Wales’ agricultural show is nearly upon us and hopefully the weather will be kinder than it has been over the last few years. Welsh Country’s focus of course will be mainly on food with two areas for us to cover, the Food Hall, which is run through the Welsh Government and the Farmers Market In Wales area, under the direction of Steve Shearman.
The producers that are in the Food Hall will be counting on lots of people through obviously, but also that the layout that will allow visitors the chance to browse and purchase at their leisure. Last year’s layout simply didn’t work and the crowds were so huge that is was verging on dangerous as people in wheelchairs and those with buggies were literally carried along with the flow, but struggled to even see the stands properly,let alone purchase. I hope lessons have been learnt by the organisers and that they realise how important this event is to our producers. Stand prices are very expensive in the Food Hall and a producer told me at the weekend that after paying in full, they’d be pestered for additional payments for electric, so unsure what had gone wrong there. But what I did find disappointing is that traders are charged £48.00 per night to park their caravans. It’s some time since I was in a caravan doing a tradestand, but usually we got it free or at the most a minimal charge. I haven’t a clue what today’s standard rate is for a caravan pitch but around £6.00 – £10.00 per night was the norm. In some ways I can understand private accommodation providers trying to make the most money possible during the RAWS week, but what I find upsetting is that this is caravan charge is being made by the RWAS. If RWAS are able to charge visitors £48.00 a night, fair enough, I understand that they have to make money. But what I don’t like is it feels like RWAS attitude is if you want to be here that’s what you must pay, take it our leave it. But I do think it would be a great gesture if RWAS would look again at traders’ caravan charges and make them more reasonable. The trader I was speaking to is paying out over £1,000 for a stand in the Food Hall, excluding samples, so I can only hope that this year the Food Hall does work well and the producers have a busy and profitable show – they certainly need it.
Head for Stand A42 to find the Farmers’ Markets in Wales Catering Concession, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this area looks and works. The market always has a great vibe about it. There’s nothing better than seeing families declining the vast array of fast-food that’s always on offer and enjoying good local food and drink with lots of taste and flavour – coming literally from Welsh forks in the ground to the fork on your plate at the Royal Welsh Show. It will be the ultimate fork to fork experience.