Page 31 - MarketTimesJune2014
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 Bakewell Farmers’ Market has grown from small beginnings in 2000 to become the second largest farmers’ market in the country, attracting hundreds of people to the Derbyshire town on the last Saturday of every month. NICOLA GOULD pays a visit
What makes a great farmers’ market?
There’s no definitive recipe for success, but Bakewell Farmers’ Market, in the Derbyshire Peak District, has all the right ingredients.
Set in the beautiful rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales, the town is a hub for the area’s rural economy and a magnet for tourists,
with attractions like Chatsworth House close by.
It has a very successful Monday charter market, and a reputation for fine food and fresh local produce, although there is no connection with Bakewell tarts.
The town’s signature dish is in fact Bakewell pudding, a different type of pastry. Apparently it was invented by the cook at the White Horse, now the Rutland Arms
Hotel, who mistook the instructions for making a jam tart with an egg and almond pastry base, and mixed the eggs and almond to make a filling.
Tarts and puddings aside, the combination of agriculture, fine food and tourism was perfect for a farmers’ market.
And Derbyshire Dales District Council provided the ideal venue when they gained EU funding to build an impressive Agricultural Business Centre (the ABC) on a green field site, with plenty of parking, just across the river from the town centre.
Richard Taylor, the ABC manager, explained that the new centre was built as a new home for the livestock market, which was showing its age, and tended to clog up the town centre on market days.
Opened in 1998, it’s an impressive building, with a main concourse, a conference room, meeting rooms, and car parking for 400 cars.
The council hoped the investment would be a catalyst to develop the rural economy, and what better
than a farmers’ market to showcase local produce and enterprise, and to bring in the crowds?
Richard said: “The farmers’ market was started in 2000 with just 28 producers. My predecessor did a good job searching out the best local farmers and producers, and it was pretty much a success from the start.”
The number of stallholders has grown from under 30 to the current 75, with around 50 on a waiting list.
The stalls fill the concourse area on the last Saturday of every month, with additional stalls outside the entrance.
The crowds arrive from 9am, and many traders are sold out well before the closing time of 2pm.
Richard said: “The rules for farmers’ markets are that everything must be grown, produced, reared or added value to by the people selling it.
“We try to source traders from a 30-mile radius and it is amazing the variety and diversity of the produce and products for sale,” he added.
 Richard Taylor, who manages the Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre, where the farmers market is held, is pictured (right) with markets assistant Bob Eccles
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