With ever growing concerns about where our food comes from, having a reliable source where we can buy quality food and drink is essential. As people become more aware of the vast array of local produce they have on their doorstep, the greater opportunity there is for local businesses to thrive. A great way to showcase local produce is through the establishment of farmers markets. The frequency of these events has grown over the years, thus maintaining a loyal customer base. Barbara Wardlaw, Co-ordinator of the Fife Farmers Market took the time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about the project and its success with the local community.
What was the inspiration behind establishing a Fife Farmers Market?
Farmers in the region of Fife produce so many wonderful products. This was the impetus behind establishing the Fife Farmers Market, as the community was lacking a direct sales outlet for their produce. It also allowed farmers to liaise directly with customers, which really supported them in expanding their client base.
What do you attribute to the success of the Fife Farmers Market?
Consumers are more aware and more conscious about the things they eat. They want to know how their food is grown and where it comes from. Farmers markets facilitate this, as customers can ask the producers questions directly. In turn this allows consumers to make more informed choices about what they are eating. This level of service teamed with high quality produce keeps customers coming back time and time again.
How do local producers become involved in the Fife Farmers Market?
Any producers interested in participating in the Fife Farmers Market should contact us so we can talk them through the process. After the initial enquiry has been made, we send farmers a stall holders application to complete. If they comply with our market rules, the application is then forwarded onto the Fife Farmers Market Committee. The final stage, if necessary, is a visit to the producer’s premises to confirm our health and safety requirements are being met.
How did you become involved in the Crail Food Festival?
We have several food links with a number of the participants in the festival, and being a local event, we were happy to help on the promotional side. It’s a wonderful event that’s helping to drive forward the notion of eating local, whilst serving as a platform to provide local residents with more information about the availability of high quality, local produce across Fife.
In your opinion, what more can be done to promote local produce?
By getting information into schools, we can start with the younger generation, encouraging them to adopt these values before any others can take hold. We also need to educate consumers on the value of buying local, and the positive effects it has on the local community.
What makes Fife produce so special?
There are so many things that make Fife produce stand out from its competitors. Not only are we the largest broccoli producer in Europe, we also have one of the best shellfish fishing coasts in the East, supplying and enabling local restaurants to be some of the best in Britain. We also have world class arable farmers producing crops that make renowned porridge oats and malt whisky. This teamed with a largely diverse livestock industry, which includes buffalo and wild game, it’s easy to see why Fife is a globally revered food producer.