greentapestry : Of Country Markets

Thursday 11 December 2008

Of Country Markets

Today took me in the direction of the market town of Frodsham where I was meeting friends for lunch. I fitted in some odd ends of Christmas shopping beforehand. Panic is beginning to set in. Why is it that my plans to have it all done and dusted by the beginning of December have failed abysmally ? I am beginning to come to the conclusion that leaving things to the last minute is part of my genetic makeup.

My first stopping post was the Country Market which is held weekly every Thursday morning. I have been going the market on and off for about fifteen years or so, both as as a customer and in the past as a producer. Country Markets Ltd is a co-operative organisation that gives home producers the opportunity to sell items at markets throughout the country. Its roots go back to 1919 when the first W.I.(Womens Institute) Market took place in Lewes, Sussex. W.I. markets were started as outlets for surplus produce from gardens and small holdings, and allowed women and men to supplement their incomes. Markets slowly but surely expanded throughout the country. In 1995 Markets separated from the National Federation of Women's' Institutes, adopting a new name 'WI Country Markets Ltd'. In 2004 the use of the WI initials was discontinued

My local Country Market provides an excellent source of homemade bread, cakes, pastries, jams, chutney and honey. There is also craft produce in the shape of handmade greetings cards, knitted items and jewelry. In the summer months the trestle tables outside groan alarmingly with a tempting array of plants, cut flowers as well as fruit and vegetables. The market has provided me with a good number of plants over the years which are grown locally and lovingly by the producers. I have been a producer in the past selling plants. For the princely sum of five pence anybody over the age of 16 can become a shareholder and sell at market. Markets take a percentage usually 10% from the producers which goes to cover the expenses of running the market. I enjoyed producing and may return now that I have more time on my hands. There is quite a bit of paperwork involved i.e. labeling each plant as well as filling in an invoice detailing what you have bought to market. However for anyone wishing to dip their toes into the water as far as selling plants go it can be a good place to start.

Today I picked up a jar of seasonally named 'Christmas Chutney' but I am hoping to return next week for a seasonal wreath for the front door. Come the new year I am sure that more plants will make their way home with me whether from my local Country Market or those that I have come across on holiday.


  1. Chippenham's market has really gone downhill. So much so I think the town should be stripped of its Market Town title. However, we're within walking distance of a farm shop which is as yummy as the market you describe Anna. Perhaps I need to resolve to make better use of it next year, especially as it's also opened a cafe!

  2. What a shame about the market VP as they can be such great places to browse and shop. A farm shop within walking distance and with a cafe too - now there's temptation!


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