On a perfect summer day, Wellington Farmers’ Market took itself out onto the streets for the first time and attracted lots of passing trade through the town centre, as well as its regular Scouts’ Hall customers.
This is the first of what promises to be a regular occurrence for Wellington, prompted by the success of outdoor farmers’ markets in other towns in the area. The market is already open on the first and third Saturdays of each month, an increase from what used to be a once-a-month occasion. Now it has raised its profile again – with the possibility of having a regular venue on a traffic-free South Street as a further development.
Traders welcomed the decision to move onto the pavements outside the Co-op and the Post Office, a decision taken as the result of the increase in the number of stallholders, although, for some traders, the market would be better in one venue rather that three. One stallholder said, “We feel a bit isolated here. It would be better if we were all in one place.”
But another stallholder, John Andrews, welcomed the move: “It’s really good news for the Farmers’ Market. We’ve got a lot more stallholders wanting to trade here so that should help us all. I’m not sure about the idea of moving to South Street. It would cause quite a lot of disruption twice a month and, once we get more stalls here outside the Post Office, I’m not sure it will be necessary. We plan to put up more flags so that people passing in cars know we’re here.”
Chairman of Wellington Farmers’ Market, Michael Coate, said, “It’s been interesting to see how business has been this morning. It’s difficult to say whether trade has increased – and there are still some stalls in the Scouts’ Hall, but it’s a perfect morning so that’s a good start.”
One trader doing very good business was Jonas Fishmonger from Brixham. Since the demise of Don Jones in Cornhill and Samuels’ Fishmonger in the High Street, the town has had to rely on its supermarkets for fresh fish. On the evidence of one morning’s business, there is a ready market for local fish.
Farmers’ markets in general are a valuable resource for their communities, providing customers with local produce that has travelled few ‘food miles’ as well as attracting trade to the town. Having Wellington Farmers Market as a more visible presence in the town centre is a welcome development. As one customer said, “This is lovely. I shop regularly at the Farmers’ Market and the food is always such good quality. It’s good to see it out here on the pavements.”
Report & photos: Gill Paltridge