Food producers: Essex Farmers' Markets
PUBLISHED: 16:08 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013
Ian Chisholm from Essex Farmers' Markets explains the benefits of buying local produce from the blossoming number of Essex farmers' markets
LONG before free-range was a la mode, Essex had its own expert; Ian Chisholm. Ian owns and runs Chicken Farm, producing free range eggs from his farm in Norton Heath. Ian is also behind the hugely successful series of Essex Farmers' Markets, and he is one of the leaders in the Essex food revolution.
Ten years ago, Ian was a successful London market trader - a far cry from the green pastures of rural Essex, but he was ready for a change.
'I was working long hours and as well as wanting to change my lifestyle I wanted my children to grow up on a working farm,' Ian explains. While many other food producers were moving towards intensive methods, Ian started at grass roots and set about building barns for his free-range chickens.
Ian explains: 'Our hens live in a large barn with clean and dry nest boxes. During daylight the birds are free to roam in the fields. The difference shows in the quality and taste of their eggs.'
The growing awareness of food production has been reflected in the industry and an unprecedented growth for Essex Farmers' Markets.
'Consumers had really lost touch with where their food was coming from and now are becoming more aware and making responsible choices about what they are eating and the lives of the animals involved,' Ian explains.
At a farmers' market customers are buying direct from the grower or producer and they can ask questions about how the food is sourced. Customers are reassured to know their purchases are farm fresh, ethically produced and really good quality. Each market offers great food without compromise, and the only real surprise is at how reasonable the prices are.
'You're not paying for expensive packaging and marketing campaigns,' explains Ian. 'It is also worth remembering that the traders don't have to travel far, and therefore the savings can be passed on to the customer.'
The latest addition to Essex Farmers' Markets is the long-awaited market at the new Colchester United FC ground on September 21 from 9am to 1pm. But the great thing is there are Essex Farmers' Markets across the whole county so there is sure to be one near you.
Get the taste
Essex Farmers' Markets
Norton Field Farm, Norton Lane,
Norton Mandeville, Ingatestone, CM4 OLN
Three 2 try:
Find farm fresh food
Southend Farmers' Market
High Street, Southend
2nd and 4th Saturday each month
9am to 4pm
Brentwood Farmers' Market
High Street, Brentwood
1st Saturday of every month
9am to 3pm
Epping Farmers' Market
High Street, Epping
1st Friday of every month
9am to 1pm