South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has welcomed the return of the vendors and customers to Dumfries Farmers’ Market which
re-opened on Sunday 2nd August following months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Harper attended the first Dumfries Farmers’ market since April lockdown with Russel Griggs, Chairman of South of Scotland Enterprise, whom she’d invited to meet with the local businesses. Dumfries Provost, Tracey Little, was also in attendance to welcome the market’s return.
With coronavirus restrictions changing some of the operational side of the market, a steady queue, physically distanced, formed at Dumfries Railway Station, where the Farmers’ Market has been based for two years. It is the only Farmers Market located at a railway station in Scotland. The Market is open on the first Sunday of every month. Stalls were set up centrally, and face coverings, a one-way system and restricted numbers accessing the market at any one time, was in place to allow for physical distancing between vendors and customers.
Ms Harper, who is a regular at the Farmers’ Market, said;
“It was great to see Dumfries Farmers’ Market, an important fixture in many local small businesses’ calendars, open again on Sunday. I had the pleasure of introducing Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, to many of our local producers. We heard about the innovative solutions created by the businesses so that they could counteract the lockdown restrictions which were in place. The restrictions were of course, implemented to reduce the spread of coronavirus. I was able to speak to many familiar people while purchasing the delicious locally produced food and drink.
“I know how hard it’s been for so many small businesses during the last few months so it was great to see them return again and congratulations to all organisers and indeed, the customers, on a successful market.”
Professor Russel Griggs OBE Chair of SOSE said; “It was great to be able to meet many diverse businesses from our local area and hear from them, not only about the range of challenges they have faced during this pandemic, but also how all of them had taken up creative and innovative ways of reaching their customers. It was great to hear about the many different channels they have developed and retained going forward in order to help build their businesses and make them even better for the future.”
Peter Johnston, Chair, Dumfries Farmers’ Market, said;
“A big thank you to Scotrail, our partner in allowing us to host the market for the first time since lockdown, and our customers who queued patiently with good grace outside the market to gain entry and then supported the traders by purchasing many locally produced products
“There was buzz and chatter which filled the Victorian Pavilion which created a sense of normality despite us being restricted to only 57 people in the market at any one time. So many people said how happy they were to come out to the market and feel a bit of ‘normal’ re-entering their lives and it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to be there yesterday. We are excited and looking forward to the next market on Sunday 6th September”.
Tracey Little, Dumfries Provost, said;
“Local businesses rely on local people shopping and supporting small businesses and I’m proud that Dumfries and Galloway offers great quality produce, particularly great tasting food and drink. Dumfries Farmers’ Market is a key date in the calendar and whilst the pandemic has put the market on hold I’m delighted that the reopening was successful and it was good to see both vendors busy and customers happy.