My answer to the question, ‘did you know that Chipping Norton had its own country market?’ three weeks ago, would have been ‘No’. Chipping Norton has its very own craft market, which runs every Saturday between 9am – 11am, and is part of the wider ‘Country Markets’ movement. I was told about it by one of the stall holders, Sally and I felt that it was fitting that my first ‘real’ blog post for 2019, shone a bit of light on it.
Each week, except the third Saturday of every month when the Farmers’ Market pitches up, several local producers and craftspeople set up in the Lower Town Hall selling wares from freshly baked cakes, homegrown vegetables and fruits, plants, meats, plus arts and crafts.
How did I not know about this?
For over 100 years a network of 250 Country Markets across England and Wales has been selling homemade and local goods. It’s a Co-operative Social Enterprise and each local group is organised in co-operative societies registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. It’s all very official.
Membership is open to anyone over 16 and the cost of joining is 5p. Yep, 5p. The cost of an old school shilling. Everything is sold cooperatively, producers receive payment at the end of every month for their sales, minus a small commission to cover running costs and insurance. In Chippy, that’s 13 per cent.
So when you rock up, you’ll be presented with a piece of paper and as you fill your basket, each stall holder will mark up what you’ve had and you pay on your way out. You can even use a card.
What can you expect at Chippy’s market
Chippy’s market features meats and sausages butchered at Long Compton abattoir; handmade cards, soaps and gift bags; a plant stall; local honey; fruit and veg; Sally’s hand-printed tea-towels, totes, aprons and storage boxes (I can vouch for the aprons, super they are!) and a chap that even makes walking sticks. You can even have a slice of cake and cuppa for a mere donation!
Tom and I came away with a packet of sausages, soap and an upcycled keyring made from a bit of skateboard, for about £8.50. This was absurd when you compare the fact I bought a £25 ticket for the Christmas Fair at Daylesford last November and paid £4.50 for one hand printed card alone. Suffice to say, that this Mother’s Day, I will not be heading to Daylesford for my gift inspo.
It’s clear that there are several visitors to the market who come to do a spot of shopping every week. For these regulars, it’s an important part of their social life, but the market to thrive needs both more producers and visitors. But a word to the wise, the regulars know that to get the best stuff, you need to be prompt when doors open at 9am.
I’ve seriously started to think about upscaling my fledgeling candle-making exploits a bit further and getting myself my own stand, which will probably bring in more income than this blog ever will.