Friday, 30 January 2009

Barsham Farmers Market Closing Down

The local paper has reported that this long running farmers market is closing down. Thankfully not because of a lack of interest but rather more a victim of its own success. It got to be too much work for its hosts who want to concentrate on farming first. (The Archers' writers please take note).

Although I didn't go very often as Barsham was a bit out of the way for me, I thought this market on the last Saturday of every month was one of the best in the area. The model railway club used to show its layouts to keep the children entertained whilst the adults got down to the serious business of squeezing veg.

Although I am generally against supermarkets, the news that Saxmundham's Somerfield is to become a Waitrose pleases me as I see it would increase the appeal of the town to second homers and holidaymakers. However, the thought of yet another Tesco in Halesworth appalls me. I hope someone steps into the breach very soon as Barsham was a viable alternative. Perhaps we could have this market in Halesworth (alternating with the Holton Farmers Market on the second Saturday of every month) or there's a couple of sites nearby I think that would be ideal for small market like the empty National station I'm always passing on London Road on the way into Beccles, just before the turning everyone took to get to Barsham anyway. A farmers market there would then put it in reach of public transport and make it a lot more sustainable in terms of carbon footprint of all its customers.

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  1. The demise of Saxmundhams Somerfield will be yet another nail in the coffin for the local community who quite frankly cant afford to shop at the likes of Waitrose and will desert Saxmundham for out of town stores more than ever! Dont be fooled by the 'Town that said no to Tesco' epithet...we wanted Tesco! It was the town council who fought against it mainly to protect a rapidly declining High Street in which they had more at stake. A High Street that now consists of more charity shops than anything else! Saxmundhams' self appointed supermarket vigilante, Lady Cranbrook fought Tesco on the stance that it would damage local producers and shops but Waitrose is a far bigger threat to these producers unless their local produce is going to be sourced from Saxmundham itself which is highly unlikely! I know personally that two of Saxmundhams cafe/ tearooms are seriously worried knowing that Waitrose intends opening a coffee bar/ restaurant and are deeply concerned that holidaymakers will now bypass Saxmundham to do their grocery shopping at the more competitive Solar stores in Leiston and Framlingham. Its about time the town council and other 'noise makers' realised Saxmundhams demographic and catered for it accordingly. We are not Aldeburgh or Framlingham or Woodbridge trying to protect out middle class 'town of yesteryear' image...we have a large population of low income families and new builds that need to be catered for with realistically priced food and clothes shops which we certainly do not have at the moment!

  2. Thank you for posting. My experience of Waitrose and supermarkets in general (and I've worked in marketing) is that their prices reflect what their local community can afford and the level of local competition and it's a fallacy that everyone can 'vote with their feet'.

    But Waitrose do have a 'value' range for their smaller stores. I find that supermarkets have a poor record on sourcing locally such as local Rainbow has beans from Kenya. The more more vocal people are demanding supermarkets source locally and put notices on the shelves or packaging, the more the supermarkets will listen.

    I have noticed too there are empty stores in Sax but I think Waitrose will actually give businesses confidence to invest in Sax. It's a fine town with lots of amenities for tourists nearby which help it compete with Aldeburgh and Southwold because of its transport connections. The holidaymakers I meet would prefer Waitrose to Solar anyday and they drive a lot of the local economy. I'm not a fan of supermarkets but I prefer to deal with John Lewis than Tesco or ASDA (aka Wal-Mart) who pillage towns.

  3. I will miss this farmers market as I had come to look foreward to it each month. We buy all our food from farmers markets now and have managed to avoid supermarket shopping for a couple of years.
    It would have been good to have had just one more market to say goodbye!
    Has the honey cafe , the railway hut and the furniture and bookshop gone also now?
    Perhaps a new venue will be found for the producers who came to Barsham. Hope so.
    Where will we shop today now?! (31st Jan)