Meanwhile in North Yorkshire, in the lovely town of Easingwold, producers have been putting together a selection of small gifts. These are not for sale! These are for their regular customers to pull one out of the tombola, as a thank you for the year round support! How splendid is that?
An email received at CM Chesterfield office went something like this…
Comment: Last Christmas a friend gave us a jar of Cowbridge Country Market, Blackcurrant and Rhubarb Jam, labelled as, “TXXXX 41, XXX yyy”.
The jam is absolutely superb. I wanted to arrange to send jars of it to some friends and although we did pop along to the Cowbridge market, I couldn’t see this particular jam. Also, our friends live in Scotland and England so of course this particular jam would not be available to them by the hamper scheme.
If possible, I would like to purchase several jars and send it myself to our friends in our Christmas parcels, so would appreciate the following information.
We suddenly found this year, a blackcurrant bush fruiting in our garden and we also have a rhubarb plant so of course, I’m tempted to try and make this jam combo.
I cannot emphasise enough how nice this jam is. I like blackcurrant jam anyway, but it is often a bit too sweet. The tartness of the rhubarb, tempers it perfectly. It really is a stunning product and as frugal as we’ve been in using it, sadly we used the last of it today.
I look forward to your reply.
Many thanks and best regards. Jean
So Publicity Director Suzie put her CID hat on and after a few phone calls found the creator of this sublime confection- Mavis from Cowbridge! Mavis was thrilled to hear her jam was being held in such regards. Permission was given for the seeker to contact Mavis direct.
Two weeks later this email arrived!
Just to let you know that Mavis made us a whole batch of her sublime, Blackcurrant & Rhubarb jam. Mavis kindly offered to deliver it but we were on a brutal garden schedule so instead, picked up the 12 jars yesterday from, Cowbridge Country Market. It was lovely to meet the Alchemist in person. We told Mavis our plans for sending some of the jam as Christmas presents. Immediately, the distribution will be Nationwide, but we’re hoping to expand the distribution.
As we brought the precious cargo home, Michael suggested that we open a jar straightaway. I was not so sure as I thought that as with pickles, maybe jam needs time to “mature”, and this batch was less than a week old.
Michael persevered and so we opened a jar, and have to say, it was absolutely superb. Taste, smell, texture, everything about it was exactly the same as the initial jar we tried. It’s just as well we bought extra jars for our own pleasure! We know full well that to achieve such consistency in a product is a manufacturer’s Holy Grail. To deliver the goods with such consistent quality is laudable.
Please pass on our deepest thanks to Mavis, not just for fulfilling the order so promptly, but also our sincere congratulations on a job that has been very well executed! Jean
Mavis was duly informed of the email and was very happy to hear it passed muster!
Jean is going to mention Country Markets to the recipients of the jam so that they can experience the wonderful home made products we produce all round the country!
Well done Mavis! And thanks Jean for taking the time to find the source of your pleasure!
Following the lead of several markets, Chew Valley recently took the plunge and took a basket of their fabulous goodies around the town! Two weeks running they sold over £30s worth of cakes and bakes! Whats more they even sold a pie to the local butcher!
Way to go Chew Valley!
Please contact Suzie Cliff if you want to discuss trying this in your markets!
Ware Country Market recently contacted Publicity to ask for a suitable sized logo for their new banner as the logos they had were pixilating when they were blown up!
The right logo was duly dispatched and their new banner can be seen here!
Wowzer! That will bring the punters in!
Make sure you have a big enough jpeg or PNG if you are developing your marketing materials. It makes all the difference.
Watch out Ware- the market is in town!
A fantastic story about a successful collaboration between the community and a Country Market!
Chobham has a carnival on the May Bank Holiday every year and we hold a special market that day. For many years we have entered the carnival procession with costumes made for next to nothing by our very inventive producer, Jill Parker. We carry collecting buckets for the Carnival Association and they are always very appreciative of what we manage to get for them. When all their expenses are paid they give what is left to worthy causes in the village. Over the years they have been very generous to the market and helped us buy such things as new banners. This year we told them we needed to replace our aprons and that we wanted to buy a card reader so they gave us £150. With their generosity we will be able to update our image and also soon be able to take payments by card.
