Growing and going local – the journey begins

horsforth_honeyHorsforth Blossom Honey. Bill described his honey as being made by bees in his ‘own garden’.

A few weeks ago, disgruntled with not having my own crops to eat I set myself a challenge to buy more local produce. I want to be able to trace the source of my food. With my own harvest incredibly low at the minute I’m keen to buy veg from local suppliers who’ve put the effort in to grow their own.

Well, I’ve found it. Not just vegetables, I’ve found the lot. You name it, it’s being sold at a market about 2 miles away from me!

b_whitely_stall_horsforth_marketeggs_horsforth_marketAmazing eggs from Church View Farm

Running since October 2012 Horsforth farmers market takes place on the first Saturday of each month and it’s brilliant! All the sellers are local to Yorkshire and some are local to Horsforth itself.

I discovered that Leeds has a few farmers markets and to help me remember the dates I’ve popped a recurring ‘appointment’ into my outlook calendar.

I thought my challenge was going to be really tough. First off, I thought it would be difficult to source local suppliers and secondly, I thought it would be hard to fit the gathering of the local produce into my busy life, but it’s not.

oragnic_pantry_horsforth_market‘Proper fresh veg’ from The Organic Pantry

When I was growing up I enjoyed shopping on a Saturday morning in town with my mum. We’d visit the butchers, the bakers and the veg shop and she would chat to tons of people along the way. Now I’m the one chatting to the locals and having a great time. A morning at the market beats doing ‘a big shop’ at the supermarket hands down.


The market also has a fair trade stall run by a really friendly bunch of people and I bought myself a Traidcraft version of nutella. Ok, so it might not be made in Yorkshire but I still know where it’s from and I know that my money goes to the people who made it.


I was thrilled to meet Vicky from B. Whiteley Farm Shop who had a stall selling plants and veg. The farm is about 2 miles from my house in the opposite direction but I never knew they were there. They grow and sell veg, have their own hen eggs and also run a plant nursery.

I purchased my first rhubarb plant from Vicky’s stall and she gave me some top tips about not harvesting it for a couple of years and to plant it into some well fertilised soil. She also advised me against forcing the rhubarb because it weakens the plant, it’s better to just let it grow naturally and do its thing.

rhubarb_horsforth_marketraspberry_canes_b_whitely_horsforth_marketseed_potatoes_b_whitely_horsforth_marketGreat selection of plants and veg from Vicky at B. Whiteley Farm, she only brings the veg she’s grown herself.

I got some top tips from the apple juice stall about what I can mix with my apples and how to make an elder flower syrup and freeze it until I need it. My two favourite hobbies, gardening and eating are combined at the market.

apple_juice_horsforth_marketApple juices from Yorkshire Orchard

I read a cool article recently where the writer claims that Leeds has some great organic shops but they’re all rather ‘top secret’. I think this sums up how I feel about all that I’ve newly discovered, it’s been right on my doorstep all along but I just never knew about it.

I found all the produce at the market very reasonably priced and I just hope I’m in Leeds for the next one in April so I can go back for a natter and a re-stock.

Do you shop for local products? Do you find that it fits into your lifestyle?

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47 Responses to “Growing and going local – the journey begins”

  1. Allotment adventures with Jean March 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Great that you have found your contacts so close to home. We have excellent farmers’ markets here in Brisbane run by a local lady Jan Powers. I love going down there.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Hi Jean! I’m so happy I’ve found the local market and I can’t wait to go again. I’m happy to hear you enjoy your local markets too. Hope all is good with you : ) Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. Ricki Grady March 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    The farmers’ markets are just starting up again here, after a few months off. What I get the biggest kick from is finding an unfamiliar veg, talking to the vendor about ways to use it and then heading home to experiment. Shopping the markets is a fun outing.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Hi Ricki! I’ll have to keep my eye out for some unusual veg too!! I suppose the market it all about trying new things and it sure is a very enjoyable way to spend a morning. Thanks so much for dropping by : )

