You know what I really miss? Visiting farmers markets, food fairs and festivals seeing all my favourite local food and drink producers!
Just as I was getting into the swing of writing about recent food fairs and festivals I attended earlier on in the year; the world decided to go into lockdown (I know, it’s for good reasons!)
And so, I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about supporting my local food and drink producers, who need our support more than ever now – but then came the most excellently timed idea ever…
The Northants Online Food & Drink Market has actually been planned for a while, but due to current circumstances, they decided it was a need to launch it earlier to help the small businesses have a reliable platform to advertise and showcase their products.
It was created and founded by Mark Afford, who you may know for being one of the faces of What’s Poppin Popcorn, who found a gap in the market for the lack of ‘online markets’ available as everything is mainly face-to-face.
Him and Laura had been researching and planning how to set up the NN Food Market since the end of December 2019 and after taking inspiration from a friend who runs online monthly markets, they saw the potential to help grow the food and drink market in Northamptonshire.
I have taken part in the last few that have been hosted on Facebook, so I, of course, want more people to know about it happening and wanted to share 5 reasons why you should take part in the next one:
You are part of a community of food lovers
From every event I have joined since it started, it has been massively popular with over 1k people attending or interested and when the event actually happens, the comments are always thriving with positive feedback and/or questions about products or orders.
The market has also received many raving reviews from people who have been so excited over the wide range on offer which just proves that Northamptonshire is a thriving county of foodie lovers!
A whole range of local food & drink producers
All of the local food and drink producers have been massively affected by the lockdown and Covid-19 situation, especially with the social distancing measures being implemented meaning lots of local markets have been shut.
It’s basically a farmers market or food fair right on your laptop or phone! Local businesses that regularly take part include Bite Me Spices, The Copper Kitchen, Friars Farm, Replete Flatbreads, Vegan Cookie Club and many more!
Thanks to the market, I am able to connect with existing food and drink producers who I often purchase from during food markets, but I’ve also discovered some new ones too.
It’s easy to order
Previous to this happening, a lot of these local food and drink producers relied solely on face-to-face interaction with their customers – and whilst some are active on social media, others are not so much.
Which means a lot of these local food and drink producers have had to think on their feet quickly to ensure their order and delivery service is quick and easy to do.
But thanks to the Northants Online Food & Drink Market, they have a really simple but effective method in making sure each business has a chance to shine, to share what they currently have on offer, plus order details, so the event doesn’t become too crowded and busy.
Each business has a chance to showcase their business via the Facebook event and they make it super easy and understandable over how you can order online with a description and a link to their website or shop.
Plus, some businesses have a special discount in place especially for the Northants Online Food & Drink Market where I have seen some businesses offer as much as 20% off their products to your door.
It also means when you do get something delivered, it will come within good time the following week by Royal Mail, or you might even be lucky enough to meet the local producer from afar when you have a nice doorstep delivery.
Due to the demand of everyone working, the Northants Online Food & Drink Market is a bi-weekly event, which I think is just enough as it means it’s not too often, but you’re not left waiting ages for the next event.
It’s also very well advertised in advance when the next one will take place, so it’s best to follow their Facebook page to get notifications on when the next event happens.
I’ve not necessarily ordered something from every event, but I do find I am always active and if something takes my fancy, of course I will order something.
You are supporting local
If you have been worried about not being able to get your hands on your favourite local goodies due to lockdown, the Northants Online Food & Drink market makes it super easy for you to continue supporting local.
And I actually truly believe due to the current situation, it has made those who may have not been as active in supporting local, to start supporting them – meaning some businesses have gained new customers thanks to this and the market.
It’s an incredibly tough time for small businesses right now, but little things like this market which sparks inspiration and waves the flag high for supporting local really does make a difference.
I can’t tell you how much I am behind this new concept and I hope, regardless of what happens in the future, I hope this can be a new way for the local food & drink producers of Northamptonshire to gain new business online and there can be a happy medium between this and face-to-face communication once things go back to normal.
The next Northants Online Food & Drink Market is 16th – 17th May.