A Well Kept Secret

Gartocharn Farmers Market

I heard a rumour that the small village of Gartoharm held a farmers market every Friday. I had passed through the village many times on Fridays and caught no sign of life, but last week I was determined to seek out and find. I drove over at 9.30am. No homemade signs hammered into the verge alerting passers by to this fabled event, nothing. The car in front signalled right and tuned off the main road so I followed. Some police cones lined the pavement, things were looking hopeful. I spotted two elderly men leaving the Village Hall car park carrying shopping bags, but the Village Hall door was open; something was going down in there.

‘Where is the farmers market? I shouted out the car at a passing women. She pointed down the road to where droves of people now headed, where did they come from? ‘It’s just along that lane, follow the crowd.

Result! I parked and headed along a tree lined avenue reminiscent of the boulevards of France. White farm buildings dominated the skyline almost hiding the stunning backdrop of Loch Lomond. Rows of fresh local and imported fruit and vegetables burst from trestle tables. It was indeed just like the French market I stumble upon whenever I visit Paris (but without the fish and cheese). I jostled with the crowds, tripped over pushchairs and rummaged for the best of the fine selection. I loaded my bag with as much as I could carry and went into a shed to pay. Inside the shed there was more to choose from, including at least eight varieties of potatoes.

The other customers greeted each other like old friend and I suspected that the market is not advertised because the locals prefer it that way. Well I am a local too (almost) and I felt privileged to be able to shop here.

I envied the wee woman who trundled her trolley bag back up the avenue. Next week I would be sure to be better prepared.

I didn’t have my camera with me on Friday – the craft market is held in the same hall as my Pilate’s class

But what was happening in the hall? A weekly craft market, thats what. I enjoyed the luxury of sauntering round the hall, taking a 25p shot at the tombola and not winning, then paying £1.40 for a mug of (not bad) coffee and an indulgent chocolate brownie. I sat and enjoyed the view from the hall window and reflected on life in the country. It is a bit like being thrown into the set of the Archers and realising that it is an enjoyable experience. I can’t wait until next week.

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