Ryan, from Little Welsh Deli told me about this local produce market and was so enthusiastic about it that on Saturday I drove over to see just what was going on. It was well worth the drive down to Swansea because I actually found quite a few signs that pointed my in the direction of the Community Centre. Other food festival organisers please note! But it’s annoying that this market, like many others across Wales doesn’t always have the Highways Department singing from their hymn sheet. This is sad especially when the organisers put out and take down their signs at the beginning and end of each market. It’s a huge pity that Highways and councils can’t work more closely and assist these volunteers rather than making their life more difficult. They are providing a great service not only for the traders but to the community too.
There was a craft fair running to which I always think is a great idea and another great idea is that ladies from various charities were serving tea, coffee and biscuits. It’s a super way for local charities to raise funds. All traders got a free drink as they were setting up and the lovely ladies were very efficient looking after the traders during the morning and clearing up the central table
were shoppers could have a rest and a chat before heading off.
Andrew Spowart is the organiser and it was good to catch up with him and congratulate him face-to-face for a job well done. There were only 13 food stands, but Andrew is very strict and rightly so that the stands must be different. You will not find five stands selling jams here! Little Welsh Deli of course were there, the stand run efficiently as always by clever cook and business lady Claire. If you’ve not yet tried their pasties – boy are you missing out! Hubby Ryan was busy too, but over at the Smallholder Show at Builth. We saw other familiar faces but also quite a lot that were new to us which was really interesting, not all had business cards or company signs on their stands, but in fairness some were new traders and I’m sure they’ll soon learn a few tricks of the food trade.
Another familiar face was Mike Pett, the organiser from Bridgend Farmers’ Market, Mike runs Pant Derwen Apiary, selling fantastic Welsh honey as well as many other bee products.
What is encouraging though is the way the Gower/Swansea area markets try to work together, helping and learning from each other, what I find terribly disappointing is that Fork2Fork with £800k of European funding has not been the lifeline that markets, farm shops and box schemes really needed.
Andrew impressed me in how much he cared that the footfall on Saturday was not as busy as he and of course the traders wanted, but the modest stand prices reflect that. Andrew also does regular leaflet drops around the estates and caravan parks and places posters locally too, so I’m sure things will improve. The bonus was that most people that did attend, did make purchases. I think it’s just important that we all try and get the message across that food from markets and festivals isn’t often as expensive as the supermarkets and certainly beats the supermarkets on quality and you knowfor certain where your local produce comes from. This is another message that Fork2Fork seemed to have failed to get across to the Welsh public.
Penclawdd Local Produce Market takes place on 3rd Saturday of each month 9.30 – 12.30.
Bridgend Farmers’ Market takes place on the fourth Saturday of the month 10.00 – 1.00.