they don’t need to be expensive, they are just good quality, local and fresh so that the simplest meals can taste amazing because the ingredients used are real.
We love it when new customers come along to the markets and they want to know more about the food they are eating and stallholder’s favourite market days are when people ask questions and want to taste different products.
In today’s world of online shopping, where clicking is buying, I still believe there is a vital place for well organised, top quality markets because, even in today’s Cyber World, we like to have a positive experience connected to our food shopping. We love to smell, to taste, to pick up and to hear the story behind the food we eat. I am not saying we have the luxury of time to do this all the time but sometimes, when time and life allows, we spend a little longer buying what we eat. This is what a market provides and, no matter how fast our lives become, I truly believe we will always be able to find some time to shop at a market.
With autumn knocking on our doors, we have lots of amazing products at all our markets including fresh, local pheasant, rabbit, partridge and venison as well as locally grown pumpkins and squashes and apples and pears. So, if you are near one of our markets soon, why don’t you come along and see which ingredients, and which stallholders, inspire you to cook some new dishes this autumn.