I went at 5am to one of Liverpool's best shopping hotspots and I'd already missed the morning rush

Liverpool wholesaler market
-Credit: (Image: Megan Banner)

Since moving to Liverpool one thing I have loved is how the bar and restaurant scene seems to thrive more than many other cities across the country, and that's not even mentioning its booming shops.

There just always seems to be something going on in the city, whether it's a live band, a new venue opening or even just tipsy customers spilling out into the streets because the bars and restaurants are just so packed.

And let's not forget about all the quirky little markets, hot spots, and attractions to visit across Liverpool. It was only last week I visited Lark Lane Farmers' Market, and now I seem to have got the markets bug.

Read more: Map shows most and least expensive places to buy a house in Merseyside

Read more: 'Amazing' dad slipped at work and within weeks he was dead

Liverpool Council runs many markets across the city, from Lark Lane and the Palm House to Great Homer Street and the brand-new St George's Hall market which is making its debut on Father's Day.

However, I'm told the biggest of all markets is the Wholesale Market, otherwise known as the Food Hub, run by the council, who also rather impressively supply most of the markets, traders and bars and restaurants across Liverpool with all their wonderful stock.

And, as we all know by now I love a market so I just had to go and see it in action. I was told the Wholesale Market was at its peak at 5am, so that is when I headed down on Friday.

The wholesaler market is HUGE. It moved from its popular spot on Edge Lane around eight years ago, and now stretches over a whole street of industrial units on Electric Avenue, Fazakerley, brimming with fruit, veg, flowers and much more. It was packed full of colourful fruits and veg, with floor to ceiling flowers - and the smells, oh my god the smells were divine - so, so, so fresh.

The market is thriving with produce
The market is thriving with produce -Credit:Megan Banner

The market simply does not stop. I arrived at 5am, and I was told I'd already missed the peak mad-morning rush of customers. Lorries are arriving through the night to pick up their fresh produce to send out to all the customers, not just on Merseyside but across different parts of the country and even Northern Ireland. It's kind of heartwarming to hear how this one process supplies so many thousands of people every day.

As I strolled through the many units met by more and more bright colours, as fruits were loaded onto crates to be sent out, I was hit by so many smells and noises. There is just something I love about chaos of a market - and especially in the early hours when the city is still sleeping, and all these hundreds of traders are pushing to rally together their stock for the busy day ahead.

I'm told in its prime it was really quite something. I can just imagine what this market was like 50 years ago; flourishing with customers bargaining over the top of each other; the prospering traders shouting their best sales spiel, and the sound of crates and crates of produce being thrown around like no tomorrow.

It's quite sad to see how the footfall has dropped since the market moved sites and the rise of supermarkets. Speaking to Ian Mack, manager of Dole, who provide most of the city with its fruit and veg, he tells me the Edge Lane market used to be booming with people. He says some mornings you couldn't move for the bustle of the market. But the drop in physical footfall doesn't meanbusiness has dropped for the traders - in fact I'm told it has doubled.

Ian said: "We supply most of the bars and restaurants across Liverpool, on Smithdown Road, some over the water, in Chester, and even Northern Ireland. We supply lots of popular farm shops too including The Hollies, which I was told Harry Styles and Molly Mae have both visited. So, the veg from here could have ended up on Harry Styles' plate, you just don't know where it will end up."

Ian Mack runs the fruit and veg wholesale market
Ian Mack runs the fruit and veg wholesale market -Credit:Megan Banner

To put it into context, Ian told me some suppliers are coming in and spending £2,000 a week on fresh produce to supply bars with garnishes for drinks. To think, the lime in a Corona in McCooley's has likely come from the wholesale market - it's quite satisfying to know the markets I've been browsing since the EARLY hours of this morning could end up garnishing my cocktail later.

For me though, the best part of the wholesale market was meeting some of the customers - some of who have been shopping at the markets for over 40 years. I can't put into words how wholesome it was to hear their stories from over the years in the market.

Years ago when the market trade was on 'top form' there would be a market on every street corner, but now we're down to a dwindling few, says Ian. In fact Alan Cassidy, owner of A&D Cassidy, is one of the last few remaining greengrocers in Merseyside, and he has been coming to the wholesale market since it opened.

He said: "I have been coming for 50 years, since I was a young lad. The same people have been coming here for a life time. My family have been in the business since 1819, that's over 200 years, and have had shops across the city.

"I have been in the business for over 50 years. I work six days a week, I got the business from my dad and now the fifth generation is working here, my daughter Rhona, who is in her 40s. There won't be a sixth generation though." Ian told me Alan last had a holiday when the QE2 came to Liverpool in the 1990s - if that isn't impressive I don't know what is.

Not only does the market supply fruit and veg, but flowers too. Whittington's and F&H Flowers are based there and I can't put into words the vibrancy of their stores. When I say floor to ceiling colourful flowers I mean it. I just couldn't get the smile off my face when seeing all the colours.

For me the saddest thing about the market is people need to be more aware that they are here. Although, it's absolutely non stop all hours of the early morning, customers like me and you need to walk back in and make this market the booming place it once was.

I'm told I need to see it at Christmas time when Whittington's has it's Christmas stock in - I can't wait to visit already!

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here