13 Suffolk farmers’ markets you shouldn’t miss
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
No matter where you turn in Suffolk one thing is guaranteed. You will find good food. The county’s farmers’ markets are especially worth seeking out if you want to experience a true flavour of ‘Britain’s bread basket’.
Here are a few to seek out on your travels. Many of them have cafes on site, or are based in lovely market towns filled with independent shops, pubs and restaurants – why not make a day of it?
Suffolk Market Events
When and where: 9am to 2pm, Sudbury (last Friday of the month on Market Hill and in St Peter’s Church), Ipswich (first Sunday of the month on Cornhill), Bury St Edmunds (second Sunday of the month, The Traverse), Lavenham (fourth Sunday of the month, Lavenham Village Hall)
Award-winning Justine Paul has led the revolution of new-gen farmers’ and crafters’ markets in the county over the last 10 years, inspiring others to give it a go.
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Her success comes down to location (of course) with markets in Lavenham, Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, and to the quality of the purveyors she selects - stallholders must produce their own items, mostly made within 30 to 50 miles.
Around 25 to 30 makers usually attend each of her markets. Regulars include Jo of Greenacres, a smallholding rearing rare breed pork and selling old fashioned, traditional cuts of meat, from chunky chops to cheeks. On the other side of the coin are Applewood Acres, who use the no-dig method to raise their superhealthy microgreens, also making their own vegan hunny and lemon curd.
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Speaking of vegan produce, favourites at several of the markets are The Norwegian Bakers, who delight with their Scandi sweets and savouries, including bouncy cinnamon rolls and sugar-dusted custard buns.
Other regulars include Totham Bangers (try the pork, leek and bacon sausages), and The Old Felixstowe Brewing Co, with ales and stouts.
Wyken Farmers’ Market
When and where: Every Saturday, 9am to 1pm, Wyken Vineyards, Stanton (also home to The Leaping Hare – follow the brown signs)
A truly lovely foodie experience. This rural market is the kind of place where you want to pull on your wellies, don a wax hat and strut around with a wicker basket. It has a very country chic feel. The market is largely based outside, with some stalls under light cover in old farm buildings. And there’ a café/takeaway onsite, as well as fresh pizza (to be eaten in the dappled shade of the orchard), and, of course, the Wyken country living shop, and gardens (pre-book to visit).
It’s hard not to go over-the-top on a visit to this market – there's just too much yummy stuff to choose from. Bean-to-bar chocolate and hand-rolled truffles from Tosier. Incredible award-winning bread, pastries and cakes from Wooster’s up the road in Bardwell. Warm, cinnamon-dusted Portuguese tarts from Jao’s Natas. Beef, raw milk and raw cheese from Old Hall Farm. Stowmarket honey. Wyken estate lamb. Organic vegetables. The list goes on and on and on. If you’ve not been yet, make a date.
Beccles Farmers’ Market
When and where: The first and third Saturday of the month, from 9am to 1pm Old Ellough Heliport, Benacre Road nr Beccles
One of the longest-running markets of its type in Suffolk – and the only farmers’ market to be accessible bi-monthly. Beccles is a pretty town with some fabulous shops so if you’re not local do make sure you allow yourself whole day to explore the area. You could even go kayaking or paddleboarding on the river, swim in the lido, or head out on a boat trip.
More than 30 stalls usually make up Beccles Farmers’ Market, spanning a range of food and drink, arts and crafts, from cheese and bread, to pottery and jewellery. There’s a blend of regulars and one-offs, but whichever day you visit, you’re unlikely to go home empty-handed. Try smoked chalk stream trout from Waveney Valley Smokehouse, which has some of the oldest brick kilns in the region. Grab punnets of the freshest Suffolk berries from Hillfield Nurseries. And indulge by picking up a box or bag of goodies from The Norfolk Truffle Company. Their hand-rolled truffles are generously sized and taste delicious. Look out for their Great Taste award-winning flavours such as cherry and amaretto or dark Champagne.
