Moffat Farmers' Market to celebrate 10th birthday

Moffat Farmers' Market - customer at market stall
Norette Ferns

Moffat Farmer's Market will celebrate its 10th birthday on Sunday 12 May 2019.

The monthly market takes place in Moffat's iconic high street and has provided trading opportunities for over 150 businesses and attracted more than 100,000 shoppers since it began.

The birthday celebrations at this weekend’s farmers’ market will include chef cooking demonstration by local chef Matt Seddon of The Limetree Restaurant Hartfell House, roving tasters, music by Rab Smith and magic by Ryan Stokes. The market will be giving out free 10th birthday tote bags to customers while stocks last. Sulwath Brewers and Steilhead Cider will both be selling special edition bottles to mark the occasion, Saucy Desserts will be going retro with some of their original desserts and Annanwater will be creating two hot dishes showcasing their lamb.

Of the 18 original businesses taking part in the first market, three are still trading regularly at it, and the growth of farmers’ markets across Dumfries & Galloway has had a transformative impact on their businesses.

Sarah Burchell, Chair of Moffat Farmers’ Market, was one of those original three traders.  She explained:

"When Moffat Farmers Market began in May 2009 Annanwater had been in existence for just over one year. We started selling our lamb at Langholm Farmers Market because we wanted to be able to sell our meat direct to the consumer rather than selling through the livestock marts to supermarkets.

"Over the past 10 years we have increased our direct sales so that we now sell all our meat direct to the consumer, and this is done almost entirely through farmers’ markets.  Annanwater now sells three times as many sheep as in 2009 and the business income has increased by a factor of six. 

"But it’s not just about business performance. Farmers’ markets give us the opportunity to speak directly with the customer, where we can explain our farming methods as well as talk about cooking; both encouraging people who are less confident and exchanging recipes with proficient cooks. From customer feedback, we soon found that selling hogget and mutton rather than new season lamb was the market that fitted us best, so we changed our business as a direct result of that customer interaction. 

"Farmers’ markets are also hotbeds of business support and collaboration, and working with other small food and drink producers has been one of the real successes of the farmers’ market network in Dumfries & Galloway.  For example, working with The Little Bakery, we have developed our own traditional mutton pies, consistently lauded as the “best I have ever tasted” by our customers. Because of this incredibly positive feedback our next business development is to be selling these pies hot at a few local music festivals this year and to clubs and pubs for special events.

"Pioneering markets like Moffat have given us trading, marketing, collaboration and product development opportunities that we simply wouldn’t have had otherwise.  It’s been a great ten years and I’m sure Moffat Farmers’ Market will be around for many decades to come!"

Moffat Farmers’ Market takes place from 10am-3pm at Moffat Town Hall on Sunday 12 May.

Visit the Moffat Farmers' Market Facebook page for more information.