Local growers and producers are celebrating homegrown produce, promoting sustainability and fostering a sense of community
“We’re walked past the garden place before and we’ve seen the signs for honey – but now we’ve actually met the people.”
This visitor to the new Horsington Community Market was delighted to discover the food and other goods produced in her village.
Horsington Village Hall had a quiet buzz as people perused the stalls – quiet, that is, until one gentleman burst into a rousing chorus of Food Glorious Food!
In fact, although there were only a few stalls, the breadth of produce was impressive – and plastic was noticeable by its absence. Crates of organic chard, fresh artichokes and coriander. Bags of apples and pears – yours for a donation.
Freshly baked cakes and breakfast muffins looked tempting and that Horsington Honey was rapidly snapped up by those in the know – and first-time buyers.
Stallholder Jeanne Mortarotti couldn’t hide her enthusiasm: ‘We’re hoping that, by starting this market, people will not only come and buy but also think about they can bring to sell. Perhaps they have too many beans or eggs or something else. It’s all about community. We worked with the PTA at the school – parents have made some of the cakes, and the children produced the apple and pear juice.’
The bottles of cloudy apple and pear juice – made from fruit from the school playground – were proudly displayed, the juice-making a valuable skill, learned at the same time as lessons in minimising food waste.
‘We have free coffees to entice people in,’ Jeanne continues. ‘We’re hoping to create a positive spirit, with 20 per cent of the takings going straight to the school. The children loved making the juices, they will be so excited to see they have sold.’
The market included bread from nearby Lovington Bakery, fresh award-winning cheeses from Feltham’s Farm, plants for sale from Blooming Wild Nursery – and even whole snuggly sheep fleeces.
There was olive oil tasting from Baglio San Felice (Jeanne and her husband have an olive grove in Sicily), and villagers had a chance to order from the 2023 harvest. Although not grown in Horsington it was an excellent example of how the community is using their creativity to develop the market. Naturally, there was a lot of interest in talking first hand to the producers to find out how the oil was produced.
The market is the brain-child of the energetic and creative Penny Nagle of Feltham’s Farm: ‘Many farmers and producers live and work locally. I felt it was a great opportunity to bring people together. It’s also about strengthening food resilience. Everything here is excess produce – we’re actively reducing waste and of course it encourages us all to shop local. Also, as food producers, we’re constantly working – this is a lovely opportunity for us to meet and network as well!’
If the market is successful, the team hopes to hold further events on the first Saturday of each month at Horsington Village Hall. Although it’s a small market, everyone is enthusiastic to make it work and it could become something special for this rural community.
- The Horsington Community Market & Kitchen is held in St Margaret’s Hall on the first Saturday of the month 9.30 to 11am. Proper coffee and home made cakes available!