When and where: Market Place 9am to 1pm every Friday
This is a town market rather than a farmers’ market, but is organised (in collaboration with the council) by Justine Paul of Suffolk Market Events. It has a fantastic, continental feel, with around 12 to 16 stalls sprawled across the site (which has traffic blocked off for the event each week). You’ll find a brilliant fruit and veg business, fresh seafood, bread from award-winning Woosters (do not miss the custard-filled, sugar-dusted morning buns), handmade fudge, microgreens, household refills, sweet and savoury bakes and preserves from The Pickled Jam Company and more. Stop awhile, grab a Crude coffee or thick hot chocolate from Anthony at The Suffolk Coffee Pod, and soak up the atmosphere before a stroll along the car-free river or railway walks.
Raydon Farmers’ Market
When and where: TBC King George’s Playing Fields
The inaugural event (created to raise money to save the fields) was held on July 11, and was a tremendous success, bringing together real artisanal businesses, selling everything from small batch goats’ cheese to fudge, cakes, cookies, spirits and crafts. Planning is likely underway for the next one, which really did create a buzz in this small village. Keep an eye on Facebook at the King George’s Playing Fields page for the next one.
Boxford Farmers’ Market
When and where: 9am to 12noon, The White Hart car park, July 25, August 29 and October 3
Started in early summer this year, dates for the rest of 2021 have been pencilled in the diary, such has been the popularity of this market. Boxford may be petite, but it is surrounded by gorgeous walks, and hosts a pub, village shops, the fantastic Box River Café (one of the organisers of this event), and a great butcher (which incidentally sells incredible pasties).
Stalls are largely hyper-local made up of crafters, foodies and makers from within the village and a few miles beyond. A big hit has been Tornado Ices (named for daredevil Tornado Smith who lived here). Made from scratch using only natural ingredients, flavours include chocolate treacle, caramel miso, strawberry and elderflower and strawberry and rose.
Snape Farmers’ Market
When and where: Snape Maltings, the first Saturday of the month, 9.30am to 1pm
Based at the home of Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival (one of the UK’s best food festivals), Snape’s market is, effectively, like a distilled, micro version of that event, bringing together many of the stallholders you might see at the autumn attraction.
Regulars include Truly Traceable with their sensational handmade pies and sausage rolls, all crafted either using game shot by owner Steve, or premium local produce from Suffolk farms. Lyn’s pastry is dreamy, and the fillings (made with her own slow-cooked stock), award-winning. From venison and red wine, to pheasant and wild garlic – everything is worth trying.
And they’re joined by the likes of Fishers Gin, Stokes Sauces, Deepmills Chocolate, Fen Farm Dairy, and The Tiny Tipple Co. Also on site are pretty riverside walks, a range of shops (food/homeware/antiques/gifts/books) at the maltings, a pub, and café.
When and where: Bures Common, 10am to 1pm, August 13 and September 11
This one, on the common, is almost like a fancy village fete and has a buzzy feel as everyone comes out to explore the tasty wares on offer. Must-tries are the pies from Colletts Farm, Totham Bangers’ sausages, and Mena’s Indian Banquet. Mena’s veggie samosas and potato cakes are packed with flavour and available ready to eat (sometimes warm if you get in early). And she also has her curry packs, so you can recreate authentic Indian dishes in your own kitchen. Around 30 stalls are at this market each month.
Horringer Farmers’ Market
Where and when: Horringer Village Hall, 9.30am to 12.30pm, the first Saturday of the month
You might have seen the sign for this on your way into the Ickworth House estate – which is just next door. And it’s worth combining the two. Maybe grab a few things from the indoor market for a picnic on the Ickworth grounds?
There’s always a really good selection of stands at this market, where you’ll find fresh seafood, juices from Maynards, Riverglen pies and pasties, curries and Indian savouries from Bury’s Tikkatonic, and Yaffle House’s sweet-sharp fruit vinegars and handmade marshmallows. Oh, and don’t forget to buy some fab chocolates from Artistry in Cocoa if they’re there too.
When and where: Market Hill every Tuesday and Saturday, from 8am to 4pm
There’s been a market in the centre of Ed Sheeran’s home town since the 13th century - and there’s a reason it’s still there. It’s great. A celebration of local food and crafts. And being bi-weekly, you’ve got multiple chances every month to check it out. You’ll discover fresh fish, free-range local eggs, handmade pottery, game and meat from Friends Farm, cakes from Little Cottage Bakery, locally-grown flowers, fruit, veg and flower plants, Oh Fudge’s treats and more. The market is surrounded by Framlingham’s independent shops. And the castle is less than five minutes’ walk away. You’ll find parking here (charges apply).