Public support needed for the future of Budleigh Salterton Farmers’ Market
The market was established 10 years ago to give the community the opportunity to buy fresh locally produced or sourced products directly from producers, therefore reducing food miles and the impact the transportation of food has on the environment.
Since June, the number of stallholders has increased from around half-a-dozen to 15, with a call-out mid-summer boosting numbers in time for the re-launch event on Friday, September 29.
Regular stalls include cakes, goat, pork, venison, eggs, honey and curry paste, and new stalls will include paintings, jewellery, gluten free baked goods and Smartacups coffee; artisan coffee sold from a converted Smart car.
On the day, live music will be provided by mid Devon acoustic guitarist and singer Daniela Ruttinger.
The event is organised by Tom Garner, wildlife ranger for Clinton Devon Estates, who also has a stall at the market where he sells the venison he culls a few miles up the road.
“We’re so pleased with the response to the call out for more stallholders,” he said. “We were in a chicken and an egg scenario whereby we needed more stallholders to attract more visitors, but you need more visitors to attract more stallholders.
“But now we have the chicken! We just need the public to come and support the stallholders and this will hopefully keep the whole thing going, because if people don’t come, we’ll be back to where we were.”
The 40-year-old is responsible for the roe deer management programme over 18,000 acres of nearby Estate land as well as the butchery and creation of burgers, sausages and other venison products which, such is their popularity, typically sell out within an hour at the event.
Farmers markets are as likely to be found in our urban jungles as they are our rural market towns, but it is thought that austerity measures and the perception that markets are pricier than supermarkets, has put them at risk and they are in need of support if they are to survive.
Budleigh Salterton’s market has built up a good reputation and a loyal following of customers over the years, but keen to confront the issue of dwindling support head-on, Tom put a call out for more support earlier this summer, shortly after the closure of Exmouth Farmers’ Market in June, after 17 years.
“Markets are struggling in general,” Tom continued. “It seemed to start when austerity kicked several years ago. People have the perception that farmers markets are more expensive than the supermarkets when actually they’re not because you’re missing out the middle man.
“Exmouth sadly hasn’t survived, but Budleigh has everything going for it, but we need people to come along and support it.”
And the hope is that rather than draw attention away from established businesses in the town, the event will help to boost trade by attracting more people to the town centre.
“We hope the market attracts visitors to Budleigh who wander into town to browse the shops as well, therefore boosting trade,” Tom added.
Laura Mead, owner of Angelchops Cakes, has been a stall holder at the market for almost a year and sells a range of cakes from flapjacks and brownies to gluten free and vegan cakes such as lemon drizzle, and almond and polenta cake.
She said: “The market is very friendly. It’s lovely to have built up a collection of regulars who come back month after month for a little cakey treat! Last month I even had a marriage proposal after one chap tasted a piece of my cake – what a compliment!”
Budleigh Salterton Farmers’ Market is held on the last Friday of every month at Rolle Mews car park on Fore Street, from 9am until 1pm.
Prospective stallholders should contact Tom on 07815 090684 or [email protected]
For more information about the market visit the Budleigh Salterton Farmers’ Market Facebook page.