Farmers markets are big business. Most of us, even you city dwellers, live only a few miles away from rows of stalls groaning under the weight of amazing produce. From farmers directly selling their own meat, to bakers, cheesemongers, fresh fruit and vegetables – these celebrations of great British food and drink are symphonies of perfection so divine Gustav Holst would be proud.
For years scientists have spent billions of pounds to build the Large Hadron Collider in an effort to find a particle every physics professor has been looking for. Thankfully, we don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to find the hidden taste sensations supermarkets haven’t managed to lay their grubby mitts on.
It’s an old adage but with regards to food “quality not quantity” is most certainly true and this is where Farmers Markets triumph. Every ball of mozzarella is hand shaped, each slice of sirloin cut, all of the vegetables picked: by people who strive to ensure their products are a true reflection of themselves and their passion for food.
What’s more they will tell you about it. As does the person working in a supermarket to be fair, but they’ll only be reading the back of a packet or referring to guidance policy 7.a.1.4. (2014 revision).
Par example as the French would say: A couple of weeks ago I stopped off at Borough Market in London to have a look round and see what was on offer. During my fourth lap in as many hours (too many incredible food stalls) I got talking to brilliant people from Kappacasein Dairy.
To my amazement I was told the cheese was only made a mile away in Bermondsey. I was given a sample of every product on offer. Told how the milk is collected from Kent at 05:20 in the morning and returns to London still warm. Invited to call in on their premises. Sold some amazing cheese.
You will not get that in a supermarket. Fact. The enthusiasm, honesty, openness and passion were all infectious and as with every other stall, one couldn’t but connect with the producers and the products. Before you suggest these weren’t well devised sales pitches I was falling for, on both sides of the trestle table something much simpler had taken hold….
The love of food, the love of great food. It runs deeper than any sales pitch and was truly abundant in Borough Market, as is the case in any other farmers market I’ve been to.
In truth farmers markets and farm shops won’t feed us every day of the week but they do allow connections, understandings and new experiences to be had, ones that aren’t found elsewhere. They’re the perfect place to find a new product or discover that perfect treat.
So what are you waiting for? The weekend is almost upon us! Crack open Google, find your local farmers market and go on an adventure.
Happy shopping! GB