Just when I thought that I had reclaimed my weekends after the series of articles I wrote on farmers’ markets I received an email informing me of a new one opening in Pudsey on the first Sunday of each month.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the inaugural one in September so I turned up on 7th October for event number two.
I have bemoaned the fact that some of the so-called farmers’ markets have several gift stalls and the same goes for this one although, to be fair,it is billed as a Craft and Food Market. It is organised by the same people who do the Farsley event and, like that one, the gift stalls are in an adjoining building whilst the food element is held outdoors. The popularity of the craft side means that there is a bit of an overspill into the provisions area but not overwhelmingly so.
The first thing that I must point out is that my photographs may be a bit misleading as they seem to show meagrely stocked stalls. This is not because the traders came ill-prepared, but is because of the immense popularity of the event and the danger of some of them being sold out in record time.
I arrived at 11.00am to find that the market square was packed with shoppers. The sellers of jams, pickles, sauces, cheese and oils were fine as their products have a long sell-by date so can be brought in bulk and their unsold goods taken back for another day. The bakers, butchers and vegetable sellers were in a different situation altogether. Some of them had sold out completely at the first event and brought extra stock this time, but even so their wares were dwindling rapidly.
Stuart at Artisan Traditional World Cuisine told me that his wife had been baking since three o’clock in the morning and they were physically unable to bring any more than they had, but several lines had sold out in no time. The same applied to Little Loaves Bakery from Allerton Bywater with their sweet cakes, who had obviously been doing a roaring trade. Black Mouse Cheese and Wine Emporium was the trader having the fewest food miles as their premises are only just around the corner in Lowtown. The Candied Peel Cake Company wasn’t too far behind being based, like Artisan Traditional World Cuisine, in Farsley. Another local trader was Woodlands of Pudsey, whose vegetables and honey looked to be very popular.
One trader who had been able to bring enough stock was Badger’s Garden from Mirfield (feature photo). They make jams and chutneys from home grown fruit and vegetables cultivated in their garden, named after the family dog, Badger, who loved to play there and eat the raspberries! The owners are the same family as the proprietor of Hepworth’s Deli and Olive and Rye in Leeds City Centre, so high quality food is obviously in the genes.
Other traders worth a mention are the Pextenement Cheese Company from Todmorden, whose produce is all organic; Gill Orme Quality Meat Products from just a little further west in Lancashire and a couple of unnamed smaller traders selling pies, pasties and cakes.
The trader whose produce had come the farthest was Family Kardamakis, who is a regular at all of the markets I have visited and sells olives and olive oil from their estate in Crete. The food miles are compensated by his selling olive oil ‘on draft’ from a container into your refillable receptacle to save on packaging.
I am so glad that I received the email telling me about this Sunday market as it is obviously a great success and well worth a visit. Anything which makes it easier for we city dwellers to obtain fresh produce with very few food miles has to be a good thing. Might I just make a plea however that, should you be contemplating setting up a new farmers’ market in the Leeds area, you give it a month or two so that I can at last sample the delights of a lazy weekend in front of the telly!
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.