Cairngorms Farmers Market

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Good For People

A chance to meet the producers

Member stallholders are all local farmers, growers and craftspeople – perfect for giving you the best tips and advice on all aspects of your purchase! This is their shop window, their only access to the marketplace, and they really enjoy the personal contact with their customers to share their passion and enthusiasm about their produce. You can have confidence in the provenance of the food and its freshness having been prepared specifically for the Market day.

Seasonality in the Cairngorms means that vegetables in particular are at a premium in terms of supply at the Markets. Our season is short and often a poor growing season means few if any at the Market. We apologise for this – our producers do their best to bring you only produce grown on their farms which means supply is irregular, but fantastic when available.

You’ll find details of the producers currently coming to the Market on the producers pages.

A way of life

Money spent at Cairngorms Farmers Markets doesn’t just help keep our producers in business, it gets passed on to other local business through the products and services the producers buy. Supporting the Cairngorms Farmers Market means supporting the local economy, thus benefiting the whole community!

A piece of the Cairngorms

Our produce reflects the landscape where it was created, and when you shop here you will enjoy the smell, the taste, and the feel of this unique and special place. When you buy from the market you are taking a little piece of the Cairngorms away with you.

Good for the environment

Fewer food miles, less packaging, more sustainable...

According to a recent study, farming in the Cairngorms has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the country - which means it’s better for the environment. The traditional farming practices in the area are extensive rather than intensive which means few artificial fertilisers or pesticides are used.

Our produce travels just a few miles to get to market. Animal welfare issues are top of the CFM farmers priority list and details can be found on the meat quality standards page.

WMost produce travels from less than 20 miles and the furthest guest producer less than 90 miles to our markets. This keeps our CO2 emissions very low, and of course, means you get food that’s amazingly fresh - cakes freshly baked, freshly processed beef and lamb.

We have a strong environmental policy which encourages everyone to bring reusable cotton shoppers and so minimises the need for disposable carrier bags, and because the produce is local we don’t need to use huge amounts of packaging to protect it in transit either.

Better for everyone

If you enjoy a cuppa when you visit the market, you’ll find that we serve Fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate - we want to support small producers all over the world, just as our customers support us.

Good for wildlife

Caring for the landscape

Cairngorms farmers help to manage and preserve the unique landscape and wildlife of the National Park. Supporting the market means you help them continue these important processes. Without grazing livestock the pasture-rich Straths and heather clad hillsides would soon disappear.

A haven for wildlife

Farmland waders such as redshank, snipe and lapwing thrive because livestock graze the Straths. Buying from the farmers market can help reduce our carbon footprint - one way we can all help protect our threatened wildlife.

Meat Quality Standards

Quality and Provenance

Farmer producers bringing beef and lamb to the Cairngorms Farmers market must be Farm Assured. This is your guarantee that the welfare of the livestock on the hoof and the treatment of it afterwards is of the highest ethical, environmental and health standards and guarantees to give you, the consumer confidence every step along the food production chain.

Quality Meat Scotland is the public body responsible for maintaining the highest standards in Scotland's red meat industry. These standards - relating largely to animal welfare and food safety - are some of the strictest in the world.

Further information can be found at Quality Meat Scotland.

The Cairngorms Farmers Market

Land Use in the Cairngorms National Park

For over 3,000 years people have been farming livestock in the Cairngorms. Sheep and cattle are still the mainstay of most farms. Harsh winters, short growing seasons, poor soils and the lack of nearby markets mean there aren’t many other options. There is very little arable land; only 1% of the total area, while increasing altitude significantly shortens the growing season.

Nowadays the main grain crop that is grown is barley which is largely fed to livestock, although some does go to the whisky industry for malting. Previously oats were the main grain crop and many birds fed from the stooks and overwintering stubble. In recent years local farmers have helped develop a mixed grain crop to replace this food source. This crop is left unharvested and provides food for overwintering wild birds, especially finches such as Twite, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Brambling and Linnet.

Livestock farming

Livestock farming is the key agricultural activity within the Cairngorms National Park.

The way the land is farmed also shapes the landscape. Areas of species rich grassland and moorland are maintained by the grazing of livestock and in turn the mineral rich diet these pastures provide helps to produce the quality livestock that the area is famous for. But will our landscapes and our farms stay this way?

The traditional farming practices in the Cairngorms Straths (valleys) are great for wildlife, with some areas nationally recognised as top spots for waders like lapwing, curlew, redshank and snipe.

The farmland and grasslands of the Cairngorms stand out from the rest of Britain because they have been managed less intensively, so continuation of these traditional agricultural practices is necessary to maintain these species, habitats, and in turn, landscape quality.

Changes

Changes in the support for agriculture from the EU and economic pressures have led to reduced numbers of grazing cattle and sheep, and a reduction in young people entering the industry. It is a way of life that is under threat with the average age of farmers now 58.

The long term effects are changed landscapes; as trees and shrubs become more numerous, bracken spreads and heathers grow tall and rank. This means the landscape will be changed as the area of open moorland and peatland declines and even walking on the hills will be difficult in some places.

Despite present pressures, agriculture remains highly significant both to the economy and the environment of the Cairngorms, it accounts for 8% of the area’s direct employment and is an important part of up and down stream industries.

The Cairngorms Farmers Market was set up in 2004 to help this vital part of the Cairngorms life to survive. It offers producers a direct and local market for their produce. It’s good for all: farmers can market their produce in the most efficient way; customers can buy top quality food, meet the producers and, at the same time protect the environment.

The Market also invites guest producers along. They bring produce unavailable in the Cairngorms itself such as fruit, vegetables, shellfish, and sometimes other seasonal produce.

The Cairngorms Farmers Market welcomes enquiries from other farmers, land owners or others who have a quality food or craft product they wish to sell direct to customers.

Cairngorms Farmers Market