Being a farmers son from Northern Ireland, (and having a few days home at the farm today) yet living in London I do try to support British produce and farmers markets. My closest is Clapham Farmers Market, yet I also go to Oval Farmers Market which is across from the Oval Lounge – my extended living room!
Essential Travel have just released a poll of the global top 10 farmers markets and I’m so pleased to see that the UK has 5 entries out of the top 10
Winchester Farmers’ Market, Hampshire
This bi-monthly market exemplifies the spirit of the farmers’ market. All the incredible produce comes from local farmers and suppliers. From standard fruit and veg to organic soap made from goat’s milk, you’ll find an incredible selection. It’s this blend of top quality goods and innovation that has won Winchester the FARMA’s ‘Urban Farmers’ Market of The Year’ award.
Stroud Farmers’ Market, Gloucestershire
Stroud Farmers’ Market has been critically acclaimed by several major UK publications, taken home awards and become one of the most talked about markets in the nation. Running every Saturday between 9am and 2pm throughout the year, the market hosts up to sixty stalls that offer all the delicious, wholesome produce you’d expect from suppliers who grow their own goods. During the last weekend of each month a Flea Market joins the scene and gives shoppers an impressive range of stylised garden accessories and furniture to browse.
Bath Farmers’ Market, Somerset
Bath Farmers’ Market was the first of its kind in the UK, dating back to September 1997 as a response to Local Agenda 21 and the move towards localised solutions for national problems. The market, which began as a monthly initiative to do something positive for the whole community, has turned into a celebrated affair. From prize-winning cheeses to meat, seasonal fruit and veggies, pastries, cakes and homemade preserves, the produce delights anyone’s taste buds. The market’s pledge is for quality and fairness all round. www.bathfarmersmarket.org
Moseley Farmers’ Market, Birmingham
Moseley Market is another big, multiple award winner (most notably the 2012 FARMA ‘Best Market’ award), committed to benefiting the community. Held every fourth Saturday of the month, Moseley Market has over fifty stalls and offers a wide range of produce that’s as tasty as it is healthy. All surpluses made by the market are reinvested into the community, in keeping with its initial goal to add a new shopping experience for locals and visitors.www.moseleyfarmersmarket.org.uk
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, Edinburgh
Scotland’s largest market is set against the backdrop of its spooky and beautiful castle, making it one of the most scenic locations on this list. It’s also a great market that offers a wide variety of locally grown and reared produce, ranging from game specialities like water buffalo to seafood delicacies like lobster, as well as veggies, micro-brewed beer and wine, crafts and more. There are over fifty stalls operating every Saturday. www.edinburghfarmersmarket.co.uk
Chico Farmers’ Market, California
Chico is aptly known as the ‘City of Trees’, a nickname that becomes blatantly obvious the moment you drive into town. The almond and walnut fields, as well as the oak trees lining the streets, are part of the charm of this agricultural city in Northern California. It also boasts one of the nation’s most festive and friendly markets and over the years has developed a reputation for being a firecracker market that may be small compared to those in San Francisco or New York, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in good vibes, variety and top quality products. ”Fortunately Northern California is the bread-basket of America, almost any kind of fruit, vegetable, nuts and grain grows here,” explains Reid Seibold, one of the market’s key vendors and facilitators. “It’s one of the few climates where everything does well. We’re uniquely set to have a great farmers’ market here.”
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, Barcelona
Barcelona’s famous La Boqueria market dates all the way back to the 1200s, when it was first used as a meat market for local farmers. What stands today is a colourful celebration of flavours, smells and textures that will appeal to all your senses at the same time. The variety of fruit, meat, vegetables and flowers is mesmerising and the market’s has become world-renowned. If you haven’t been to de la Boqueria, it’s because you haven’t been to Barcelona yet.
Port Louis Market, Mauritius
Mauritius is a small, lively tropical island off the coast of Africa. Most tourists come for the affordable, all-inclusive resorts, stunning scenery (including the beautiful Le Morne Peninsula – a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and impressive coral reefs. But the market in the capital city ends up turning as many heads as the natural attractions. Inside the main produce building you’ll find a hugely impressive selection of fruit, veggies and herbs .Outside you’ll find three separate buildings for beef, pork and seafood. Be sure to head inside early if you’ve got a weak stomach because the heat can make things a bit pungent by the early afternoon.
Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market, Sedgefield, South Africa
Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market has one of the premium spots in the world as its venue: the Garden Route of South Africa. Before you’ve had a chance to process the smell of the food and freshly cut flowers, your eyes are absorbing everything around you. The long, hilly road that takes you to Sedgefield, where the market is located, is punctuated by a number of spectacular vista points and stopovers. The market itself is outstanding. It has been the recipient of multiple awards since opening in 1999 and has spearheaded a nation-wide wave of markets that try to emulate the Wild Oats “Slow Food” ethos – visitors and locals are given the opportunity to discover exactly what they’re eating, where it comes from and whom they are supporting.
Medina Of Marrakech, Morocco
Morocco’s famous Medina is a spectacular display of human motivation, as the market sets up and closes with the rising sun each day. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Medina is by far the most mysterious and enchanting entry on this list. Rather than a cover band and buskers on the sidewalk for entertainment, you’ll find snake charmers, fortune tellers and sword swallowers. And the spices and local food are just as unmissable and hypnotic. It’s more like a bizarre dream than a traditional farmers’ market and it deserves to be visited in person to be fully appreciated.