Thirteen organisers and stallholders from six of Dumfries and Galloway’s farmers’ and community markets headed south last week to the Borough Market in London.
The learning journey was designed to help market organisers and stallholders be more successful at promoting and selling their markets and produce, encouraging traders to explore topics such as signage, sampling, customer engagement and stall design.
The aim of the visit was to support the continued growth and success of farmers’ markets in Dumfries and Galloway. The trip was organised by the Dumfries and Galloway Farmers’ and Community Markets Association as part of a marketing and development programme, which was funded by LEADER, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Wigtown, Creetown, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Moffat and Langholm markets.
Borough Market was identified by the traders as a valuable learning opportunity as it has become one of the UK’s most fashionable places to buy artisan food and drink. With a history that goes back almost 1000 years, Borough Market consists of around 100 stalls retailing a wide range of food and drink.
Sarah Burchell, chairwoman of Dumfries and Galloway Farmers’ and Community Markets Association, said: “The thought of a day trip to London was daunting but incredibly valuable and everyone who took part has come home inspired and enthused about how we can make Dumfries and Galloway’s markets more enjoyable for visitors and more successful for the businesses.
“Dumfries and Galloway produces some amazing artisan food and drink, of the very highest quality, and it was reassuring to see that the produce we have at markets in Dumfries and Galloway is right up there in terms of quality. It showed us that our pride in our local markets is more than justified, but we need to get better at marketing and presenting that quality produce to more people.
“We want to use the energy and passion of our local artisan food producers and craft makers to take our local markets to the next level.”
As part of the marketing and development programme the six farmers’ markets have just launched a web portal – www.dgmarkets.org – which is a one-stop shop for markets information, with links to each market’s Facebook page. Sarah added: “Social media is becoming hugely important and one of the things we’ve been doing over the past year is finding ways to get markets and stall holders communicating better on social media so that we can keep local people up to date on what’s going on at their local market.
“This new website is a great focal point for that, and the run up to the festive markets in November and December makes this the perfect time for people to discover the delicious food and drink and the quality crafts that are available at farmers’ and community markets across Dumfries and Galloway.”