I have mentioned before about the unique atmosphere of each of the farmers’ markets I have visited, and today’s is no exception, although if it is unique it has to be an exception.
Farsley is the smallest one I have been to so far, but it was the weekend when the heatwave broke and it was wet and windy, so a couple of the regular stallholders had bottled out but, as they say, size isn’t everything.
The event is held on the 4th Saturday of each month between 9.00am and 12.30 and is split into two sections. There is an indoor market specialising in arts and crafts, so that was in full swing as the weather had no bearing on it. In fact, it was probably busier than it would normally have been as visitors were able to shelter from the elements.
Outside in the car park, the stalls were a mixture of the familiar; Sian’s India Express, Nigel Ellis Fish Sales, Family Kardamakis and Yorkshire Pie Bakery, but there was also a good selection of traders who only come to this event, and some of them did not even have a banner with their name on. There was a local apiarist who seemed more intent on recruiting people into taking bee-keeping courses and joining the fold than actually selling any of his own honey, jam, marmalade, chutney, pickles and eggs. As with a lot of traders I have met he is super enthusiastic about what he does, and quite rightly so.
I next spoke to a delightful young couple who were giving their homemade cookies a first outing. Their variety of produce is based on popular sweets such as Rolo, Wispa, Kinder etc. I wish them good luck. There was a cheese stall which sold other foodstuffs made by different producers to give shoppers a bit of variety, and The Candied Peel Cake Co. with their range of home made confectionery.
Finally, the stars of the show for me were Stuart and his wife, who have a stall each. They were never going to be put off travelling to the event for two reasons: firstly, Stuart organises the outdoor section and secondly, they only come from two streets away. Stuart has been working in the food industry for many years, having begun his career at the age of 15 whilst still at school earning extra pocket money by prepping ingredients at the local Chinese take-away, the inappropriately named Yuk House. He then went on to do several jobs, including being in charge of the kitchen at the wonderful Bridge Inn at Kirkstall. He now has his own smokehouse using the traditional method of hanging food from the ceiling to cure it and covers the full range of charcuterie, sausages, cheese and fish. Even though he is now in his fifties he is embarking on a new venture trading from a street food van and selling food from around the world. I am sure that he will do very well. His wife and daughter were taking care of the other stall which sells baked items with their origins in various exotic parts of the world. Heck, they even have Scotch Eggs! Talk about dedication to the cause, she told me that she had been up since 4.00am baking everything on view.