Farmers’ market appeals for more people to run stalls

FLEDGLING entrepreneurs are being encouraged to join the Saturday farmers’ market at Sausmarez Manor.

The Rev. Richard Bellinger, with helpers Josh and Rosa Lewis, on the vegetable stall at the Saumarez Manor farmers’ market. The market is appealing for more stall holders as some have dropped out due to lockdowns. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29822252)
The Rev. Richard Bellinger, with helpers Josh and Rosa Lewis, on the vegetable stall at the Saumarez Manor farmers’ market. The market is appealing for more stall holders as some have dropped out due to lockdowns. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29822252)

The market, which has been running for more than 20 years, has seen a drop off recently in the number of farmers and food producers with stalls.

Manor owner Peter de Sausmarez said the market was a great alternative to the large supermarkets, and a smart way for entrepreneurs to become established.

‘It’s a jolly good way to start because if you set up a shop you’ve got rent, telephone, rates, and all the other bits and bobs, this is just £15 to have a go and see if your idea works or not, and you can see what people like and what they don’t like, so it’s a very useful tool.’

Award-winning chocolatier Ben Le Prevost is one of the market’s many success stories, because he started on Saturdays at Sausmarez Manor and now he has his own shop in Mill Street.

A walk around the stalls reveals a bounty of wares, including plants and flowers, books, gifts, knitted goods, and painted scallop shells.

Behind the vegetable stall was the Rev. Richard Bellinger, selling all the usual varieties and also unusual ones like sprout plants and courgette flowers, which taste great stuffed and deep-fried.

The vegetables all come from the organic market garden of the Caritas Community Charitable Trust, which works principally with ex-offenders.

Mr Bellinger and his two assistants were bare foot ‘because it keeps you in touch with the earth’, and all the vegetables came without plastic wrapping.

‘We’ve been coming here for 13 years and have lots of regular customers, their loyalty is really appreciated, and we all help each other,' he said.

'My gazebo flew off last weekend so people rescued it.’

At nearly 11am on the bread stall, John Bean was very nearly sold out.

He makes eight or nine different types of sourdough, and is inspired by passion.

‘Well, I prefer a decent loaf of bread, like a sourdough, rather than something soft and soggy.

‘It’s all freshly made. I start on the Friday to bake early on Saturday and then sell here, and now I’m down to the last one.'

Pat Wisher, from charity Living Streets, was selling local country walks calendars and cards.

She said the lockdowns had made an impact on the market.

‘We’ve lost a lot of fresh produce people. There used to be people selling fish and meat, and jars of chutneys and home-made stuff like that.

‘It’s an ideal time for someone to come and take part because the borders are now open, we’ve got tourists coming, and we need to show our tourists our wonderful Guernsey produce, whether it be honey, vegetables, flowers, we need to promote Guernsey produce.’

The only rules for stall holders is the £15 charge, and they should try to bring a gazebo because the aim is to create a fete-like atmosphere.

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