Lee Valley and Irish Farmers Market
Back in November we spoke of how farmer’s markets in West Cork and in Kerry were where we began selling our flannel collarless Grandfathers shirts. Today we are going to discuss what products are available for us to buy at modern farmer’s markets.
There are many more Irish farmer’s markets in the towns around Ireland than there were fifty years ago. When they began centuries ago, they were a necessity, a way to trade your produce for another produce or service. Farmers would meet outside mass or at the crossroads and haggle to get the better deal form another farmer. The introduction of shops had little effect on farmer’s markets in rural areas, though they massively affected the town markets.
The big selling point that farmer’s markets have is the produce is their own individual and unique produce that is often seasonal. The seasonal aspect does not just affect the organic fruit and vegetable sellers but also the bakers and the conserve producers. Artisan food producers would be those most affected by seasonal produce.
A prime example of artisan food producers would be the food stalls at the Bantry Farmer’s Market every Friday morning from 9.30 am until 1 pm in the very central town square. A recently new stall has been set up by two local ladies, Siobhán & Liz , who sell homemade jams, chutneys, soups and stews. Mouth-watering aromas waft around our offices here at Lee Valley Clothing while the ladies are cooking these delicious dishes in preparation for the weekly market. Why do the tantalising aromas tempt us? Because they cook in the kitchen facility we have here at headquarters. Perhaps we should barter with them – rent for jam!
Other stalls at the Bantry farmer’s market are selling items such as: organic fruit & vegetables, home-baking, cheese, fish, meats, eggs, honey & jams, plants, local crafts and bric-a-brac. The best day to go is on the first Friday in the month as this is Bantry’s traditional Fair Day. Farmers, traders, locals and visitors mingle in the town square and follow where the market spills into the adjoining streets. You are quite likely to spot the odd donkey tied to a lamp post...
There are eleven farmer’s markets listed in the West Cork Markets website. This site gives you details such as the locations, times and market traders that will be there. Here’s a link to the West Cork Markets website.
Bord Bia has over 140 farmer’s markets and over 40 country markets listed on their website. That is a phenomenal listing. While Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE compiled their own list of 114 farmer’s markets. Bord Bia is Ireland’s Food Board. They are at the root of all things food-related. They are at the forefront of food technology, compliance and development.
A great idea when visiting Ireland is to take a route including farmer’s markets in a particular region or county. If you are more adventurous you could plot a route to market stalls of a particular food, such as artisan cheese producers or local crafts. You’ll be well fed and plenty entertained!
- Caitriona Hurley