Leeds and Beyond – Farmers Market 9: Knaresborough

For this edition of my Farmers’ Market series, I am in the beautiful town of Knaresborough. It is only a couple of stops further than Harrogate on the rattler and well worth the trip.

For those of you who have not visited this picturesque town, you are missing a treat as it has everything for a full day out. You do have to be fairly fit though as it is in two parts, the river being in a valley and the town centre at the top of a steep hill.  There is a set of steps to enable you to cover both bases, or you could bottle out and nip on the bus for a couple of stops.

Sightseeing was not on the agenda today though as there was the monthly Farmers’ Market to review. It is held between the hours of 10.00am and 3.00pm on the third Saturday of each month in, you’ve guessed it, Market Place, is at the top of the hill next to the bus station. The market is a very intimate affair and, along with the one at Wetherby, has only about a dozen stalls. Again, like Wetherby it concentrates on food rather than crafts although there were two ladies selling gifts.

The first thing which struck me was the layout of the market in that the stalls were laid out round the market cross which was nice, but they all faced outwards from it. This meant that to have a look at all of the traders’ wares you have to do a full circuit of the square.  Had they faced inwards it would have made a more congenial space and all of the stalls’ goods would have been on view at the same time. In the resultant grumpy old man mode I set off on my lap of dishonour.

There was the usual variation in wares with Really Indian goodies such as paneer role, onion bhajis and samosas, through Gluten Freekz with their selection of pastries for allergy sufferers and the rest of us naturally, to DoggyWoggyWooWoo.com who produce homemade pet treats. The lovely couple who run this stall assured me that none of the ingredients is only suitable for dogs.  In fact they taste everything themselves. I did comment that their coats looked particularly shiny but I had put that down to excessive wear. I also suggested that they do something about their wet noses and advised them to avoid lampposts in the square.

All photographs by Stan Graham.
Skotch’d, the Scotch egg people were there as was Por Favor fudge. It was good to see the spirit of the movement represented by a local fruit and veg stall which seemed to be doing a roaring trade. The other producer with which I had a chat was Barlow’s Bee’s Local Honey from Wakefield. Like the other apiarists I have met whilst writing these articles he is totally dedicated to the pursuit and justly proud of his products. On the savoury front, Nat’s Delights were there with their selection of chutneys, oils and vinegars along with contagious beaming smiles which came free of charge.
Two bakers which caught my eye were Totally Baked with their selection of home made pies and pork rolls all of which looked delicious, and Gerhard’s Pretzels. Gerhard was a chemist and hails from Germany where he took his children on holiday several years ago. When they returned they asked their dad why they could not get the same standard of pretzels here and could he try to make some. After a process of trial and error he eventually got it right and now sells his creations at markets and at other foodie events.
I enjoyed my visit to Knaresborough very much but I really do wish that they would turn the stalls round.

Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living.  He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds.  He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.

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