Monday, 7 June 2010

dire saturday at Edinburgh

The sun was shining, it was the first of the month, it should have been absolutely heaving. You simply cannot sell produce to people who are not there, and people simply will not come if they are not reminded an event is taking place. Advertising, advertising advertising PLEASE!!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Poor Markets this Weekend!!

Well Hawick FM was a total non-event on Friday. 7 stalls, 1 was empty. People were walking towards the market, having a look and turning away. No meat, no fish, no veggies, no jams. The organisers are trying very hard to make the market work and have even reduced the stall fees again, but nothing seems to be working, and to top it all, the market is in a bad position.
On to QP FM on Saturday. Same huge number of meat stalls as before, about 15 in total I think, including wholesalers. A producer of top quality pork products was heard to say that 8 stalls were selling bacon. Visitors were not buying much and seem to be more interested in the hot food than the actual produce. This market is needing a big re-think and an injection of new producers selling different produce, not just duplicating what is already there.
Sunday and it was Bothwell, The Cricklewood, FM. What can I say. No one knew the market was on, not even the hotel where it was taking place!! No advertising had been done. About 30 customers came through the gate, most just because they were walking by and saw the stalls. Some of the 6 stallholders left early. Full stall fees were taken. Poor show!!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Busy Weekend Ahead

I've been making up new stock all week and it's going to be a very busy weekend for Jude's Jewels.
Nick and I are going to Hawick Farmers Market today, Friday, then on Saturday I am taking a stall to QP Farmers market in Glasgow, while Nick and Jen go to the Craft Fair at Ocean Terminal in Leith.
On Sunday Nick and I go back to the Craft Fair at Ocean Terminal, while Jen goes to The Cricklewood Farmers market at Bothwell. Just hope the sun shines!!
March and April have been quite slow in the sales department, with some markets being hardly worth doing, while others buck the trend and come up trumps time and time again.
Just keeping going, in the hope that in the next few weeks the public will gain confidance and start really buying again.
Hope all the other producers do well at whatever Farmers Markets theay attend this weeked.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Simple Simon's Busy Weekend!

Working hard this weekend so come out and see us! You'll find us at farmers' markets in Kelso and Linlithgow on Saturday as well as doing a tasting at Blairmains Farm shop. Then it's off to Drumlanrig on Sunday for their first farmers' of the year - look out for our delicious Easter pies and fingers crossed for some sunshine!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Livingston Farmers Market

Well we gave Livingston FM one last go yesterday. It's been a poor market for us from the start. You would think that a market outside a huge shopping centre with thousands of people going through would be a sure fire hit.....but you would be wrong.
The market is in a wee square at the Debenhams entrance to the centre. Tucked away so no one passing on the road can see it and no one in the shopping centre can see it. Only the people coming out of car park 1 walk past us. These is a market banner at a road crossing but it's no where near the actual market. And it seems that the market organisers cannot advertise inside the centre.
Seemingly the organisers did do some advertising last week, but not one of the customers who did come to our stall had seen it.
So there we were yesterday: veg & soup, cheese, pies, home baking, assorted meats, crisp hut and me, Jude's Jewels. 6 stalls and a trailer. One customer even asked 'is this the farmers market?' What do you say.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Hard work this Website thing

I've been working hard all day making new jewellery for the stall but also to list on my website.
I've got the website linked to Twitter, and Twitter interlinked with Facebook. Everytime I update the website I can choose to update to Twitter as well and this then links to Facebook. All clever stuff and free advertising. It's amazing how many fans I have on my Facebook page. It's really starting to mushroom. The more people that see my pages, the more their friends see, and so it goes on.
I'm in the process of adding links to my site and having other sites add a link back to my website. This is all to keep me up there on page 1 of Google.
I realise that I work from home and have time to spend fiddling with the computer, whereas many SAFM producers are probably hard at work in other areas, and can't spend the same time on the PC.
However, if you have a website and some free time, it really is worth while giving the whole social networking thing a go. You never know who is out there looking for produce.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

First ever time at a farmers market!

Bonnie and Scott brought their piggy to market for the first time and Montrose was the lucky venue. With their own farm shop they are used to meeting the public but I wonder what they really thought of the experience?

Queens Park Farmers Market

Good weather brought customers out and made for a happy atmosphere. Nice to see so many young families buying produce. Lots of regulars at the stall. Good mix of stalls but still too many meat producers. Nice touch to have the Scottish music and the face painter on site.

Good Soup Group at Edinburgh Farmers Market Today!

I popped along to the Edinburgh Farmer's Market today, to see what was happening. There was decent weather, a busy crowd and high quality fare for grabs.

I also had a quick wee chat with Sharon from The Good Soup Group.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Scottish Farmers' Market Partnership takes off.

Today the steering group (and the minister) met to set the direction for the development of farmers markets across Scotland. How would you like to see markets develop?

