Did you even know that it was on? I love a good farmers’ market and I only knew about it a month ago, despite being a foodie working in media! I went along last Sunday and bought some delicious food there. I spoke to stallholders and customers and many said that it was not busy enough to be viable, mainly because hardly anyone knew it was there. I know people from Radlett travel to the markets in St Albans and Harpenden, so they must like this sort of thing.
The management company – Hughmark Continental Ltd – came to the decision as they feel the market is not financially viable for them. Lew Hughes, Director, said: “Unfortunately we have decided not to continue with the market. Even though we weren’t charged for using the car park for the trial we have struggled to cover our costs so it just isn’t worthwhile for us.”
We have thriving Farmers’ Markets in St Albans, Harpenden and Wheathampstead and local producers queue up to get stalls, so what has gone wrong in Radlett? Surely this wealthy area, with its excellent restaurants and cafes can support a Farmers’ Market? Certainly Battler’s Green Farm up the road does well and the owner Paul Haworth supported the town centre market, wishing it well.
St Albans is different as we have lots of visitors coming to visit the Abbey, parks and shops. But Wheathampstead is smaller than Radlett and its farmers’ market manages to survive.
I wonder if the market would do better placed directly on the main road, rather than in Newberries car park? That works in Harpenden and brings in customers to the nearby shops too. There used to be a Farmers’ Market at Aldenham Country Park, which then moved to Aldenham Social Club. It didn’t last long as few people knew about it and stall holders gave up on it. Perhaps it can move back to Aldenham Country Park one day, and be supported by the families who love to go there?
Clive Glover, a local resident told me: “The problem has been getting people to know it is on. Hertsmere Borough Council refused to allow banners and signs to be put up without planning permission so there has been no clear publicity for it locally”. When I drove through Radlett last Sunday I only saw one tiny sign for the market. If I had not been looking for it, I would not have known it was on. People walking on the high street did not know it was on.
Delicious food was on sale. We bought our usual shopping bag full of vegetables, including brocolli, radishes, spring onions, potatoes and salad. Hertfelt Produce were selling excellent quality beef raised in Harpenden. They are also at the Harpenden and other local farmers’ markets and do box delivery (www.hertfeltproduce.co.uk).
The Small Batch Bakery are new to me, although they do sell at other local markets. We had really delicious lentil salad, potato salad, quiches, frittatas and blueberry scones from them. Our generous pot of lentil salad was £2.50 which served 4 easily as a side salad. The asparagus quiche had fab pastry and served two easily for lunch. Redbournbury Mill were there, as were Wobbly Bottom; I bought a goat’s cheese flavoured with nettles, which is delicious. It was all well worth the visit.
So, what do you think? Do you want a Farmer’s Market in Radlett? Where do you think it should be? Let me know…