Virtue Rewarded

cheese for sale at the market

Ever since we moved up to rural Scotland, I’ve suffered vague jealousy of all the people posting their Sunday afternoon trips to their local farmers’ market. Strange as it may seem, living in the middle of farmland isn’t really all that conducive to going and buying local produce. Yes, we can go to Notso Bigtown to buy local meat from one of the three butchers there, which is very nice, and we can even spend £3 on a loaf of sourdough if we want that lovely-but-feeling-faintly-ripped-off feeling, except for the fact that I am now baking my own. But the chance to wander virtuously between apple-cheeked stall holders, quizzing farmers on their pig-rearing practices and buying directly from the farm – that’s been difficult.

It’s not that Bigtown doesn’t have a farmers’ market. It’s just that, until this weekend, it’s been held out at the edge of the bypass, reachable only by bike for those who enjoy a white-knuckle ride. Driving to the farmers’ market just doesn’t give me that same smug thrill so we’ve only been once since we moved here.

Today, finally, all that changed as the market has moved to the station, which is reachable by not one, but two cycle paths.* Bigtown being Bigtown, this has been the cue for much anxiety about the lack of parking because even though the local industrial estate has given market goers use of its substantial carpark (not to mention the fact that Bigtown is full of people who could easily, you know, walk to it) this was on the other side of the train tracks and hence effectively on the other side of the moon as far as some people were concerned.

dramatic clouds

None of this mattered to me, of course, as I was happily and smugly swooping down the hill into town by bike, undeterred by the slightly baltic weather and somewhat threatening, if dramatic, clouds.

bike parking

And besides, there was masses of parking.

It turns out novelty value trumps ever-so-slightly inconvenient parking when it comes to farmers’ markets, by the size of the crowds – or maybe, just maybe, the people of Bigtown are quite happy to stroll down to a conveniently located market after all… who knew?

dramatic crowds

Then it was just a matter of cycling my goodies home into the is-that-snow-you-cannot-be-serious-this-is-April, to undo all the good work with bacon sandwiches for lunch and an enormous brownie.

bridge on way home

* Anyone saying ‘and by train’ hasn’t factored in the Sunday train schedule round here, which decrees that no train shall move until After Kirk.

4 Responses to Virtue Rewarded

  1. Martin Gemmell says:

    Blessed are the cheesemongers

  2. Charles says:

    Wells has a very nice market twice a week with useful people like cheese makers, bakers, lovely food etc. It has taken two and a half years to find the local producers who sell at local prices, rather than those who sell to tourists and incomes. The difference is about 300%….

  3. […] One year ago, our local Farmers’ Market moved from a site by the bypass, inaccessible by bike, to Bigtown Station’s short-term car park – thereby driving a coach and horses through Bigtown’s Parking Strategy (and, indeed, iron law) that no parking space may be lost without the creation of an equal and opposite parking space, even temporarily, lest a rip occur in the fabric of space time or the Hellmouth open.* […]

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