In praise of farmers' markets

I love farmers' markets. Not because I'm a fervent supporter of low-carbon, organic-certified, local-hero produce. I just love damn tasty food and drink.

But the one thing that's often a let-down is the beer on offer. Maybe some slightly flabby bottle-conditioned stuff from a brewer who isn't really local but puts themselves around a lot. Perhaps some 'hilarious' Old Fart or Big Cock from Direct Beers, truely the purveyors of the "worst beers in the world".

Belper is just up the road from where I live and attracts a more eclectic collection of traders than the market held in nearer-by Derby. Coffee roasters, fancy mushrooms, duck-egg and quail-egg scotch eggs... and proper beer. Amber Ales have a stall and offer bright beer to takeaway in two or four-pint jugs. Now that strikes me as a sterling idea - especially when the first thing I want to do when I get back from the market is tuck into a long, grazing session with the stuff I bought so a cool pint of beer goes... just so.

Four pints of Amber Pale, now hopped with Santiam to give it a melon/peachy edge, punctuated a sunny Saturday afternoon of lunching, lawnmowing and laid back choons. I dare say it would have kept in the fridge for a day or so but when beer tastes that good, why wait?

If you know of any other farmers' markets that offer quality beer - cask or bottle - do let me know.

And if you happen to be in Belper, do pay a visit to Liquid Treasure. With the likes of Thornbridge, Orval, Saison Dupont and Jever in the fridges I hope we're in for a long hot summer.


  1. As mentioned on Twit recently, there's a couple of brewers selling beers at farmers' markets in my area - Frodsham Brewery (formerly Station House) sells bottles at the excellent Wirral Farmers' Market, New Ferry -

    Patrick Noble, a farmer/trader from Wirral Farmers' Market suggested that Weetwood Ales (nr Tarporley, Cheshire) are available at the weekly Saughall Produce Market, nr Chester.

    There's a fascinating little article on Patrick's website about The Saughall Beer Club, who seemingly decant beer into bottles each week, from a fresh cask of Weetwood! - (page 23)

  2. You could go much worse than paying a visit to The Goods Shed in Canterbury. It's about 10m from the station and is home to the excellent Bottle shop as well as some great produce stalls.