The regular calendar of Farmers’ Markets in Hope Street has at last begun. From now on the third Sunday every month is scheduled as Market Day for Hope Street Quarter. Farmers’ Markets are something different to look forward to: a great day out for adults and children alike, with fun opportunities to learn where our food comes from and who grows it.
After a false start in October, yesterday was the long-awaited commencement of the regular calendar [see schedule at the end of this article] of Hope Street Farmers’ Markets. At last, with luck, we have lift-off, and not a moment too soon.
And we were incredibly lucky with the weather, brilliant sunshine for the duration, not even really cold. The atmosphere of the event was cheerful and relaxed, just the right ambiance for a happy family Sunday outing – though I have to say I was surprised just how few children were actually around….
It’s really good to see the grown-ups enjoying themselves in such a time-honoured and positive way, but are we missing a bit of a trick here if we don’t bring the kids? Perhaps someone will begin now to think how this could be an occasion for them as well. It’s not often the opportunity arises naturally in the city centre for youngsters to meet people who have themselves grown the food and prepared the produce displayed before us.
Varied and fresh
Having said that, here was produce for everyone. Vegetable and fruit – including a variety of cauliflower (romanesca, a brassica with stunning tiny, spiral green florets) that I’d never seen before – plus cheeses, food of all sorts to eat right now, and much else, including candles and preserves for the coming festive season. Judging from the public response, everyone loves this sort of browsing and shopping.
One of the many attractions of farmers’ markets is that much of this produce had been grown or made by the actual people who were selling it – not a connection which is often so direct these days, when much of what we buy comes shrink-wrapped and complete with a fair number of attached food miles.
This was an opportunity for locally-based people to purvey their wares; hand-made goods and food which may well still have been in the field a few hours before.
The people running the stalls were pleased to be there, trade was brisk. I suspect that over time the current size of the market will grow considerably, if the regulations allow – already it stretches all the way along the Hope Street wall of Blackburne House.
We know of course that, locals though some of the growers and sellers may be, Geraud Markets, the organisation behind the venture, is big business; but someone has to organise all the detailed arrangements which these events entail. It seems Geraud now have a contract with Liverpool Council to do just that on several sites around the city.
Knowing more and feeling good
That however is only part of the story. This is the sort of enjoyable meeting-friends event that offers, especially, young people in the city a chance to see that fruit and vegetables don’t of necessity arrive covered in plastic.
It gives us a feel, too, for seasonal food. It reminds us, walking out in the open air as we make our purchases, that there is a cycle to things; we can eat for a whole year without bringing produce from across the world, should we decide to do avoid doing so. We can be ‘eco-‘, and enjoy, at the same time.
The market reminds us about nutritional quality – seeing produce presented so directly perhaps also helps us to think more carefully about what we are actually eating. Of course, food sold in supermarkets can also be fresh and nutritious – canned can be as good as ‘fresh’ – but the connection with its production is less overt.
Encouraging a healthy life-style
By a strange co-incidence, just today there have been articles in the local Daily Post about vegetables and health -the local Primary Care Trust has a Taste for Health campaign -and The Guardian, which offers thoughts by Zoe Williams on <a href="‘Vegetables and how to survive them’).
Liverpool people have the worst health in England and we owe it to our children to make sure their diet is as good as it can possibly be, encouraging them to understand the connection between what they eat and where it comes from. How better could we do it than by bringing them to a farmers’ market where they can see for themselves what it’s all about?
Liverpool City Council have contracted with Geraud to provide farmers’ markets. Perhaps they can now follow the example of the authorities in continental Europe (where Geraud began) such as Valencia and Aix-en-Provence, where, as I have seen for myself, the local markets make children really welcome?
It would do us all good, in every sense of the word.
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Calendar of Geraud Farmers’ Markets in Liverpool [subject to change, please contact to check as below]:
Monument Place Farmers’ Market (Lord Street) ~ Every 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month
Lark Lane Farmers’ Market ~ Every 4th Saturday of the month
Hope Street Farmers’ Market (Blackburne House end) ~ Every 3rd Sunday of the month
Other Geraud Markets in Liverpool:
Broadway (Indoor) Monday ~ Saturday
Garston ~ Friday
Great Homer Street ~ Saturday
Monument Place ~ Thursday, Friday & Saturday
Speke ~ Thursday
St Johns’ (Indoor) Monday ~ Saturday
Tuebrook ~ Thursday & Saturday
Toxteth ~ Tuesday
For more information contact: 0151 233 2165 / email@example.com