Why did I pull my hungover self out of bed on yesterday’s cold, rainy and grey morning? For an Arbroath Smokie, of course. The delicious, juicy whole haddock is smoked on site when the Fife Farmers Market visits St Andrews on the first Saturday of every month. It’s easy to see why Iain R. Spink, the first man to take Arbroath Smokies on the road, has won over the hearts of Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver and St Andrews’ resident foodies.
Iain R. Spink, though, is just one of many regular Scottish businesses at the market every month. Following my smokie, I gave into my craving for The Cocoa Tree’s “Caliente” Chilli Hot Chocolate – an indulgent, sexy shot of thick, spicy chocolate. Then satisfied with my breakfast of smoked haddock, cayenne and dark chocolate, I surveyed the ten or twelve stalls set up down the car park to begin my shopping.
I came away with some pork shoulder and smoked bacon from Puddledub Pork (who do whole hog roasts for groups of sixty or more), several kilos of potatoes and carrots from a local farmer and ginger rapeseed oil from Supernature. Had I taken more cash out, I would have gladly gone on to by lamb from the Balhelvie Aberdeen Angus Beef stall and several savoury pies from The Wee Pie Co…but alas, we all have rent to pay.
Even if you’re not a foodie, stop by the market next time for a chat with one of the friendly, knowledgeable business owners. These are people who specialise in the same way historians do – the way a historian can spend his career studying a single medieval manuscript, a farmer can spend his figuring out how to grow the sweetest apples or most flavoursome potatoes. And they are certainly keen to share this passion, to whoever shows interest.
It’s because of these welcoming faces of Fife that, despite the drizzly morning, there was a friendly buzz in the air. Kids with bright wellies livened the gloomy day, sharing chocolate samples with their grandparents, students were ogling the jams by Knowehead Products, and farmers, bakers and pottery connoisseurs alike were proudly chatting away about their goods. After I bought a beer mug from Butter Wynd Pottery, which uses Fife clay to make their jugs, dishes and pots, for my dad’s upcoming birthday, the owner gave me tips on how to wrap it for an overseas flight, wished my dad an early birthday and left me pondering the merits of a wine goblet instead of a glass.
Crowded supermarkets are just not this endearing.
The Fife Farmers Market comes to St Andrews’ Argyle Car Park on the first Saturday of every month. They also visit other locations around Fife; for more information, visit their Facebook page or website.