Essex Farmers' Markets
The huge popularity of Farmers’ Markets across the UK today has marked a return to simple, uncomplicated, face-to-face transactions between producers and their customers, in the belief that bigger is not always better.
For more than half a century, the demands of modern living have encouraged the growth of a superstore mentality with its pre-packaged foods and all-year-round chain of supply. Seasons and regions where produce was at its natural best were bypassed in order to fulfil the commercial requirement of constant availability. Transport, packaging and volume of production were all geared to the needs of the industry and people began to forget the tastes of freshly picked fruit and vegetables, locally reared meat and traditionally baked bread and cakes.
Over the last decade, however, consumers have realised that there is an alternative. The wish to return to real food, produced near home, began to make sense as freshness, flavour and food value were once again seen as important. The food-buying public rediscovered farm shops and remembered how food once was before it was processed and pre-packaged for the international marketplace. They also became concerned about how many miles their food had travelled and the implications for the environment.
Creating Farmers’ Markets has proved to be the perfect way of re-establishing a direct relationship between producer and consumer. Their existence is helping to revive old craft traditions and small-scale production where commitment and direct accountability contribute significantly to the quality of the produce.
At Essex Farmers’ Markets, we are fostering these values by bringing selected local producers to village halls, high streets and market squares around the county. You could say that we are going back to the farm gate to rediscover a taste of Essex.