When it comes to overused phrases in the media, they don't come more familiar than the old classic 'back to basics'. With everyone keeping a tighter hold on the purse strings recently, focusing on key essentials and foregoing unnecessary extravagances has become a bit of an everyday obsession. But we think we've discovered the easiest way to not only lower your weekly shopping bill, but also get the freshest, most delicious food in the process. Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with the humble farmers' market. Whilst the concept behind a farmers' market goes way back in history, when farmers bartered and exchanged goods with villagers, the UK's first official Farmers' Market was established surprisingly recently (1997) in the picturesque city of Bath. Taking place every Saturday from 9.00 - 1.30 at Green Park Station, the fantastically colourful selection of fruit and vegetables nestles alongside stalls of freshly baked bread, fine meats, sweet pastries, award-winning cheeses, decadent cakes, home-made jams and handmade chocolates. Suddenly the phrase 'eyes too big for your belly' is making a whole lot of sense! But why should we shop at farmers' markets? Don't we have everything we need in a supermarket? We check out 5 top reasons why a farmers' market should be on your list of places to visit this month:
It's more social than your local Sainsbury's Sometimes the only bit of interaction you get from the local supermarket is when the electronic check-out beeps a price at you. Head to a buzzing market and we guarantee you'll get a warm, squishy feeling inside. Dealing with real people - and not robots - feels surprisingly therapeutic.
You're surrounded by experts When you're at a farmers' market, you're able to speak with the people who are directly responsible for the food you see in front of you. Don't be afraid to ask about the produce - a proud farmer will happily chat away about his foodstuffs. Likewise, don't forget to ask them for advice on cooking tips. These guys are pros.
It's more environmentally friendly Most of the food at Bath's Farmers' Market is produced within a 40 mile radius of the city. This means that transport distance is kept to a minimum (that's less carbon emissions), whilst buying direct from producers also involves a lot less packaging. Invest in a couple of strong, reusable bags (Tesco's brightly coloured numbers are great) and fill it on up.
There's less wastage When supermarkets can't sell their produce, bizarre restrictions mean that they are forced to dump it (see our shocking post about dumpster diving here). An astounding 4.6 million tonnes of food are wasted by UK retailers every year. With the smaller scale, less intensive production processes of independent farms, the amount of wastage is drastically reduced.
It's all about taste No image specifications, no conveyor belts, and no bulk orders. Producers at a farmers' markets are typically traditional artisans that won't compromise quality over quantity. So what if you're courgette's a bit bent out of shape...
Why do you like visiting farmers' markets? Get in touch and let us know!
Check out Bath Farmers' Market website here.
We visit Bath Farmers' Market as part of Cookery Coach's Flavours of Bath tour. Click here for more details.