I had wanted to become a producer for Country Markets for quite a while. When I asked last time, about 3 years ago, I was told that I needed to be available most Fridays to attend the markets, because they are run as co-operatives and everyone needs to help out.
At the time, I had a demanding and stressful management job and really could not take this on even if I had wanted to (and I did). Well, fast forward a few years and in November last year, I suddenly found myself free not only on Fridays, but also for all the other 6 days in the week. Like the famous quote from The Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey 'What's a weekend ?', I also did not know; but only because I worked all seven days.
I was never good at just relaxing with my hands in my lap, so I thought, this time I could see, whether my home baking would be good enough to sell at the market. And as the title of this blog suggest, I was accepted ! Hurrah !
I went to the market several times before I approached the market manager. I wanted to know what sells and who goes there. Before Christmas, I finally made contact and initially was told, that they had enough people interested and probably would not have space after all. The manager must have seen the disappointment on my face, so she suggested that I attend for a day, just as a helper.
So, I arrived on 6th of January 2012, and was given the trademark apron and asked to help on the 'cake stall'. As soon as we finished the final preparations, the public was already queueing to get in and everyone seemed to make a run for the cake stall !
Everyone was very friendly and wanted to know my name (fatal mistake, if you ask me, because not everyone can pronounce and remember it at the same time...). The morning went really quickly as I tried to take everything in. The market was bustling, as people were buying seasonal vegetables and fruits, local eggs, cakes, jams and preservatives, flowers and bulbs and lovely crafts. There is even a refreshments area and lots of people seem to pop in each Friday for a cuppa and cake.
Country Markets are run as co-operatives and each member has to follow a series of quite prescriptive rules. That especially applies, if you produce food. It's good, because people who buy the products can be assured of quality and certain standards. All products need to be labelled with official Country Market's labels and all products are displayed together. It cost only 5p to become member, so really everyone can join in.
So, where was I ? Oh, yes, I got accepted and I will be bringing my baked goodies to the market on 27th of January and on 10th of February and after that every fortnight.
So, if you are in the area, why not pop in and support your local market ?
Bexley Village - Freemantle Hall (on the High Street) - each Friday 9.30 - 11.30 am
Want to know more ? see http://www.country-markets.co.uk