Stroud Farmers’ Market celebrates 25 years with Summer festivities

Stroud Farmers Market from 2021
-Credit: (Image: Maisie Lillywhite)

Stroud Farmers' Market celebrated its 25th anniversary this Saturday with a vibrant festival atmosphere at Cornhill Square.

The market, which started amidst skepticism, has grown into a beloved national treasure, known for its high-quality produce and community spirit.

Organisers invite the public to join the festivities, which will feature a mix of background music provided by Lick it Back Sounds and a new collection of limited edition shopping bags designed by artist George Withington.

Kardien Gerbrands, the market's organiser, attributed its success to its commitment to supporting small-scale farming and local food producers.

He said: “The core of our success comes from sticking strictly to the “point” of farmers markets, to support small-scale farming and local food producers, and a most receptive local community. A market can only succeed if customers come and spend money at the stalls. Equally, customers will only spend their money if they like what they see.

“Stroud has proved to be a community that values those core principles and has first-hand experience of 25 years of this excellent produce. At Stroud, you can find happy stallholders serving happy customers. It is very nourishing.”

Nikki Pinker, a founding stallholder from Frocester Fayre, reminisced about the market’s humble beginnings in 1999.

“Before the market, we were cutting up pigs for freezers and selling them like that because the pig market had declined,” she explained. “With my uncle, a butcher, we saw Stroud Market advertising for any farmers interested in a market, so we rang up and got a stall there.

“I was there on the first one, and since then, we've only missed one, and that was because my son got married.”

“We then decided to sell the cows and open a farm shop. One led to the other, and the shop has been open for 24 years this December. We owe our success to the Stroud Market, and we still do.”

She emphasised the enduring appeal of the market, highlighting its vibrant atmosphere and loyal customer base.

“I remember the first Stroud Market, and it was only a few of us, so we didn't know what we were doing apart from trying to sell our meat,” Nikki added. “Over the years, it's got bigger and bigger and now has a nice vibe.

“The meat sales side of it has just gone down because of the increased vegan scenario, but the Stroud Market continues to be amazing. You hardly ever have a bad market there, and people from Stroud turn out regardless of the weather.”