Green shoots of recovery as market makes Fargate move

SHEFFIELD Farmers’ Market has doubled in size in just two months following its move to a new home on Fargate.

The monthly market, launched at Barkers Pool in 2003, initially built up a loyal customer base, but numbers had dwindled in recent months.

However, Thursday’s market – the second at its new site – attracted more than 20 stallholders.

“The footfall is a lot higher and the number of traders has doubled this year,” said principal markets officer Andrew Chappell.

“We were having to consider the market’s long-term future. Now it’s been relocated the signs are that it will continue to grow.”

Spring sunshine brought out customers last Thursday, and they milled around stalls at the top of Fargate selling meat, pies, vegetables, cheese, chocolate and flowers. At the lower end of the precinct was a Tunisian-style market.

Meanwhile, some city producers have launched their own food market, at Bradfield Village Hall, driven by what they see as abuse of the term ‘local.’

“Most of the producers at the farmers’ market are from outside the city, but they still bang on about ‘local’,” said Eddie Andrew, founder of Dungworth-based Our Cow Molly dairy products.

“Everyone has a different definition for what that is – it’s a woolly term and I don’t think it gives any credibility.”

Sheffield Farmers’ Market is open to any traders who produce their own goods and, where possible, source ingredients within a 50-mile radius. But critics say this is too far.

In contrast, neighbouring Derbyshire has a 30-mile limit which is enforced by an official trading standards definition.

Sheffield’s Senior Trading Standards Officer, Craig Fisher, said there were no plans to introduce similar guidelines.

The Bradfield market, which staged its fourth event last week, has more than 20 stalls, all from within the city boundary.

Traders included Sheffield Honey, Bradfield Meats, Gerty’s Pork, Bradfield Brewery, Catherine’s Choice, Sheffield Bakers and Tea Box.

“It’s now the largest indoor farmers’ market in Sheffield – and, more importantly, the biggest supporter of Sheffield food,” said Eddie Andrew.

“We are proud to have been licensed to use the protected Made in Sheffield trademark… there is a growing army of producers who can also use it.

“I’m really keen that Sheffield changes the constant reference to ‘local’ and is proud to get behind its fantastic artisan producers and promote them as Sheffield Food.”

lNext Bradfield market: April 23, Fargate market: April 28.