Comber Farmers’ Market celebrates its fourth year

Comber Farmers’ Market celebrates its fourth year

11 July 2018

COMBER Farmers’ Market celebrated its fourth birthday last Thursday.

The market opened in July 2014 with four volunteers, 12 traders and a footfall of 400-500 people.   The market now has 26 regular traders, 35 volunteers working on market day and a footfall of 900-1,000 every month.

Despite many barriers along the way Comber Farmers Market — a social enterprise — has contributed to regenerating Comber and boosting the local economy.  

In addition to the growing number of food and plant traders, the ladies from St Mary’s Church catering committee serve over 400 teas and traybakes in the church hall on market day and have raised over £30,000 for church funds. 

The social  impact of the market has been one of its greatest successes. The market has become a favourite meeting place for the elderly folk of the town who meet up for a chat, a cup of tea and a scone and buy fresh quality local produce from top artisan food producers in Northern Ireland.

According to an independent  survey the market contributes £14,500 to the local economy each month.  This includes the spend by the public at the market, the amount raised by the church teas and the spend in the town.  This equates to £174,000 every year. In the past four years it is estimated that the market has contributed around £696,000 to the local economy.

In the past two years the market has won three awards — Ards Business Award for Best Tourism Activity 2016, Best Food Market in NI 2017 and the NILGA Award for Best Initiative by a councillor. In 2017.  

Alderman Deborah Girvan, who has driven the market forward on behalf of Comber Regeneration Community Partnership, said: “The success of the market can be attributed to the 35 volunteers who give up their time and experrtise to run the market.

“These include the management team, the gazebo team — retired gentlemen who get up at 6.30am on market day to put up the gazebos and return at at 1pm to take them down — the ‘clicker’ team who count the number of customers and the church catering team.

“The market has brought back some civic pride to the residents of Comber.  Along with award-winning restaurants and cafes in the area, Comber Farmers’ Market has helped to put Comber on the map as one of 

the top food destinations in Northern Ireland.”