7 Nov 2009

Off To Market We Go

I am about to start a part-time job working as PR for Hampshire Farmers' Markets in the south of England so today, I decided to pop down to the local market at Alton and have a look at what's on offer.

I took my eldest with me and I have to say, the visit didn't start off well because after we parked, I got something out of the boot and as I shut the boot door, it clipped his head. For a few minutes, I thought we were going to end up going straight back home but after a few tears, he pulled himself together and off we went.
Hampshire Farmers' Market is a not-for-profit organisation that Hampshire producers can apply to join if they grow, rear, bake, bottle, pickle or otherwise produce their goods wholly within the county or ten miles of its border.
Among its produce are meat and baked goods, organic fruit and veg, buffalo meats, fish, game, cheeses, home made sausages, honey, Hampshire's famous watercess and all sorts of preserves.
My eldest did a fair bit of tasting and made a few recommendations for purchases which, as he'd been so brave about the head injury, I went along with. We bought, amongst other things,cakes, sausages, watercress, some cheese, a large focaccia and my son had a burger that he was very impressed with.
Going to the Farmers' Market is an adventure, a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, seeing all the different foods that aren't available in the supermarket. It's a great way to educate your kids that food has an origin that doesn't have Tesco or Sainsbury's on the label.
Many of these producers have thought up innovative products such as watercress pesto from Cresson Creative which I meant to buy but I forgot as I so impressed with the watercress flatbread - next time I'll get some.
I think it's really important to support your local Farmers Market- even if you can only afford to buy one item, you are helping not only the local economy, but doing your bit for the environment as well. The food you buy there has to be fresher and have used fewer food miles than supermarket produce. It doesn't pretend to be a total replacement for your weekly supermarket shop but it does offer a unique opportunity to buy something incredibly tasty that hasn't travelled half way across the world to get to you.
I'm really looking forward to helping Hampshire Farmers' Markets promote its members. As well as the website: www.hampshirefarmersmarket.co.uk, where you can find out about the producers, they're also on Twitter so you get up to date information about markets and events.
And the markets are held come rain, shine, sun or snow on the dates advertised, so if you haven't been to your local market lately or even at all why not give it a go - you know it makes sense.