THROUGHOUT the country, farmers’ markets are now regarded as being very much ‘en vogue’.
There is an increasing emphasis on local produce, with consumers keen to know everything about the food they are purchasing.
One local market has been going from success to success since starting last year, with plans to hold a major autumn fair this weekend.
I recently met with three local traders who are involved with Butlerstown Farmers’ Market which is held each Saturday morning.
The market has been located in the Butlerstown Retail Park since Easter Saturday last.
Previously, the market operated from Butlerstown School Hall since it began in October 2012.
Candace Kavanagh, Peter Taylor and Caolan Harrington hope to attract regulars as well as newcomers to their autumn fair which is scheduled for this Saturday October 19th.
They explained what the Butlerstown Market has to offer and their hopes for expanding it even further.
“We’re running a market for ourselves and for everyone else,” explained Candace.
“Waterford has a huge amount of different traders and produce available. There’s plenty on offer in the area.”
With ‘The Boho Kitchen’, Candace offers a range of American style baked goods including brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and occasion cakes.
“There has been a surge in cake businesses and the number of people making cakes from home within the past few years,” she explained.
“I really enjoy coming to the market. You get to interact with the customers all day long, and it’s really nice to see the same people coming back each week.”
Peter Taylor sells his own blend of coffee, something he has been doing for around three years.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said.
He believes the market offers top quality products and allows people to browse in a relaxed atmosphere.
“The market offers hot food, arts and crafts, a variety of baked goods, coffee etc. They are all homemade, good quality products,” he said.
“We’re getting a good lot of repeat business because people now know where we are. It’s drawing in crowds and getting bigger each week. We have benches where people can sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and have their hotdog or brownie with a coffee or enjoy any of the other products on offer.”
Caolan Harrington of Crough Farm Venison believes the market acts as an important community venue as it allows people to meet up and relax.
“It’s nice to see people coming along and sitting down and spending time here. They don’t just buy their stuff and run away. They can get whatever they want and sit down and relax and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s nice to be able to provide that for people,” he said.
Caolan manages the family deer farm in Dunhill.
“I’ve been doing markets for around 16 years and we’ve stocked a few restaurants and small stores also,” he explained.
“A lot of people are very hesitant about trying venison. I enjoy being at the market as you get to talk to people about how to cook food, how to try things, what goes well with certain products etc. If someone comes to me looking for something in particular I can send them on to someone else. We are really trying our best to promote local traders, producers and craftspeople. We love the array that we have in the market at the moment and it’s only getting better!”
Caolan added: “People want to know more about what they’re getting and what they’re putting on their plate. They ask about where the food comes from, if it is our own, and all of us can say ‘yes, we’ve made it’. It’s nice to be able to say that to people.”
Currently, a craft stand costs €5, a regular stand €10, and stands for those requiring electricity are €12.
The recent Waterford Harvest Festival came in for some criticism from local producers who said they found it impossible to participate due to the high costs involved.
This year’s event relocated from its previous venue on The Quay to The Mall and Bolton Street instead.
“Unfortunately none of us could partake in it because of the cost. It wasn’t feasible or practical for us. It was a shame to miss out on the atmosphere and the festivities,” said Caolan.
“We ran the market on the Saturday during the festival and we actually got a huge surge in footfall that day which we weren’t expecting. We thought everyone would have gone into the festival instead. That was one of the busiest days we had in a long time. Since then our footfall is five times what it once was. It seems that word of mouth is spreading more and more. People are contacting us about taking part and asking what’s available at the market. Every week we get people coming to us saying they didn’t realise we were here. It’s been absolutely fantastic.”
Candace added: “We tried our best to participate in the Harvest Festival as we wanted to participate. In the past you’d see pretty much every local trader within a 30 mile radius on The Quay. Everyone could participate. We were disappointed that we missed out on the great vibe and atmosphere that was present in the past. But we just have to focus on our own market and continue to provide an outlet for local producers.”
A special large Butlerstown Market Autumn Fair will be held this Saturday October 19th from 10am – 3pm and is expected to attract between 30 and 60 traders.
“We’re trying to create a nice event for the end of the year,” said Candace.
“It will probably be one of the last big events before the Christmas season. It will showcase local producers and craftspeople, with lots on offer for kids including bouncy castles, face painting, and fancy dress.”
Butlerstown Market Autumn Fair takes place on Saturday October 19th from 10am – 3pm.