  3. The Garden Smallholder March 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Great post Anna! I love farmers markets and shopping as locally as we can too! We buy our meat (sometimes seasonal fresh veg) from local farm stalls just outside of the village, all huddled together at the front of the local garden centre (privately run, not a chain) every first Saturday of the month. Other stalls include fresh bread, dairy, local honey and preserves etc. Our farmers market is very small but it’s all there, everything you need and the atmosphere is always friendly and warming. It all tastes so much fresher too. We could go out further for more variety but we like to support local people. Great photos, really enjoyed the post and photos.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m really pleased you enjoyed my post. This market is only small too, but like you say it has everything I need and is so friendly. I’m really pleased you enjoy farmers markets too! Thanks so much for dropping by : )

  4. Christina March 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    That’s great; you must be so pleased to have found such treasure. I’m lucky living in this part of Italy. The local shops are proud to tell you that most of the produce has been grown locally. I know it’s true; I’ve seen all the ‘ape’ (3 wheeled vans) loaded with whatever the farmer has picked that morning outside the vegetable shop at six in the morning. Things are labelled “Nostro Produzione” (our production); “Local” (around the town), “Tarqiunia” (a very productive area about 25 miles away; followed by various named regions, then Italy in general and then perhaps only 5% of the stock named foreign countries. Sadly this isn’t true everywhere now; Italian housewives are discovering the dubious pleasures of supermarkets! Hopefully the local producers will long continue and the joys of local food won’t be lost. Christina

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Christina! That’s so great that the local shops are proud to be selling locally grown produce, and they label its origin too! I hope it continues too and like you say, it’s all about the joys of local food! I love that :) ! Thanks so much for your comment.

  5. b-a-g March 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Goose eggs sound interesting. Would like to try making a special omellette with those.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Haha! Indeed! Someone was buying a couple of those when I was there and she said she was going to make an omellette! I might try one next time. Thanks so much for dropping by b-a-g! :)

  6. gardeninacity March 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    I’m also a big fan of farmers’ markets. The fruits and vegetables are hard to beat, and the vendors are fun and friendly. We also usually have local cheese, honey, sausage, etc.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Jason! Yeah, it was the whole experience I enjoyed, like you say the friendly folk and the wonderful atmosphere. I bought some amazing cheese called ‘Rhuby Crumbly’, it was a Lancashire cheese – not sure if you’ll know what I mean by that, erm, a white crumbly creamy cheese, but this one was flavoured with rhubarb and vanilla! It was awesome! I can’t wait to restock that!! Thanks so much for dropping by : )

  7. Janet/Plantaliscious March 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    What a wonderful discovery! It does sound a lot more fun than a supermarket trip, and I bet you wind up with better and more interesting produce too. Our van is off the road at the moment so no local market visiting for me, but our village butchers has re-opened which is great news, and all the meat is local to the Island.

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      It definitely beats the supermarket! Good news about your butchers re-opening. I think we’ve come full circle wanting to go back to the days where we shopped locally. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  8. Cathy March 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Glad you’ve found such bounty nearby! Although I live out in the country, this kind of market just hasn’t caught on here – we have the normal weekly market, but a lot of the produce is bought in. The farm shops sell potatoes and… potatoes! I’m still hunting though!

    • Anna B March 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Cathy! Good to know you can always get potatoes!! I hope the local markets improve for you and apparently spring is here now so we can get our own veggies growing again :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

  9. Charlie@Seattle Trekker March 21, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    I am so fortunate that in my area the number of farmers markets selling locally grown foods has increased each year. Even though our climate is a little harsh for it we now even have a couple in our metropolitan area that run year round. The latest innovation is that there are restuarants that harvest and prepare dishes from their own gardens. One of these has a national reputation for quality. Good things are coming.

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Charlie, I love the sound of those restaurants! My friend was telling me about a place like that near where she lives and a guy I work with used to work at a restaurant that had its own veg garden! They do seem to be associated with quality and I guess that’s what its all about. Great to hear about things in your area. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  10. Charlotte March 21, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    You’ve inspired me to try get to more farmers markets and farm shops to buy local produce- especially meat and veg! Your farmers market looks much better than the ones we get up here in tha Toon! One of the neighbours told me about a butcher who can trace the exact source of the meat and it all comes from the surrounding areas so that’s definitely on my list to visit. It’s so difficult to even find a good local butcher nowadays & all too easy to shop at the dreaded supermarkets but the produce isn’t a patch on locally fresh stuff! Plus it’s so much better to support small, local businesses. However, I think it can be hard to fit in time to potter around the different places to get your food but I must make more effort! I was very nearly tempted to sign up to one of those box schemes which would also force me to be more creative in what I cook. We do have a fab deli in the Grainger Market that stocks hard to find ingredients etc. I do love shopping there but it is expensive! I wish they stocked more fresh stuff, I’m determined to try one of their goose eggs I saw recently, they look like they dropped out of a dinosaur!
    Excuse the ramble.
    Chazzer! X

