Somerset Farmers Markets celebrates its 25th anniversary

Somerset Farmers Markets (SFM), which originated in 1999 as a means to help local, small-scale producers sell their produce to local customers, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

With the area already home to the UK’s first modern farmers’ market (an honour which went to Bath in 1997), SFM’s initial market – opening in Glastonbury two years later – was next to follow suit. Now, SFM hosts seven markets across the county, two of which in Frome – one at Boyle Cross every second Saturday of the month (excluding January), and one as part of The Frome Independent held March-December every first Sunday of the month.

The Frome Boyle Cross market in particular has gone through a fair amount of evolution of late, having moved from The Cheese & Grain – where it stayed for 24 years – to the Boyle Cross marketplace in the centre of town in 2022. The move, which had the intention of making the market more visible, also resulted in a slew of new traders, including White Lake (goat and sheep’s cheese made in Shepton), Meadowsweet Farm (regenerative beef from Frome), Dowding’s (apple juice and cider from Wincanton), and Hoolee’s (sweet treats from an Argentine pastry chef based in Frome). 

Originally, SFM emerged and was made possible from ‘Agenda 21’ funding in the ‘90s, which was a result of the first climate change summit in Rio de Janeiro. There, United Nations member states encouraged local governments to draw up their own plan to ‘act locally’ in preventing climate change by promoting local initiatives focusing on sustainable development and alleviating negative effects of globalisation.

While that may be longer ago than most want to remember, SFM’s ethos of wanting to help re-establish a thriving local food system – whether for Frome or other Somerset towns – hasn’t wavered since.

SFM’s first market of the year takes place at Boyle Cross on Saturday 10th February, 9am – 1pm.

Further dates for Frome’s SFM 2024, all taking place 9am – 1pm:

  • 9th March
  • 13th April
  • 11th May
  • 8th June
  • 13th July
  • 10th August
  • 14th September
  • 12th October
  • 9th November
  • 14th December