Monday 3 December 2012

Edinburgh Farmers Market and a fete

Under the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning.  I rose early, leaving E to mind Sylvia at our holiday flat, and headed off to the bus stop this Saturday.  The buses weren't running as regularly as on weekdays and then I discovered I didn't have enough coins (they don't take notes) so I rushed off to the nearby Greggs to buy potato scones and get change.  I just missed the no 49 bus but I caught the no 42 bus. I was very excited about finally visiting this farmers market.  It was every bit as interesting and delicious as I had anticipated.

I had a lovely time wandering about the stalls, tasting foods and chatting to stallholders.  Writing up this post and checking all the websites has made me full of desire to visit many of the wonderful cafes and bakeries represented here.  Unfortunately I wont have much time to so on this trip.  Instead I am glad to have had the opportunity to get a sample of the foodie offerings of Edinburgh at this market.

One of the first places I looked at was the Arran Cheese Shop.  I was instantly fascinated by the cheese oat cakes.  I decided to leave my purchase until on the way back.  When I did I found myself looking closer at the cheeses.  I bought not only the cheese oat cakes but also some raspberry infused cranberry cheese.  Both are amazing.

Sylvia would have loved to come to the market with me.  Instead I brought her home apple juice from Laprig Fruit.  She is rather fond of apple juice but rarely has such quality juice.  This is like really good cloudy apple juice and does taste of apples.  I bought a small bottle of apple juice and a large one of apple and raspberry juice.  Actually I think I preferred the straight apple juice.  I had a chat to the man at the stall about sourcing apples.  He said there was not a great stock of British apples this year.

I didn't buy any berries but wishes I had later.  However I have fresh cranberries in our fridge and felt obliged to use these rather than start buying more berries.  But those blackberries would have been superb with some yoghurt or ice cream.

I didn't buy any bread but I loved seeing all the baked goods.  We have some granary bread from the Edinburgh Larder (more about that later) and some supermarket bread, plus oatcakes and potato scones.  Probably is enough.  These round loaves were just gorgeous and I was tempted by the pumpkin bread.

I also resisted temptation at the Valvona and Crolla stall, despite having a fondness for their Edinburgh deli and cafe bar.  These sugar doughnuts looked delicious.

I did however stop and buy croissants from Bakery Andante because E hadn't been able to find them in the supermarket.  these soft buttery flaky pastries would embarrass anything the supermarket has to offer.  I loved the large rustic loaves of Covenanter's sourdough bread.  The idea that we are still eating the same bread as our ancestors resonates with me.

I couldn't resist the Chocolate Tree offerings.  I bought a selection of their pretty chocolate bars - winter spice, rose and pepper, strawberry and pepper, maple and pecan.  It seemed only right and proper to support local artisan chocolatiers.  I can't wait to taste some of their chocolate.

Was I living here, no doubt I would be buying one of these trees and a Christmas wreath.  As I am just on holiday, I am content to just admire the festive cheer this stall brings to the market.

I was very excited to see vegan cashew cheese (like a spread rather than a hard cheese) at the Ziggy's Really Good Food stall.  I had a lovely chat to the woman behind the counter who was telling me about a pop up raw food event next weekend.  Sadly we wont be free.  I did take away some of the cheese and having been enjoying it on oatcakes.  It is very smooth and almost as sweet as it is salty.

I was intrigued by the claim of Simple Simon's Perfect Pies that they were a whole meal in a pie.  The woman told me that there is a layer of potato under the filling of the pie.  A complete meal in a pie is exactly what you want on holiday.  I bought a cabbage, parsnip and apple pie for me and a chicken tarragon one for E.  I was impressed at the range of vegetarian pies and would have loved to try a few.  However we have already got quite a few ready meals in our fridge as well as leftovers of a rice soup that I made last night.

One of the first stalls I passed (opposite the Arran Cheese) was Cairn O'Mohr Fruit Wines.  I would have stopped and bought a bottle or two right then but I was told that they were unable to sell any wine until 10am.  So instead I went back later and had a lovely time with a very entertaining and cheerful saleswoman who was very busy pouring generous samples.  I tasted quite a few wines before deciding which ones to buy (a sparkling strawberry wine and a non-alcoholic sparkling wine).  I might have brought more if bottles weren't so heavy to lug about.

The reason I went to the market so early was that we had planned to go to the the school fete of E's nephews which started at 11am.  I got waylaid in Debenham's (where I left my scarf in the dressing room in my hurry) but managed to be back by 11.30 and the school was only a short walk away.  It was very festive.  We bought some Christmas tree decorations to put around the flat (but Sylvia thinks they are her toys and they are constantly moving about the loungeroom).

We visited this fete on our last trip to Edinburgh but Sylvia was just a baby.  It was even more fun visiting with her as a little girl with a love of craft and baking.  She had lots of fun decorating a tea light holder with stickers and sparkles and glitter glue.  Then she had to decorate two biscuits with icing, white chocolate stars, sprinkles and silver balls.

By the time we arrived it was slim pickings at the home baking stall but that didn't stop us purchasing these five bakes for a pound.  I was a bit surprised that the woman wasn't sure when I asked if there were peanuts in the baked goods.  (At Sylvia's fete in Melbourne we have to list all the ingredients of any food we take for sale.)  We enjoyed them anyway and had fun at the fete.  The star of the family was E's nephew Barney who bought two raffle tickets and won two hampers.

Edinburgh Farmer's Market
Every Saturday, 9am to 2pm
Castle Terrace,


  1. I haven't been to a farmer's market in far too long! Sounds like you had an awesome time!

  2. Ooh, I love the sound of those chocolates! Winter spice, mmm.

  3. Can you hear me clapping my hands in joy? What a great collection of foods and with such a beautiful backdrop too. I am so pleased you bought some of those amazing chocolates - I think it is always right and proper to support local artisan chocolates and these are some seriously good specimens :)

  4. What a great looking market - I've added it to my wishlist for our visit next year. I have no idea what an oatcake is but I want to try one...and a potato scone too!

  5. Oh wow - what a magical market! I want to go there someday.

  6. Looks like such a beautiful spot for a market, how wonderful that you were able to explore it at your leisure! The vegan cashew cheese spread sounds great.


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