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Monday, 28 May 2012

Abergavenny Farmers Market Loyalty Card Launch

Abergavenny Farmers Market runs monthly on the 4th Thursday, and brings together some of the best producers in the area (see earlier post), but this month it has given you even more reasons to visit with the launch of the Loyalty Card.

By signing up you get email notification of the forthcoming markets, the producers who will be there and any special events or themes.

Well over 150 were snapped up on the first day and with participating stall holders guaranteeing to have one discounted item for card holders at each market you can see why. Roisin from Burren Bakery was, for example offering a 10p reduction on Cherry Scones.

Initiatives like this should encourage more people to attend, both producers and customers, encourage a bigger spend and support and develop the local economy.

By buying locally you reduce the supply chain (cut out the middle man) keep money local and support the local economy.

It is estimated that of every £1 spent with a local producer 75p stays within the locality, in a Supermarket or chain store that is reduced to 45p and online purchases have a minimal local benefit.

Not only do you support the locality but you get food at its best, when flavour and nutrition at its peak and often cheaper than Supermarkets. Add to this the reduction in food miles and carbon footprints and the case for local, seasonal shopping is so strong as to be unanswerable.

Sustaination recently revealed that if a town of 15,000 spent just £5 more per week with local traders it would be worth over £10m to the local economy. Introducing Loyalty Cards to Farmers Markets could well be a step towards achieving that aim.

Back though, to the Market and the regular producers were out in force. Local vegetables, breads, meats, chutneys and spices and pies and cakes of all varieties were on offer, not to mention the freshest of fish, cheeses and juices.

I was able to indulge my love of Pork Pies with a bag of award winning ones from Elmtree who won several categories in the National Pie Awards whilst a Brie Tart also found its way into the shopping bag. 2 kilos of butter also made it to be cut into blocks and used over the next few weeks and both Soda Bread and Brownies from Roisin.

Meanwhile Mrs K discovered that local blenders Chantler Teas had produced two new blends to add to their range of ethically sourced Black, Green and Herbally infused teas.

Abergavenny Gold was anew blend designed for discerning tea drinkers in the area and a special Jubilee Blend to mark the event that is not the Olympics this year. A trial cup of Jubilee produced a satisfied smile from Mrs K and a purchase of both new blends ensued along with some nice floral blends.

The Market marked the Jubilee celebrations with a patriotically decorated cake, made by the very talented Michelle Woolley from Penrhiwgyngi Farm (07855 71631 / 01495 370818), and customers stood in happy groups enjoying free tea and cake whilst planning the rest of their shopping. (For those of us who prefer coffee the local Friends Of The Earth group provide free tea and coffee at every market.)

The Cake also featured in the official launch of the Loyalty Card with local chef Stephen Terry – heavily involved in the Great British Menu Welsh heats, handing over a symbolic first card to a lucky shopper. Stephen was a good choice for this task as he shops in the market every Friday and champions local food both at The Hardwick, his restaurant, and on Great British Menu.

Margaret the Market Organiser was very happy with the launch of the Loyalty Card a feeling shared by both customers and stall holders.
An important initiative in supporting local producers and economies, and one which could, and should, be more widespread.

When you consider that the phenomenally successful Abergavenny Food Festival was launched to revitalise the local economy after the Foot and Mouth Outbreak of the early 2000’s Abergavenny has shown another way forward, keeping it local, seasonal and sustainable.

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