Comber Farmers’ Market Opens Against the Odds

Despite being turned down by Ards Council for support, a monthly Farmers’ Market in Comber will open on Thursday 3 July in St Mary’s Parish Church car park beside the Square, Comber. From 9.00am – 1.30pm. The artisan food market which has been pioneered by Councillor Deborah Girvan and supported by the Comber Regeneration and Community Partnership (CRCP) will give local food producers and growers an opportunity to sell their produce at market value prices to a wide range of customers. The market recently received a grant of almost £10,000 from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme and plans to buy stalls and promote the market have swung into action.

Councillor Girvan explained, “I have been working on the concept of a Farmers’ Market for Comber for almost two years. Last year, Ards Council turned down my proposal to start a Farmers’ Market citing that it would be too expensive for the Council to run and sustain. I was very disappointed that the majority of the councillors could not see the benefits and value that a Farmers’ Market would contribute to regenerating Comber and bring more business and visitors to the town. Because I believed so strongly in the project, I brought my proposal to the Comber Regeneration and Community Partnership and St Mary’s Parish Church and both groups unanimously agreed to support it. I am amazed at the number of people in the area who are growing, making and baking fabulous, speciality food produce. Over 15 stall holders have already signed up for the market and they will be selling local vegetables, fruit, chocolates, speciality breads, herbs, plants, fresh fish, macaroons, cut flowers, fudge, home-made sauces, relishes and jams. This is a market for people who are passionate about producing food for people who are passionate about eating fresh, seasonal, local produce! I would encourage any further local food producers (no crafts or hot food stands) who may be interested in taking a stall to contact me on 07870 173 805.”

Ed Murray, the fishmonger from Portavogie, who will be taking a stall said, “I have been selling fresh fish, prawns and crabs from my stall in St Mary’s Church car park on Thursday mornings for the past four years. I have established a regular and loyal customer base. Everyone is very excited about a proper market coming to Comber and I have no doubt that it will be a big success.”

Mike Moore, Chairperson of the Comber Regeneration and Community Partnership, said, “We are very excited about the prospect of a market coming back to Comber again. This is a big undertaking for the CRCP as a group of us have volunteered to run the market until it gets on its feet. Once it is established, we hope to appoint a market manager who will report back to the CRCP at our monthly meetings. “

Finlay Orr, Deborah Girvan and Tracey Jeffery  12 June 2014.JPG 2 (2)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADeb and traders (2)