FROME COUNTRY MARKET – IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US…………
First of all, have a look at Frome Country Market Facebook page and our website. There is also a national Country Markets website that will give you some idea of who we are and how we operate www.fromecountrymarket.co.uk
If you like what you see, the next step is to call in at one of our Thursday morning markets and talk to our Market Manager Liz Brock or her assistant Allison Still about what kind of produce you could bring.
If you decide you want to join us, then you fill in a registration form and pay 5p which makes you a member of Country Markets. This membership covers you for insurance purposes among other things. The form is returned to the secretary and is kept on record at county and national level. You will need to establish your start date with the market manager or her assistant; likewise you will need to let them know if you will not be attending market on any particular dates. The same applies if someone else is bringing your goods to market on your behalf. We are open 8am till 12 noon every Thursday morning, apart from a break of about three weeks after Christmas. Your produce does need to be here before 8 in order to have it checked off and to be ready for opening time. Unfortunately we have to pay for car parking from 9am but the good news is that the Cheese & Grain café opens at 9ish if you need reviving!
A bit about how the market runs. At local level we are a co-operative and work together to sell each other’s goods. The market is split into sections, craft, food, plants and flowers, also vegetables. Our Market manager, Liz and Alli are responsible for how things are run generally. Country Markets Ltd is a national, non-profit making, organisation and we follow their regulations and guidelines. Therefore you are self-employed and are responsible for your own tax and NI contributions. If you would like to cook for us you will need a food handler’s certificate (this can be done on line for about £15), and as one of our cooks you need to keep a record of the regular food hygiene updates that we receive. Safer Food Better Business is an information folder provided by your local environmental health office which makes all this very easy and simple to do.
We have a committee that is elected by our members each year and they take decisions on behalf of the market. With the exception of our book keeper all the work done for the market is voluntary. We like members to help in the ways they are best able to, large or small, all contributions are welcomed.
Presentation of produce you have to be informed about the requirements for the standard, the labelling and the invoicing of your goods, we are here to help you with that. However almost all this information and a great deal more about pricing, packaging, what goods are suitable/unsuitable etc can be found in the national Country Market Handbook. As a member you will be able to access this on line, or we keep a hard copy for reference.
If you are a craft person we have one or two tables each and display our crafts on green cloths that are provided by FCM. There are a few rules and regulations relating to toys and hand-made crafts, mainly concerning safety, which can be found on the Country Market website. The ‘crafters’ man their tables so they can answer any questions/queries from customers.
Selling to the public we like to give our customers a friendly, personal service and because our produce is our own we can often cater for special requests. Because we are representatives of a national organisation as well as members of a local co-operative we like our customers to know are part of a whole. When behind the counter we do ask you to wear a Country Market tabard, apron or fleece or something bearing the C.M. logo (this can be provided for you). Names on badges are also helpful.
The money side of things. At the end of market when all your produce is checked off your sales invoice goes to our bookkeeper. 13% of your sales are deducted for running expenses and contributions to Country Markets; you can collect your takings for the previous month from the treasurer in market on the first Thursday of the following month in the form of a cheque.
We really hope this information will get you interested, Country Markets offer a unique and economical way for small scale home producers to test selling their products in a supportive environment. It’s local people providing a friendly market for local people, if we hadn’t been in Frome for over 50 years you would have to invent us!