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Take five: farmers’ markets and farm shops

A fruit and vegetable stallI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you come to Scotland, be sure to bring your appetite! As well as dining at the country’s many fine eateries, anyone with a passion for great food and drink should take time to discover our incredible farmers’ markets and farm shops.

It’s no secret that Scotland offers a slice of heaven for all self-professed foodies – delve into our natural larder and you’ll discover a great wealth of delicious produce from both the land and the sea. And at farmers’ markets and farm shops, you can often come away with much more than just a bag of fresh, tasty groceries for nibbling and cooking with!

Five reasons to visit a farmers’ market or farm shop

  • Pick up seasonal produce and eat what’s best and available right now!
  • Get tips from the producers on how to get the most of your produce, from storing to tasty recipes.
  • Try something new and find something you’ve never sampled before.
  • Support local businesses by buying directly from the producers.
  • Keep food miles low and help minimise the carbon footprint.

A Scottish farmers' market

Five Scottish farmers’ markets

I’m very fortunate indeed to have the fantastic weekly Stockbridge Market practically on my doorstep in Edinburgh. Not only that, the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace is only a short walk away, meaning every weekend I have two opportunities to stock up on high-quality seasonal ingredients. If I’m feeling peckish there’s always an amazing selection of freshly prepared hot street food, and more often than not the smells are just too tempting! Both markets are also great places to pick up unique gifts and local crafts, such as handmade jewellery and organic soap.

Here are five other farmers’ markets not to be missed in Scotland:A man holding Brussels sprouts

Stirling Farmers’ Market
When?      Second Saturday of the month
Taking place on Port Street near the city centre, this bustling market has 25 stalls trading everything from dry-aged Highland beef to chilli jams, chutneys and preserves.

Perth Farmers’ Market
When?      First Saturday of the month
Perth and the surrounding countryside is renowned for its fine fertile farmlands. Pick up locally-reared meats, country wines and summer berries, and watch cooking demonstrations.

Kelso Farmers’ Market
When?      Fourth Saturday of the month
In the charming Borders town of Kelso, the monthly market takes place in the pretty square. Browse the stalls for a superb range of delicacies including wild game, venison, ciders and ice cream.

St Andrews Farmers’ Market
When?      First Saturday of the month
As well as yummy Fife produce, including farmhouses cheese, tender pork and specialist hot chocolate, this market also host a pop-up restaurant in the summer months.

Glasgow Farmers’ Market
When? Southside first and third Saturday of the month, West End second and fourth Saturday of the month
At the West End market, fill your shopper with smoked cheese, seafood, fresh vegetables, and slow-raised poultry, or why not buy baked Scottish favourites, including clootie dumpling, tattie scones and macaroon bars from the Southside market?

That’s just a sample of Scotland’s many farmers’ markets – find more across the country on our farmers’ market page.

 A Scottish cheese counter

Five Scottish farm shops

A trip to a farm shop will bring you out into the great Scottish countryside. You can enjoy plenty of fresh air before you work up an appetite – some have nature trails or country walks nearby. Often farm shops will also have a café or tearoom serving fresh snacks, home baking and hot drinks.

Local fruit and vegetables fill shelves as well as artisan goods, such as oatcakes, preserves and baked farm loaves. In fridges you can find traditionally reared meats and specialist Scottish cheese, as well as smoked fish from local fisheries.

Plan a visit to one of these five farm shops for a true taste of great Scottish produce.

Ardross Farm Shop, Elie, Fife
Visitors to this family-run farm shop often declare it’s the best in the country. As well as their own Ardross beef and farm-grown vegetables being available to buy, the shop also stocks a great range of local Fife produce, from beers to cheese.

Gloagburn Farm & Coffee Shop, PerthFresh free range eggs
Quality eggs from free-range hens are the specialty at Gloagburn, but they also sell a huge range of produce from their own farm and kitchen, including beef, pork, gingerbread, pies, quiche, scones, muesli, pastries and pates.

Hopetoun Farm Shop, West Lothian
The shop sells beef, lamb, seasonal game and poultry which all come directly from thousands of acres of beautiful estate. It also offers an extensive range of gluten-free products, while the fruit and vegetables are sold from a pretty converted horsebox!

Muircot Farm Shop, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire
Does Muircot Farm Shop serve the best bacon rolls in Britain? Many of their customers seem to think so! The coffee shop offers beautiful views of the Ochil Hills, and produce on offer includes free range chicken, cold pressed rapeseed oil, and raspberry and prosecco jam!

Loch Arthur Farm Shop, Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway
Set in a large, bright and airy barn, Loch Arthur Farm Shop offers cheese produced from its own creamery, bread from its bakery and organically reared meats from its butchery, and much more produce besides.

Or, why not find a farm shop near you?

Strawberries and vegetables

Five types of Scottish produce to fill your basket

Often a visit to a farmers’ market or farm shop can be a sensory overload, but I think there are some things that, when in Scotland, you really shouldn’t miss! Look out for these types of produce that you can often find at farm shops and farmers’ markets:

  • Scottish cheese
    Find out more about what types of cheese to look for to make the perfect Scottish cheeseboard.
  • Craft beers
    Microbreweries are popping up left, right and centre at the moment, and Scotland produces some rather fantastic brews. Discover 10 craft beers worth trying.
  • Black pudding
    Scotland is famed for the quality of its meat, and black pudding is one of the country’s favourite meat products (next only to haggis!). Did you know it’s a superfood?
  • Smoked salmon
    Is there anything more sublime than traditionally smoked salmon on fresh bread?! As well as salmon, you can often find other smokehouse produce, from smoked mussels to smoked cheese and smoked poultry.
  • Summer berries
    In the warmer months, ripe strawberries and other juicy delights are available (and often can be found frozen when out of season). At some farms you can even pick your own!

If that’s whet your appetite for Scottish produce, find out more about great Scottish food and drink including information on foodie trails across Scotland, recipes and much more. Or, if you’ve discovered a fantastic farmers’ market or farm shop, let us know in the comments below!

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