I was distressed to read this week that Dunfermline’s Farmers Market was under threat of closure. The article was printed in the Dunfermline Press, and although I am not sure how much truth there is in the story, I was concerned enough to take to twitter and facebook to encourage my fellow Fifers to use the market or risk losing it altogether.
If you think this is going to be a sanctimonious rant then be rest assured it is not. I am ashamed to say that I am not a regular face at my local Farmers Market. I know full well that there are fabulous local producers gathered at the Glen Gates on the second Saturday of every month; but like many people I often forget on the day or just take it for granted that I can pop along “sometime soon”. Perhaps this sort of complacency could in part be to blame for the downturn in footfall at Dunfermline Farmers Market.
Feeling rather contrite, I headed off to the Glen Gates last Saturday morning on a mission to buy local produce and support this fabulous asset to my town. It was a pretty dreich day truth be told, but the top of the town was buzzing with Christmas shoppers. As you head further down Dunfermline High Street the shops and shoppers thin out a bit and then you get to the Glen Gates, the site of the market. The Market Co-ordinator was cited in the Dunfermline Press as suggesting that parking is a problem and I would agree that it is indeed an issue, however there are plenty of shopppers at the top end of the high street so I don’t think parking is entirely to blame.
The Glen Gates is a great spot for a market but I think location in this case is both a strength and a weakness. It is perfect in terms of space I grant you, but it is really not very visible to the average Dunfermline shopper. Surely they know that the market is on, just minutes away from Marks and Spencer? Well no, not really. There is nothing that I could see to remind shoppers that there is a Farmers Market happening right under their noses. No banners, no A-boards – nada! Marketing is my day job and I often get frustrated at the lack of marketing on the ground for events. A few A-Boards at the top end of the High Street promoting the market could do wonders?
The Farmers Market in Dunfermline has around a dozen local producers selling their wares including the fabulous Puddledub , Trotters Condiments and the Wee Pie Company. It wasn’t long before my shopping bag filled up and I began to question why I am not a market regular. I bought some marvellous Sweet Chilli Sausages from Puddledub which were later transformed into a Sausage Roast with Chorizo, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, peppers, paprika and rosemary. I also bought some Anster Cheese which BC and I tucked into along with oatcakes and lashings of plum chutney from Craigies Farm Shop. A couple of Cheiften’s Choice Pies from the Wee Pie Company also made it into my bag. This is a Venison and Chorizo pie which I plan to have with roast beetroot, sweet potato and cherry tomatoes – very much looking forward to it.
The lovely folk from the Fife Diet also had a stand on which stood the marvellous Christmas Mystery Recipe tree. Recipes hidden within a silver macrami star hung on a little tree, free to take. My mystery recipe was for Cloutie Dumpling – will try this soon so watch this space. As well the opporunity to buy beautiful local food it was lovely to chat to the local producers who are so passionate about what they are selling. Makes a change from a justifiably bored looking check out girl in Tesco.
West Fifers need to do a better job of supporting their local Farmers Market and perhaps a bit more needs to be done to give us a shove in the right direction. The Grumbling Tummy is one Fifer who has been guilty of complacency, but no more!
So if you are from around Dunfermline then please visit your market on the second Saturday of every month from 9am – 1pm. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Those from other parts of Scotland – please find out where your local Farmers Market is and use it.