The Country Markets initiative
PUBLISHED: 14:35 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:35 15 August 2016
Sharon Struckman discovers Country Markets in Herts, part of a UK-wide project to reconnect consumers with the land
For more than 90 years a co-operative of markets across England, Wales and the Channel Islands has been selling homemade baked goods, preserves, garden-grown fruit and vegetables, plants and handmade crafts.
Visitors to these Country Markets (today there are around 300) can buy a variety of produce; almost anything local and seasonal that can be produced in a domestic kitchen or garden. They are held weekly in a variety of venues in cities, towns and villages. In Hertfordshire you can find these traditional treasures in St Albans, Berkhampstead, Hatfield, Harpenden, Hertford, Royston, Kings Langley, Sawbridgeworth and Ware.
The intitiative promotes ‘Making Local Food Work’, supporting community enterprise as a solution to local food needs with the aim of reconnecting consumers to the land by increasing access to fresh, healthy local food.
I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented baker, Niki Knight at Ware Country Market. Inspired by her grandmother, Niki enjoyed experimenting with recipes and perfecting family favourites and for years she had been complimented by family and friends on her baking. Her background was in food manufacturing, having worked in the food industry for a number of years and once her son was established in secondary school she decided to share her talents with a wider audience.
She makes a large range of biscuits and tray bakes (including some gluten-free) and loves traditional recipes and flavour combinations but says she is also always on the lookout for something new.
Niki sells her products through food fairs, carnivals, markets and other public events in the area. She also creates unique gifts for special occasions and will deliver to both businesses and private customers. For more information, contact Niki via her website, nikishomemadebiscuits.co.uk
For more on the Country Markets initiative, go to country-markets.co.uk
Sharon Struckman is a Herts-based food and drink writer and photographer blogging at whatishootieat.co.uk