The Vale of Taunton Farmers Market
PUBLISHED: 14:29 24 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:53 20 February 2013
In 1999, the French came to Taunton with their market and people saw the potential of selling direct. Twenty growers and producers got together and set up a farmers co-operative to be run and owned entirely by its members. Twelve years on
Traditionally, farmers and producers saw their produce to the farm gate and waited for the cheque. It became obvious in recent years that this would not suffice if farming and growing were to have a future.
In 1999, the French came to Taunton with their market and people saw the potential of selling direct. Twenty growers and producers got together and set up a farmers co-operative to be run and owned entirely by its members. Twelve years on and the Vale of Taunton Farmers market is thriving.
The market is in Taunton High Street every Thursday and averages 23 stands a week. The range of products is good and strict rules are adhered to so the public know the produce is local and genuine. We are an Accredited Market (under FARMA rules).
We have a loyal core of customers who visit the market come rain or shine and enjoy the experience of discussing the products with the actual producer. Customers tell us they like to try different products each week and enjoy swapping recipes and ideas.
Food intolerances are well catered for at the market with spelt bread, gluten-free products, organic foods and foods suitable for diabetics.
Robin Small, market manager, says the whole shopping experience becomes a pleasure rather than a chore and as a producer himself finds meeting customers very rewarding.
Nick Strange, market chairman, has a wonderful repartee with customers buying his meat products and eggs and he says he really enjoys his day at market, even in the winter.
In a local context, the money spent at the market goes straight into the local economy. Producers are eco-friendly thereby adding much to the ethos of making local food special. The market organisers encourage schools and colleges to visit as these young people are future consumers. As one mother said, After my child came to the market she now asks to visit whenever she can. She loves the samples and the friendliness of the stand holders. She was given a strawberry plant of her own and was delighted.
Older customers, many living on their own, find the market a friendly place to shop where they can buy as little or as much as suits their needs.
The whole market experience has proved a boon to customers and the stall holders, many feel it was a life-line. Also, of course, exchange of produce between the group has benefitted everyone.
As one of our newest stand holders stated, I do many markets but the friendliness of the customers and the other stand holders at Taunton makes being there very worthwhile.
Come and visit us every Thursday between 9am and 3pm. We look forward to meeting you!
Taunton High Street every Thursday from 9am 3pm
Bridgwater Fore Street second Friday of each month