There is an undeniable trend that has seen the considerable growth of Farmer’s markets in Ireland in recent years. Markets have come a long way; from humble beginnings when farmers sold fruit and vegetables direct from their farms to a flourishing industry that sees sausage makers, cheese producers, bakers and choclatiers displaying their unique and original produce in vibrant and congenial settings.
One such market is the Ardkeen Artisan Market, which is based in the car park of Ardkeen Quality Food Store on Sunday mornings, twice a month. This lively market was established in 2006 and today boasts over 20 different producers.
All the foods are produced regionally and the lip smacking selection includes Irish apples and juices, Wexford potatoes, Comeragh mountain lamb, Dunhill venison, savoury tarts, chutneys and relish, French crepes, hand-roasted coffee, homemade scones, continental breads, farm house cheeses and a sinful selection of confectionary.
One producer that is a regular stall holder at Ardkeen Market is Cupcake Heaven, which specialises in gourmet cupcakes. All the cupcakes are home made with the finest locally sourced ingredients.
Fiona Lonergan, Owner of Cupcake Heaven, loves the atmosphere of the market. Fiona said, “There is something special about selling at markets. The majority of people not only visit the market to buy good quality, local produce, but to soak up the atmosphere. There is nothing better than spending a few hours on a sunny Sunday morning sampling the produce, discovering new stalls and knowing that whatever you buy, be it a cupcake or a pot of jam, that it has been made with the finest fresh ingredients and you can be assured of its traceability.”
“Market stall holders know their customers very well, there is a huge loyalty factor involved in markets. There have been occasions when a customer asked us for a type of cupcake that we don’t sell, but we will make it for them knowing that they will be back at the next market. That’s why people keep coming back.”
According to Sinead Cheevers, who coordinates the Ardkeen Artisan Market, “People are also drawn to the social side of market life, the banter, the haggling, the laughter and the news of the day.”
“We try to put extra effort into seasonal events to mark these occasions, along with organising regular live entertainment. Our soapbox stage is getting a reputation for musical talent spotting, from jazzy ensembles to trad sessions all taking place under the shade of a tree. The summer’s programme is already shaping up very nicely with wild food demos, tea dances, book and CD fairs, art exhibitions and chess lessons all in the mix.”
The Ardkeen Market takes place on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month from 10am to 2 pm at Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Dunmore Road, Waterford.For further information about the market contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow “Ardkeen Artisans” on Facebook.