Traders lose status as farmers' market

July 03 2017
Traders lose status as farmers' market

WELLS has lost its farmers’ market – at least in name.

Somerset Farmers’ Markets has pulled out of the city’s Wednesday market in Wells Market Place.

The organisation said that its operation in Wells was running at a loss and was unsustainable.

Most of the food producers in Wells it represented are still turning up but now deal directly with Mendip District Council like the other market stallholders – and cannot call themselves a farmers’ market.

“I understand the financial side of it but I feel let down. We all do,” said Janet Wood of Mere Fish Farm, who has been trading at Wells for 16 years.

“I’ve always been proud to be a member of Somerset Farmers’ Markets and it’s disappointing that’s no longer the case at Wells. I did like the identity of being Somerset Farmers’ Markets.”

Somerset Farmers’ Markets issued a statement saying: "Somerset Farmers’ Markets were disappointed to have to make the decision to stop running their Farmers’ Market section at Wells Market every Wednesday.

"The market sadly became unsustainable for Somerset Farmers’ Markets to continue. Many of the regular producers have however continued in their accustomed pitches to carry on serving their customers and the population of Wells with fresh, locally grown and homemade produce. Thank you to everyone who continues to support local and independent producers."

A Mendip council spokesman added: “Mendip District Council’s markets team were approached by the Somerset Farmers’ Markets who requested a reduction in the rate of their pitches at the Wells Wednesday market.

"As the Farmers’ Market already paid a lower rate than the Mendip market stallholders we were unable to reduce this rate further as it would be unfair to the other traders.

“As a result of this the Somerset Farmers’ Markets made the decision to withdraw from the Wednesday market, however the majority of their traders are keen to continue to trade in Wells and have since approached Mendip directly for their usual pitches which we are only too happy for them to occupy. This took effect from Wednesday, June 14.”

The food and drink traders had suggested renaming their area Mendip Farmers’ Market at Wells but could not get agreement from the district council. The entire market is now known simply as Wells Market.