Monday, 1 March 2010

2010 SAFM year Planners

OK I know it's March... but I still have a few hundred of these year planners left - does anyone want some to give to customers?
Also, there is free artwork available for farmers' market organizers and maybe producers to put out press ads, details you can get from me John Gallagher 01786 842367. Yes two free things and it's only March!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Over the Farm Gate

Hi my name is Dominic, my family and me run a wee farm called Sunnyside, in Sanquhar D&G. We specialise in producing unusual and rare breed meats. Scottish Rose veal, Dexter beef, Shetland lamb, Gloucester old spot pork.
My passion, a much over used word, is producing animals that are tasty and interesting to work with. Size is of no significance. We breed the smallest coos and oddest looking sheep, but they taste the best. My pigs have some black patches that come through onto the skin, but that doesn't effect the sublime taste. Thats whay alot of these breeds have almost died out, supermarkets dont want them, they arent all the same to fit their shelves.

My father and i work on the farm full time, with a little help from our friends we produce everything ourselves. We feed the animals twice a day, rain or shine (or snow!!), sometimes before the farmers markets even start we have done a days work. The finished stock are selected and taken by us to our local abattoir.
All our meat is properly hung, and we have a modern on farm butchery facility. I make the sausages, i personally come up with all the recipes. I pack and cut all the meat, i hand cure the bacon, make the pies. (we do have a cleaner though!)
We can tell you exactly whats in everything, because WE do it all. The food is not passed through a hundred hands and premises, just straight from me to you!

Its difficult to describe the life on a farm, especially ours, its not normal. We have tremendous highs, and terrible lows. Dealing in life and death on a daily basis can be horrible. But seeing the 1st breath of a lamb, seeing the enthusiastic licking of a new born calf from loving Dexter mum, makes for special moments that most people will never see. The world races by and most don't see the living world around them. I think as farmers we are privileged to see the countryside as we do. It all makes life worth living.
Speaking of making life worth living, we have a collection of characters on the farm that all make it that bit more special. The biggest being Bird. Bird is an Ayrshire bullock, he will be 3 this year. he is a permanent resident and can`t not make you smile. Always enthusiastic to see you and have a pat on the head. Trouble is he must weigh 700kg now, so when he comes over to see you hope he stops!!

We are a bit different in everything we do but go to your local farmers market and meet some other producers who all have their passions, and if you see me, say hello!

Dominic smith, if you want to know more get in touch

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Welcome to Jude's Jewels

Hi there,
My name is Judith Gray (Jude).
I started Jude's Jewels Handmade Designer Jewellery about 10 years ago. What started as a hobby when I was ill has developed into my full time job.
Rather than take part in craft fairs (which can be really stuffy and samey), I decided to take a new route to selling my jewellery through local farmers markets.
Although I had to prove that I could sell my handmade jewellery alongside the food producers and be accepted into the market community, I worked hard and now take part in up to 20 markets a month across Scotland, from Fencebay in the West to St Andrews in the East.
Jude's Jewels became a crafter member of SAFM last year, which meant a great deal to me.
I have been working hard to develop my website in recent month and post a regularly up-dated list of all the farmers markets I attend on the site. This link brings my customers to the markets in their area.
I have found that my customers like coming to the farmers markets and that my stall adds an extra dimension the the normal list of producers. Diversification is good for keeping farmers markets fresh and customers interested.
To give my regular customers a good choice I constantly strive to develop new lines and fun items. Many of my customers are younger members of the shopping community and it is great to see them at farmers markets.
On the Jude's Jewels stalls you will usually see me (Jude), my partner Nick and our daughter Jen, sometimes aided by niece Vicki and nephew James. We always try to remember customers faces and names, and to make them feel valued.
Farmers markets should be at the centre of the local community when it comes to shopping for fresh produce or locally made speciality items.
Please check out the website for all our details :

Monday, 22 February 2010

SAFM bags for life

There are still SAFM hessian bags available at markets from participating members. They're tough and last for ages - and they're big - you can get 10 wine or juice bottles in one.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Beautiful day but where were the regulars?

Sat 20th Feb. John and I both decided to turn out for Edinburgh much to customers and stall-holders amusement!! Gave us time to ponder a bit more on what is going on at Edinburgh.
Observations: at least half our customers were foreign students and tourists; car park, at which we looked all morning remained deserted. There were lots of people but precious few were actually buying anything. Maybe a burger or a coffee and a free sample but produce to take home, NO.
What is wrong? Well the produce is a delight. There could be more variety. There is a loss of the many interesting products - fish, drinks, bakers, condiments, cheese to name but a few.
Come on Edinburgh; you can do better than this.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Hello and welcome to the Scottish Association Farmers' Market Blog site.
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Also please check out our webpage.
Here you will hear from farmers, growers and producers. This will be the hub for stall holders, specific market towns and customers... basically all things FM! (That's Farmers' Market to you and me.)

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