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04 Aug 2015

Guests booked into either No 33 Hunstanton or its sister luxury B & B at Thornham on 26th September will be able to experience a truly wonderful taste of Norfolk at the inaugural Farmers Market at Thornham Deli.

It’s certainly exciting times at Thornham Deli as co-owners Jeanne Whittome and Janie Thompson prepare for their latest innovation – a monthly Farmer’s Market.

The market, which will take place on the last Saturday of every month, will showcase all that is best about Norfolk. Cheeses, meats, oils, breads, cakes, ales, plus a host of other exciting produce will be on sale from a range of artisan stallholders.

The Farmer’s Market will be held on the grounds of, and inside, Thornham Village Hall, right next door to the Deli. So, visitors can grab a coffee and breakfast from the Deli before perusing all that is on offer at the market. There is a children’s playground to keep the younger members of the family entertained and ample parking.

The first Farmer’s Market will take place on Saturday 26 September – 9.30am-12.30pm – then every last Saturday of the month. This joint collaboration is yet another example of Jeanne and Janie’s commitment to the local community, every penny raised in pitch hire from the stallholders will go towards the Village Hall fund.

Below are brief accounts from a stall holder and a customer talking about why they love being involved in farmers markets.

The stall holder
One of the best things about being a stall holder at a Farmers Market is the variety of people you meet and the conversations you get involved in. I have been helping out on the Marsh Pig charcuterie stall for about six months now, and every first Saturday of the month, I jump in my charcuterie-laden car at 7.30am and head over to Creake Abbey Farmers Market with a renewed sense of energy.

The preceding week has been spent following the hum-drum nature of the nine to five, and while being a market stall holder is hard work, it is so completely different that it is invigorating.

The customers range from the knowledgeable buyers who know what they are looking for and return time again for their favourite produce, to those who are uninitiated in charcuterie and don’t know their lomo from their coppa. You might find yourself discussing the finer points of curing, the relative amounts of herbs and spices, or you might be explaining that chorizo begins life as a pig. But, whoever the customer, no matter what their knowledge level, you are engaging in conversation and that is always a lovely feeling.

And there are always the funny moments. A baker recently recounted one person asking if “Ciabatta was like bread?” And I have had to tell at least three people that we don’t sell vegetarian charcuterie.

So the idea of pitching up at Thornham Deli, grabbing a coffee while I set up the stall and then spending three hours engaging in banter, chatter, questions and a bit of selling, sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

The customer
As a person who loves food but, more importantly, loves to eat food that has been prepared with total respect towards the ingredients, a farmers market is my perfect hunting and gathering ground. The difference between a supermarket and a farmers market is huge and the two experiences cannot really be compared.

Talking to a producer, who is selling the goods that he or she has reared, grown or made, is to see a person’s passion for their work. There is a man who sells soft fruit at a local farmers market who doesn’t allow anyone else to pick or pack his fruit because he knows exactly how he wants them to look in the punnets; there is a coffee roaster who can talk for hours about the stuff we guzzle down without a thought to its provenance; there is the pig farmer who clearly loves his stock, even though it also provides his income.

What is important about going to a farmers market is that everyone is engaged in the process. This is not a simple case of a customer buying a product that will be swiftly consumed; this is the place where people who love what they do are able to showcase their produce and we, as customers, are able to respect the work, dedication and passion that is so clearly on display.

Personally, I will be going along to Thornham to pick up honey, fresh bread, some lovely cheese and a few bottles of craft beer. A perfect start to the weekend!

Pictured: Craft beer, just one of the delights to be found at Thornham Deli Farmers Market

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