Over the last 12 years I’ve been getting up at 6 o’clock on 3 Saturdays a month to head to farmer’s market. A farmer’s market it a good thing for a town. It can only happen if there are enough people producing food locally. It only keeps happening if enough people come out and buy, rain or shine.

After all these years I enjoy markets a lot because the town becomes a “village”. I see many people month after month, and I get as much pleasure from the conversations as I get from doing business. Having a thriving farmer’s market says something about a town. You periodically get surveys of “best places to live” and good markets virtually always feature.

As well as the producers and the buyers there is a little army of unseen people who make it all possible. There were the agenda 21 team, who had the foresight to set up the market, and the markets team who keep it ticking over. And then there are the marquee men. Because I am generally the last off the market I have over the years come to know them well, and have a great respect for their stoicism. To make the market happen they are there at 2 o clock in the morning putting up the marquees with military precision. And when it is all over they are there again taking it down. It is old fashioned unglamorous “Hard Graft”.

For the last market in Stafford the weather forecast was terrible. There were phone calls at 2 in the morning between the market organiser and the marquee man. They decided that as a lot of producers rely on a good period in the run up to Christmas that they would chance it, but they were still worried in case forecasted gale force winds might cause damage to the tents or perhaps danger to the public, so for all of last Saturday Tony the marquee man and John the Market man stood, increasingly weary, in the square to be on hand and take immediate action if the gusts came.

They didn’t have to do this, and I for one was very impressed that they made this effort! So here is a thank you to John and Tony and all the other unseen and unsung heroes who are going beyond “just doing their job” to make their community a little stronger.