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      Hello Chazzer! I love your ramble! Ha! The goose eggs are massive like dinosaur eggs!!! I’m so pleased you feel inspired to buy more local produce, I’m sure your local vendors will be pleased too. Amazing about the butcher who can trace the source, I think that shows they really care about what they’re selling. It is a bit harder to find the time to go to different shops but its so much more enjoyable than the dreaded supermarket. Hopefully if more people support the little local places then we will end up with more of them. Thanks so much for dropping by dudette and for your comment :) x

  11. Sue@GLAllotments March 21, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    We have a few farm shops that we use which are quite near to us. The beauty is that they are open all the time.

    Must admit I love my fruit too much to be able to source it all locally i.e pineapple, oranges etc.

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Hello Sue! You know what, I was just thinking about mangoes the other day and thought the chances of finding those grown locally is pretty slim! In fact, it’s not likely at all really is it! I love those fruits too! I might have to plant a peach and plum tree to help balance out my fruit intake. Thanks so much for dropping by and for your comment :)

  12. Holleygarden March 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    How wonderful that you found this source! First, I try to grow my own. Secondly, I try to buy from our local farmer’s market. That produce I mostly can to use over the winter (our market is only open for a few months in summer). Then, thirdly, when things start to get low in late winter/early spring, I rely upon the grocery store. :( I am determined to try to grow more of my own and buy more from the local farmers.

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      Hello there! Yes, that is exactly what I want to do. A few of the leeds markets close for a period of time over winter too. Like you I’m determined to grow or go local too. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  13. thesneakymagpie March 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    How lovely to have it so close, I used to go every Sunday when it was a 15 minute walk from my house but sadly now, that I live in the middle of nowhere and have a toddler, I don’t go anymore. I went once to the nearest farmers market but it is a drive and needs organising. I sometimes go to the Kingston town market, and love it, great produce (although mostly not organic or local) and amazing cheap flowers. I used to get the veg box delivery which was really amazing, best quality stuff ever. Then I stopped for the summer, maybe next winter I should sign up again.

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      Hello sneaky magpie! I think its true that shopping at farmers markets or getting veggie boxes is really enjoyable but it can be tricky to make it fit if it’s not overly local. Maybe when your toddler is a bit older you can go together and fit it in a bit better. I’m lucky that there’s a few in Leeds so I should be able to get to one at least once a month or visit the farms directly. That’s my plan anyway! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  14. Nadezda March 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Anna, it’s true, the local products are my preferable too. I shop the vegs and some milk products and honey from St. Petersburg area. For example, our area apples are tastier than ones brought from other side of the world.
    Have a nice weekend!

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      Hi Nadezda! I’m glad you support your local producers and it sounds like it’s great quality too! If I’m ever over in your area then I’ll be sure to eat some apples :) Thanks so much for dropping by.

  15. Vicky March 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi Anna glad you were happy with your Rhubarb! You know where we are when you want to get your Peach and Plum trees although the Peach will be more productive if you have a warm wall to plant it against preferably a south facing one! Look forward to seeing you soon Vicky x

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      Hello Vicky! I love the rhubarb and it’s looking very healthy in its new home. Thanks for the tip about the peach tree! The front of my house is south facing and it’s amazing just how well plants do out front from the warmth of the house and the wall. At the allotment I have a south facing fence, but I suspect it won’t have the same effect! Looking forward to visiting again soon. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  16. annie_h March 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Just discovered your brilliant blog and very good information too as I’m not too far away In Huddersfield. I keep meaning to try and go more often to a farmers market but you’ve inspired me to make a proper effort. I’ll have a search around, I know there is a good one in Holmfirth. But that link to the dates of ones round Leeds is great.