One of their committee came into the market this week and was shown the aprons and your’s truly was asked to put it on so he could take a photo of it to show his committee what we had done with some of the donation.
Well done all!
Congratulations to Tamworth Country Market for being Highly Commended at the Tamworth Business awards recently! They were in the Retail Business category, up against shops and businesses that open full time- not one morning a week! I am told four people involved in the market had a splendid evening all dressed up in their finery to receive the award! Keep up the good work Tamworth!
Louise from Bentley Heath Country Market reports:
For the third year running, a bunch of producers (who enthusiastically call themselves the ‘Marketing Committee’) at Bentley Heath Country Market decided to organise a craft activity for children each week over the school holidays. We were a bit late in our planning this year, holding the all important brainstorming conflab only a week before the schools broke up!
The summer kicked off with a seasoned favourite- one of Charlye’s treasure hunts. These are always well received by the children (although we have a sneaking suspicion that their parents and grandparents perhaps enjoy it more- there are often cases where the child is quite happy to sit down for a drink and a biscuit but is prevented from doing so by their more competitive older accompaniment, who ‘just has to find the last picture’.)
For the first week, Karen also organised some fabric printing: small linen jute bags that the children could decorate with fabric paint and potato stamps. Perfect for keeping their summer holidays bits and pieces in.
Jenny organised week two and was inspired by the theme of Art in the Park, Leamington 2018 (which the market was attending that weekend): trees! We were all a bit apprehensive of paint spattered jumpers and floors when Jenny first said she was going to do ‘tree painting with a stick’ but it worked really well. Our budding artistic younger guests were neat and tidy with their paintings, eager to use palette knives and the blunt end of a paint brush to make their works of art, rather than the conventional way.
Susan is one of the very talented artists at the market. She regularly does water colour and acrylic painting for cards and frames and takes custom orders. For week three, Susan very kindly offered to design her own ‘spot the difference’ sheets. It was a very busy morning, with the children not wanting to leave until they had coloured in the drawing as well as finding all the differences.
Week four was Louise’s upcycling craft. Armed with painted yogurt pots, toilet rolls, bottle tops, buttons and lots of bits and pieces she came up with the idea of either making bird feeders or wind chimes. All yogurt pots were duly prepped with a hole in the bottom for threading. The best made plans are always there for being turned upside down! It seemed that day that everyone wanted to make a boat from their yogurt pot! (Only problem being the leaky hole in the bottom!)
Kim stepped in at the last minute to help us with week five. Kim used to run a local Beaver group and she bubbles over with crafty inspiration and ideas. Inspired by some colouring sheets she found when out shopping the week before, Kim helped the younger guests make themselves a wall plaque from a paper plate, toilet roll and more.
Our summer finale was the ‘Sunflower competition’. Open to all- customers and producers alike- the idea was to cook, craft or grow something along the ‘sunflower’ theme. Entries were put on the front table and customers and producers were able to vote for their favourite during the morning. When all the votes were counted, M won the under 5’s (with a sunflower crafted from a paper plate), C won the under 16s (with sunflower iced homemade fairy cakes) and Penny won the adults (with a water colour sunflower painting).
Having little events and crafts for children certainly gave the market a ‘buzz’ over the summer. This year our activities were much better attended than those in 2017. It is really encouraging to see the children’s smiles when they proudly walk out of the market clutching what they made. The grandparents, especially, were very appreciative of our efforts- six weeks is a long time to look after an under 10 for when you are not used to it and so to have something already organised (no shopping/prep/cleaning up to do) for an hour a week is a bonus.
We’d certainly encourage other markets to follow suite, even if it is just some colouring pages and pencils for school holiday weeks. Our next children’s event is October half term week (2nd Nov), when we are planning a ‘Fireworks competition’ and Halloween craft 😊