Great and inspiring programme on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Kitchen Cafe” about Scotland’s farmers’ markets and their future. Presenter Clare English spoke to (among other excellent contributors) sheep farmer, Jim Fairlie who was responsible for setting up Scotland’s first farmers’ market which launched in Perth in 1999 with 12 stall holders.
Jim recalled that his “eureka” moment came in 1998, after the BSC crisis when “farmers were on their uppers” and there was nobody to sell their produce to because “butchers were going out of business as well.”
Jim and his wife decided to take their two young children over to France for a caravan holiday where they visited a local farmers’ market. It wasn’t just the food that made a huge impression on him, he said. “It was the smells, and the atmosphere . . . and the people. There was an old, old woman with hands the size of shovels and a wee lad by her side, selling hams from a stall. And under the stall was a pup – which was also for sale!”
Back in Scotland, he approached Perthshire Council and the rest, as they say, is history . . . Now there are 50 plus markets being held across the country. “Farmers’ markets are a great place to test bed a new product” Jim said. But he has concerns about the future of farmers’ markets in Scotland and would like to see more encouragement from local authorities and some permanent indoor markets being made available to food producers.