    • Anna B March 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Hiya Annie! I’ve seen your blog, it’s great! I didn’t realise you were in Huddersfield! I love absolutely love Holmfirth! I might make a special trip over to check it out! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  17. Cathy March 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    I looked carefully at your photos to see if I could see my sister in the background of any of them! I am guessing she she must visit the market – it would be rude not to, when it’s on your doorstep :) You are clearly delighted to have found it yourself!

    • Anna B March 23, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      I sure am delighted! I’ll be going to the next one so if your sister is going too then let her know I’m small and will be smiling and carrying a camera and tons of shopping bags!! She might spot me there and we can say hello!! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  18. Anna March 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Now how great to have such a market almost on your doorstep Anna. Here my most locally sourced product is honey from my allotment plot where there are bee hives :) I also visit our nearest Country Market
    (formerly WI market) where all the produce I buy ie fruit and veg, flowers, plants, eggs, jams, chutneys etc comes from within a twenty mile radius and I know the producers.

    • Anna B March 25, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Hello Anna! That’s awesome about your own honey! Amazing that you can trace your other food to a 20 mile radius and you know the producers. I think that way of living is the way forward. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  19. Anne March 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Thank you so much for visiting our farmers’ market and writing such an interesting piece about it. I joined the team recently to help with the publicity as I trained as a graphic designer. I am thrilled it is here in Horsforth, on my doorstep and the stall holders are heroes – they work so hard producing such gorgeous food. I buy my meat and fish from the market only and also, ‘Caring for Life’ up at Cookridge, because I know they look after their animals well and it’s a fab place to visit. They’ve just opened their new restaurant and farm shop. I don’t think there is anywhere quite like it. It has such a wonderful feel to the place. I think it is because it is built on genuine love and care. I live round the corner from Horsforth Honey and grow flowers in our garden to attract bees and butterflies. When I buy their honey, I think to myself, the pollen has probably come from our garden too. I notice shopping at our market makes people happy. The social side definitely gives me a buzz and buying our food this way – meeting the producers – makes us respect our food. Hope to see you at the next market on 6th April.

    • Anna B March 25, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Hello Anne! In that case I was eating the honey from your garden this morning for breakfast! I just love it! I felt a real buzz at Horsforth market too, it’s awesome and I can’t wait to stock up again on the 6th. I’ve heard a lot about the caring for life farm shop/restaurant and I hope to go and visit there soon too. I’m so pleased I’ve found all these wonderful places and like minded people! Hope to see your on the 6th too! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  20. notjustgreenfingers March 26, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    A lovely well written post and I think farmers markets are great for local food. The rhubarb was £6.25?…wow I wish I lived close enough as I could have split and given you some of mine to save you paying for it. I didn’t quite realise how expensive it is to buy, i’ve been spoilt as I inherited loads on my allotment plot

    • Anna B March 30, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Hello there Mrs Thrift! Yes, when you have a ton of plants you forget just how much things cost to buy! In the long run that will save us tons though, if you think that just a few stalks for eating can cost around £1. I wish we lived nearer too! :) I’d love to visit your amazing allotments. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  21. home, garden, life April 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    2013 marks my 13th season as a vendor at my local farmer’s market. Would love to take a season off and tour England’s countryside and her markets.

    • Anna B April 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      As a vendor! Cool! I’ll have to have a good delve into your blog and hope I can find out more about that! Farmers markets do seem to be getting more popular now over here, which is just great. I really think it has to be the way forward and they’re much more enjoyable than pushing a trolley round a supermarket! Thanks so much for dropping by :-)

      • home, garden, life April 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

        When you are in the mood, just type farmer’s market into my search bar and all related posts will appear. Very colorful. I attend the largest market in central Virginia every Saturday. Take care…

        • Anna B April 5, 2013 at 6:19 am #

          Cool! I’ll check it out :-)

  22. Pete Mallott April 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi Anna,
    I think HiB will ‘doing a stall’ at the June or July Horsforth Farmers market. We will be discussing it at the May monthly meeting (4th). See you there praps.

    • Anna B April 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Hi Pete! Sounds good! I hope to be there. I’ve been really busy lately, looking after a new dog amongst other things including gardening! I’ll let you know if I can make it :)


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