The Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is celebrating 15 years of success with an event in St Andrew Square involving top city chefs such as Neil Forbes and Mark Greenaway.
The only farmers’ market in Scotland to take place on a weekly basis in one place, it has gone from strength to strength despite a global recession.
Organisers have reported that footfall has risen by five per cent since 2008 and that the market welcomes on average more than 23,000 people every month. Meanwhile, the average spend per head at the market has increased from £20 in 2005 to £25 this year.
And events manager Brian McAteer has insisted that the market will continue to thrive by keeping pace with changing trends.
He said: “Food events in Scotland are evolving, and the market will too, ensuring we remain one of the top markets in Britain. Consumer satisfaction is high and we want to offer Edinburgh residents an experience alongside their weekly food shop.
“It is more and more important for consumers to be confident about the origins of their food and for young children to be aware of where and how they get their food.
He added: “Both shopping for and eating food are social occasions and the market is not just a retail experience, it is an event, an education, a community of food lovers who care about the future of Scottish farming and the benefits of shopping local.”
It has a huge variety of fresh local produce from more than 50 specialist producers, most of whom grow or rear what they sell.
The market has provided a springboard for more than 15 businesses, including Stoats Porridge Bars, Thistly Cross Cider, Findlater’s and Oink hog roast.
Farmers have also learnt new job skills from their involvement, including marketing, sales and retailing.
Mr McAteer added: “Farmers’ markets have been a lifeline for many rural farmers and businesses, allowing for diversification and access to audiences and customers they would not have been able to reach before.”
To mark the 15th birthday of the market, city centre workers will be given the chance to enjoy lunch featuring the best produce local farmers can offer, prepared by some of the Capital’s most celebrated chefs.
Farm to Fork, in St Andrew Square Garden tomorrow, will offer lunches prepared by ingredients straight from the market by top city chefs such as Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honore, Mark Greenaway, Victor and Carina Contini from Continis and Dale Mailley and Edward Murray from The Gardener’s Cottage. A mini market will feature producers offering fresh baked goods, organic meats, artisan chocolates and there will also be live music.
Roddy Smith, chief executive of event and farmers’ market organiser Essential Edinburgh, said: “It is tremendous to mark the 15th birthday of the market and also Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink with this celebration of the abundance of top quality local produce and the fantastic talent we have in our city chefs.”