During the pandemic, local Farmers’ Markets became something of a life line – remaining open to the public due to their status as an essential businesses and offering a safe, outdoorsy way to shop.
But these markets are also an excellent way to get closer to the people who grow and produce our food. They can help us to eat more seasonally by offering up the best of what’s in season now, and have the potential to offer the freshest, tastiest produce around (some farmers even pick for the market on the very same day – I’m looking at you, Paul’s Veg!).
“Consumers have an opportunity to truly support sustainable farming by buying food produce – from apples to cheeses – when in season and getting the best quality and taste to boot. By buying more at these times, and ideally more directly from the farmer or better trader – they support growing what makes sense for their land, ecology and climate – sharing the ups and downs of an agroecological system. Buying direct from local farmers and producers also keeps every pound you spend circulating in the local economy, protecting local jobs.”
Here I’ve rounded up six of Cardiff’s best farmers’ markets. These are places where you should be able to buy a wide range of essentials like fruit, veg, meat, dairy and bakery products, and where there is a demonstrable focus on supporting local & sustainable businesses and producers.
For the purposes of this post, I’ve only included established and regular pop-up farmers’ markets (and not permanent venues).
1. Riverside Farmers’ Market (weekly)
Riverside Market was first launched by a group of local food enthusiasts in a small park in the heart of the Riverside community. The original and most successful of Cardiff’s Farmers’ Markets, it can still be found weekly on the Fitzhammon embankment opposite the Principality Stadium.
More than 20 years since the first event, the market is now widely recognised as one of the key food attractions in the Welsh capital, and has grown to become on of the best known farmers’ markets in the U.K. Though still ‘Riverside’ in name, the market is now a social enterprise and now supports more than 100 farmers and small producers who trade across three sites every week – at Riverside, Roath and Rhiwbina too (see below for more info).
The team also run pop-up markets at two university sites, and are currently trialling a new monthly night market.
To view this week’s traders, visit: http://www.riversidemarket.org.uk/riversidemarket.
Every Sunday: Fitzhamon Embankment, Cardiff, CF11 6AN.
2. Roath Farmers’ Market (weekly)
Roath Farmers’ Market opened in early 2008, and since then it has become a real foodie hotspot in Cardiff – this is reflected in the excellent selection of producers and growers who turn up to trade every Saturday, come rain or shine.
The market pops up on the car park of Mackintosh Sports Club and has become a much-loved part of the local Roath Community; a social hub where people can shop, eat, sit and chat for a few minutes – or a few hours.
To view this week’s traders, visit: http://www.riversidemarket.org.uk/roath-market.
Every Saturday: Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, CF24 3JW.
3. Rhiwbina Farmers’ Market (weekly)
After an invitation from the owner of the local pub, The Butcher’s Arms, the Riverside team also set up Rhiwbina Farmers’ Market as a trial in 2010. The market received such strong and enthusiastic support from local residents, it has been running every Friday morning ever since.
Rhiwbina residents are lucky to have this perfect little weekday market – it makes a great lunchtime trip for fresh bread, veg, meat, cheese, and a pick-me-up cup of Coffee.
To view this week’s traders, visit: http://www.riversidemarket.org.uk/rhiwbina.
Every Friday: Ye olde Butcher’s Arms, Heol y Felin, Rhiwbina, CF14 6NB.
4. Pontcanna Farmers’ Market (weekly)
Pontcanna Farmers Market started in 2016, and now runs every Saturday from 10-2pm. It’s a unique market due to its location: the cosy Kings Road Yard, home to a creative community of independent artists and small artisan businesses.
Here you’ll find a number of fresh food traders offering interesting produce from the UK and Europe including bread, organic fruit and vegetables; organic Welsh meat; prize-winning cheeses; cordials & fruit juices, preserves & local honeys and free range eggs. You can also sip and snack as you shop, thanks to being based in the same yard as microbrewery Pipes and vegan offerings The Lazy Leek & Alex Gooch Pizzas.
To find out more visit: https://pontcannamarket.co.uk/traders.
Every Saturday: Kings Road Yard in Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9DF.
5. St Fagans Farmers’ Market (monthly)
Recently returning after a two-year hiatus, St Fagans Farmers’ Market features up to 16 real food producers who set up their stalls at the front of the Museum of Welsh Life.
Another one organised by the Riverside team, St Fagans monthly market promises a great selection of artisan baked goods, confectionary, cheese, spirits, pantry items crafts and more. The market takes place on the third Saturday of each month, and though the museum is free to visit, you will need to book and pay for a parking space in advance (£5 per car).
To view this month’s traders, visit: http://www.riversidemarket.org.uk/st-fagans.
Every Third Saturday: St. Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff, CF5 6XB
6. Insole Court Farmers’ Market (monthly)
A newcomer to the Cardiff farmers’ market scene, this one takes the biscuit for best backdrop – it’s located on the grounds of Insole Court, a Grade-II listed Victorian Gothic mansion house in leafy Llandaff.
There were 21 independent vendors at the inaugural market, which was organised as a collaboration between Harisson Teas, Llanblethian Orchards and Bang On Brewery. It’s hoped that the market will become a permanent monthly fixture.
For regular updates and information, join the Insole Court Farmers’ Market Facebook group.
Last Sunday of the Month: Insole Court, Cardiff CF5 2LN.
Visiting farmers’ markets more often? Make it a pledge!
Food Cardiff, a city-wide partnership of more than 200 individuals and organisations – is asking people ‘make a pledge’ to help Cardiff achieve Gold Sustainable Food Places status by the year 2024. It’s hoped that this simple and mindful act will help to create a thriving local food economy, where everyone has access to better food.
If you’re planning to spend more time shopping at your local farmer’s market, why not sign up to join the city’s good food movement (it’s free), then make your pledge to shop at one of Cardiff’s markets at least once a month.
You can find out more about Food Cardiff’s goals for the city here.