Farmers’ markets more important than ever, say Shropshire bosses
Farmers’ markets are a proving to be a beacon of light for some communities as they continue to provide a vital service in rural areas.
In south Shropshire, both the Bishop’s Castle Farmers’ Market and Lydham Friday Market have continued to operate, under health guidelines, as organisers say it is important to carry on supporting local business where possible.
Living in rural towns and villages, many people rely on farmers’ markets to do weekly shops of fresh, reliable produce, said organiser of Lydham Friday Market, Warren Prosser. “The amount of people coming up to me on Friday to say thank you for having the market open was incredible – to the customers, the market is really important,” he said.
“People have been asking all week if the market is on and it has been busy again. We stayed open an extra half an hour this week so some elderly people and pregnant ladies could come in as they did not want to be in the midst of it. We have got hand soap and bins, posters, and stall holders were wearing gloves as well as a few customers. Sometimes the customers linger and chat but now they are coming to get what they need and going. There was also quite a few people coming in to do other people’s shopping. It has been so humbling the amount of people who have said to me thank you for keeping it open.”
As part of an initiative set up in Bishop’s Castle and surrounding areas, Warren and the traders at the market will also be helping to get food out to those in need. “We are working with the groups to do deliveries with the goods from the market, Orders will be coming in over the next few days and they will be able to pick them up and deliver them to those in need.” he said.
Over at Bishop’s Castle Farmer’s Market, Sue Willmer who works for the town hall trust, said they were still continuing to operate and were remaining positive.
“There will be a reduced number of stalls but there will be no queueing at tills like in supermarkets,” she said.
“We have antibacterial wipes and are always cleaning handles and surfaces, there is soap and water available for hand washing.
“There are people who can’t travel and who have not got cars to travel to big supermarkets, and small business need support. It’s nice having farmers markets, they are traders you can trust and know where it is coming from. Plus, we all need some chocolate to cheer us up at the moment.”