Dumfries Farmers’ Market is on track to celebrate its 5th anniversary at its venue at the Victoria Pavilion, Dumfries Railway Station in partnership with ScotRail.
Dumfries Farmers’ Market (DFM Ltd) was started by a small group of food producers in 2011. Through the years it has established a good reputation for quality produce, a great atmosphere and knowledgeable and enthusiastic traders making the market one of Nithsdale’s best kept secrets.
71% of the stallholders are food and drink producers from within the region and 26% are producers from Nithsdale: you really can “shop local”. The other food and drink producers who attend the market are close neighbours, with most from within 50 miles of the region’s border.
The market has grown from strength to strength since its move to the station in April 2018 and survived the challenges of the Covid lockdowns with footfall steadily increasing – creating a lovely buzz of chatter throughout the market day. Many traders moved with the market from its previous location in Lockerbie Road, but there are now many new producers who tempt the palate with lots of choice goodies.
The number of stalls we can fit in are limited to the space available under the canopy, but when a vacancy arises, local food producers who offer high quality produce are invited to join us. We ensure all producers meet food and drink legislation and standards – this all helps ensure good quality products.
Non-food stalls such as crafts can make an important contribution to the shopping experience and diversity at markets. Crafts make up around 20% of the overall stalls at each market, making it easy to shop for locally made gifts and treats.
In 2023 the market directly supports the employment and self-employment of over 60 people with many others indirectly involved generating a spend within the local community of £1.26 for every £1 spent at the market. A number of small companies who have launched their business at Dumfries Farmers’ Market have gone on to grow, exporting their produce around the world and creating many jobs.
Alistair Scoular of Five Kingdoms Brewery, Isle of Whithorn has expanded his business: “We have gone from a part-time hobby on our days off to a business that employs 3 of us full time and is four times larger than when we started. The market has been with us all the way on this journey and has been instrumental in promoting the Five Kingdoms’ brand. It has also introduced us to many of our trade and personal customers”.
Chrissy Berry of The Kitchen Witch who makes ‘vegan friendly, bewitching soap and skincare products without harming the planet’ says: “I started TKW over 5 years ago where my initial goal was to take part in markets, in particular I was keen to explore how successful my little business could be on the farmers’ market scene as previously I’d had mixed success at craft markets only. After I succeeded in scoring a place on DFM, I found my products well received by customers from day one and I’ve only gone from strength to strength since, building not only a strong customer base with locals but also being exposed to new customers every market which has really helped my business grow. In fact the market has facilitated my growth to a point where I could finally take the plunge to go full time, as well as finding the confidence to explore new and scary avenues in the form of trade shows!
DFM has helped me grow as a business woman but it has also granted me a market family that are there for me when I need them and help make the whole experience as a trader something exceptional.”
Dumfries Farmers’ Market Ltd is one of only two farmers’ markets in Scotland that have become a Co-operative. This provides constitutional structure and DFM Ltd is looking to widen Membership beyond the existing traders to our customers over the next few months.
The market is the only one in Scotland located on the platform of a railway station.
The support of ScotRail investing their time and allowing the use of their property has created a community asset which delivers:
- A venue on walking and cycling routes to encourage people to walk /cycle to market and meet their friends in a social space
- An opportunity to small food and drink producers to sell their goods
- Encourages people back into the town centre
- Generates in excess of £120k revenue for the local economy supporting circa 60 jobs within the producers who attend the market
Peter Johnston and Grace Rogerson who have shared the post of Chair of DFM Ltd Board over the past year said:
“The market has grown beyond all recognition from where we started in 2018. None of this would have been achieved without the support of our customers, traders and the generosity of ScotRail in supporting our vision and ourselves 5 years’ ago. We would like to thank all our customers, stakeholders and ScotRail. The next five years will be amazing”.