Of all the Farmers’ Markets I will be visiting in this series, Harrogate is unique in that it is the only one not to be held at the weekend, taking place on the second Thursday of every month from 9.00am until 4.00pm.
It is probably just as well that it is a weekday event as it monopolises Cambridge Street in the town centre, which is normally shoulder to shoulder on Saturday and Sunday. It also provides a boost for the other shops in the area as it must improve footfall on a quieter weekday. Speaking of quieter days, this was certainly one of them as it clashed with the finale of this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, so locals give the town centre a wide berth unless they are within walking distance as traffic is normally choc-a-bloc. Ironically, everyone I spoke to said that the roads have been relatively quiet and they had no problem in getting in.
Once again there was a wide range of goods on offer to appeal to all tastes. Apart from a tea importer, the products on sale were produced locally and even the tea importer is based in York. In this series I am beginning to see a hard core of traders who attend several of the Farmers’ Markets but, that said, the atmosphere so far has been totally different at each one and I have no reason to doubt that this will change.
There was no entertainment here, not even a local busker, but there were a couple of hot food outlets which I have not encountered before, namely Lodge Farm Hand Made Burgers and Hog Roast, should you fancy some sustenance. For the non-meat eaters, there was the usual selection of cheese, vegetable and fruit stalls where I discovered the delights of the Tayberry. I had not come across these before and it seems that they are a cross between raspberries and blackberries. I had to give them a try and they are delicious, although not as soft as either of their parents. Then there were the cakes!
The more exotic fare was provided by The Taste of Sardinia, an Italian bakery based in Hessle but using authentic, locally sourced ingredients. The Leeds based Really Indian apply the same philosophy, making curry sauces from natural, healthy local ingredients. There was also a trader selling variations on Balsamic vinegar, artisan chutneys and preserves
If you are fortunate enough not to have to count the calories, there was Brown and Blond Brownies and, for the more traditional amongst us, Voakes Pies and Worsdale’s Farmhouse Baking. In the same diet-busting mode, one thing which caught my eye was Tricky Dickie’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, some of which were in microwavable cartons and contained their accompanying custard – oven-ready paradise.
Not everything here was food orientated as there was Simply Elle, a stall selling sterling silver jewellery and those old fashioned hand made wooden jigsaw puzzles. Two ladies had brought a selection of their Yorkshire Milled blankets and cushions from Barnsley, just the thing for a picnic in the heatwave or snuggling under on the sofa in the winter. Something for everybody.
Harrogate is one of the larger markets, so I will not bore you by listing all of the traders in attendance. I have many other ways of boring you, so just call and see.