Saturday, 10 September 2011

Castle Quarter Farmers’ Market, Cardiff

The Castle Quarter Farmers’ Market in Cardiff, on Thursdays between 11am and 3pm, is now mid-way through its 12-week trial period. It may become a permanent feature on the recently-pedestrianized High Street in central Cardiff. The council will make a decision in October or November. Stall-holders are keeping their fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

The farmers’ market is run by the Riverside Community Market Association (RCMA): the same organization that operates farmers’ markets in Riverside, Rhiwbina, Roath and Llandaff North. The Castle Quarter Farmers’ Market started on August 4, with 16 stalls. This number has apparently been relatively consistent, although this week the miserable weather meant that only 12 stalls were up and running. The market operates with the full support of the existing Cardiff Central Market and other adjacent businesses.

For me, a farmers’ market has to sell fresh fruit and vegetables to be worthy of the name. Blaencamel Farm bring plenty of their fresh organic produce to this market. Local artisan food products are another key area, and most of the stalls fit this bill. The stall selling artisan bread, buns, brioche and pizza was doing a brisk trade; although the rain was doing the Olive Bar and the cake stall no favours.

There was plenty of prepared food to eat or take-away today. Falafel Wales had a selection of Middle Eastern options; the Samosa Co were selling spicy Indian snacks; Seasons Farm Foods had a range of pies and other baked savouries; while Madgett’s Farm were cooking up duck burgers and hot dogs, and selling poultry products (I have a half-dozen duck eggs).

Collette Crewe of Elm Tree Foods, based near Newport, was selling pies and pasties, as well as honey from their farm. I had an Elm Tree Pasty (Cornish-style). Trealy Farm were selling smoked cured and air-dried meats, including salami. The other stalls today were Splott-based Inner City Pickles (“have a taste”), and a stall from the pet suppliers in the indoor market.

The Castle Quarter Farmers’ Market brings a range of food products to shoppers in the city centre, which supplement those available in other local eateries and shops. It also brings a vibrancy to the streets in this pedestrianized area. Long may it continue.

Riverside Community Market Association:

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