Farmers Markets: Best in Dorset Farmers Markets.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Best In Dorset Farmers Markets was started by Mrs. Janet Pook.
Janet started making preserves to feed the family. One summer she gave some of her marmalade to the church stall at a local fete. A friend with a B&B bought some for her guests and the next morning came hot foot for some more.

“They’ve eaten a whole jar!” the B&B owner exclaimed. “And they want some to take away with them. You know, you ought to make this professionally.”

She took what Janet had and her husband Martin went without!

From such small beginnings… the following Christmas Janet organised a craft fair in the village hall. She made about two hundred jars of marmalade and chutney. "I was convinced that I would be eating this for years to come." She sold out.

The next year she made and sold at craft fairs, and it was at one of these that she was invited to come to a farmers’ market, only the second to be held in Dorset. She could immediately see the potential!

Very soon Janet was running Christchurch farmers’ market. This was slipping quietly downhill and Janet was told that farmers’ markets throughout the country were finding things difficult, and gradually fading due to the recession.

Janet spent a lot of time thinking about why this should be. Christchurch had either to be revitalised or closed. “I decided to try some new ideas, and, almost like magic, it was suddenly up and running. I was pretty sure that I had ‘cracked it’. Shortly after this I received a phone call from a friend who had attended a council meeting in Weymouth.

“They want a farmers’ market,” he told me. “Janet ought to do it.”
It amazes me how often I get told what I should be doing says Janet.
Janet went to talk to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, and the upshot was that we started a market on Westham Bridge, Weymouth, now a car park, but originally was the way across the harbour and into town.

Starting at Easter, we applied all the ideas that we had worked out and our reception was more than enthusiastic. The market started at 10 am and by eleven most people had sold out. The following month was very similar. The third month the producers were bringing in so much stock that we thought the bridge might collapse. They didn’t run out, but they didn’t have a lot left.

I sat in front of my computer and worked out a business plan. It looked too good to be true, and to be honest it was, but it wasn’t so far out.
Where should the next market be?

Verwood, a village in the east of Dorset that has grown into a town, had always attracted us."

Soon there were 6 markets and the rest as they say is history….

 

HOW IT ALL BEGAN...

Mrs Pooks MarmaladeSome of the finest food in the country is produced in Dorset and on these pages you will find many of the best producers.

From the farmers producing meat and vegetables to the baker, the cheese maker and the preserve maker and manufacturers of ready meals, many organic, they are all here.

We aim to bring the best food in Dorset to you, mainly through our farmers’ markets, but also through special events and by promoting farm shops and supplies to hotels and restaurants.

Our Farmers Markets are at: Redhill, Verwood, Weymouth and Winton

FARM SHOPS

In between markets it is handy to know where you can go to get the very Best in Dorset.

We have visited a lot of farm shops but we think these are the best.

Click here to find out more


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