Farmers markets are great fun, whether you are just browsing the local produce or looking to support businesses by getting a weekly shop. Often taking place in the heart of towns and villages, the markets can sometimes have constraints with accessibility. Narrow streets and cobbled stone paths are not the friendliest for those with limited mobility, especially if you have to navigate them on a motorised mobility scooter. Some markets have made great efforts to make their events inclusive, so come rain or shine, everyone can attend.
Not only do farmers markets allow you to enjoy seasonal and local food, they can also help to connect you to your community. As a regular event, it can foster friendships and integrate you into a new community or one you are not particularly familiar with.
St Ives Farmers Market
9:30 until 14:00
A platform for great Cornish food, the St Ives Farmers’ Market consistently brings fantastic local produce to the forefront. Held at The Guildhall and Street an Pol, accessibility ramps and space between stalls ensures it is an inclusive event. The market is run by a community group GULP _ Great tasting Unbeatable Local Produce. This not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to bringing this county’s fare to its residents. It is also hugely successful, winning a gold Taste of the West Award for 2017.
The market includes businesses based within 30 miles of St Ives and local favourites, such as the Cornish Pork Pantry and The Cornish Smokehouse. With buskers adding music to the mix, this market has a great atmosphere and friendly stall holders.
Perth Farmers’ Market
First Saturday of the month
9:00 until 14:00
Showcasing some of Scotland’s finest local produce, Perth Farmers’ Market takes over King Edward Street and the high street and is home to some 40 odd stalls. If you are looking for meat, preserves, drinks or confectionary, this dedicated market is great for any burgeoning foodie. The food demonstrations that occasionally grace the market are definitely worth attending. Using the produce available, local chefs, food writers or cookery school owners demonstrate new recipes or innovative techniques for utilising the incredible flavours. Adeline from the market told us about its accessible element:
“It is very accessible. The market takes place in a pedestrianised street. We leave clear paths behind stalls for pedestrians and wheelchair users to have access to shops etc. We ensure that all dropped pavements are kept clear for wheelchair users. The market stalls are positioned down both sides of the street with the stalls facing each other. There is a good 6-metre space between them giving plenty of space for pedestrians and wheelchair users alike.”
Aberystwyth Farmers’ Market
First and third Saturday of the month
10:00 until 14:00
Held on North Parade, this low-key outdoor market is all about community. The street Aberystwyth Farmers’ Market is held on is one of the main roads in the town, and is completely accessible with paved, flat pavement and dropped curbs. However, it is outside so remembering an umbrella is essential.
Though Aberystwyth is known as a student town, the local community brings together some incredible goods from across Wales. Teifi Farmhouse Cheese is based about an hour south of Aberystwyth, but as the most highly awarded raw milk cheese maker in the UK, its stall is a regular fixture. There are some other award-winning and pioneering products on offer as well including whisky from Dà Mhìle Distillery. Responsible for the first organic whisky of the modern world, it also has a range of flavoured gin and liqueurs.
Ludlow Local Produce Market
Second and fourth Thursday of the month
9:00 until 14:00
Ludlow has a history of street markets going back to the twelfth century, and thus many different markets are held throughout the year, with as many as five a week. The Local Produce Market sources its business from a 30-mile radius and is held in the town square which is flat and accessible to all.
Showcasing everything from the wine at a vineyard to the specialised lamb, duck and charcuterie stalls, the food on offer is low on miles and big on flavour.
Swindon Outlet Farmers’ Market
10:00 until 16:00
This farmers’ market is a firm favourite, being shortlisted for awards by Country Living, DEFRA and NFU. The weekly market is a touch smaller than the others on the list but the intimate market has a true community spirit to it. Very close to the Steam Museum, you can make a day of it. The Steam Museum is fully accessible, with wheelchairs and motorised scooters available to hire. The farmers’ market itself is held at Swindon Designer Outlet which has Blue Badge Parking, is one level and has a number disabled bathrooms available.
The produce on offer has everything from cheese and preserves to wine and ciders. Highlights include the Wiltshire Chilli Farm, known for its spicy condiments and Pippin Doughnuts that are handcrafted and have a wide range of flavours available.
Oval Farmers’ Market
10:00 until 15:00
This market is a very friendly affair. Just spitting distance from the cricket ground, it is a great place to while away a Saturday while talking to stallholders and shoppers alike about the food on offer. It is situated in a garden so is not covered and is grassy rather than paved. However, it is a strong community gathering and has local craft stalls selling quirky jewellery and street food vendors among the produce on offer. Lawrence from City and Country Farmers’ Markets spoke to us further about the weekly affair:
“Our aim is to provide fresh produce and support small local business. There is a large range of produce you can find at the market – fruit and veg, cheese, organic bread, cakes, pastries, jams, hot food, butchers, free range eggs, etc. Also, we have quite a few local arts and crafts/vintage stalls.
“We do take seriously any situation when our assistance is needed in terms of the disabled access. There is disabled parking and direct access to the market including disabled toilet inside the church.
“The community is the core of our market but everyone else is equally welcomed to join us. Also, there is a large seating area across the market where our customers and friends can enjoy a peaceful Saturday and do some quality shopping.”