The Fermoy Farmers Market…??

Proposed Market Place at Fitzgerald Place, Fermoy

In the latest of his series of articles on how we look at our town, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership’s Cathal o’ Meara looks at a gap in the market in Fermoy for a farmers market. 

‘The idea of a local economy rests upon only two principles: neighborhood and subsistence…” Wendell Berry.

Growing numbers of towns throughout the country are developing local farmers markets to counter the decline in retail trade and closed shop fronts that becoming are all too evident, none more so than in Fermoy which can only benefit by looking at its own local food economy.

Farmers, bakers, fishmongers, cheese makers and shoppers alike are trying to find ways to shorten the distance between producers and consumers and make their actions of benefit to the local economy and the local community. To many people this is simply an issue of food quality as with less food miles local food is also fresh food.

These actions however may have an added benefit by helping to preserve the livelihoods of small farm families and our town centers.  Unlike the large supermarkets money spent locally on locally produced food at local markets tends to stay locally and hence be used again.

Fermoy can benefit by taking assertive action in this regard.  We just need to look at what other towns have done and try to improve on an already successful model.

Some of our towns have developed markets selling local produce to bring energy and life back to their town centers.  Looking at Lismore, or the West Cork towns of Bantry, Kinsale, Clonakilty and Skibereen or to the recently celebrated food festivals of Dungarvan and Cork City. Embracing local markets and our food culture shows us there is a way out of this decline.

Fermoy has recently begun to strengthen its food culture. From local cheese, yogurt and butter to local coffee roasters or Fermoy Ice Cream and local honey, apples, strawberries and potatoes and more, Fermoy stands to benefit from encouraging this culture.

Between Lismore and Kilavullen or Cork City and Mitchelstown our region is lacking a market. One of the main reasons for the decline in local retail trade, the opening of the motorway, could be the artery for the establishment of a farmers market in Fermoy, which could be its natural home.  With the loss of the mart the town has witnessed a decline in trade and by ignoring local markets Fermoy is copper fastening another.

Local markets and street selling are not just a passing trend. Fermoy has developed as a market town servicing the military and transport trades. The trade from the two barracks was significant in its day as an extra 5000-army personnel needed to be fed.  This demand enabled the agriculture of the hinterland to be developed thus sustaining the local economy.

Some of Fermoy’s streets still bear signs of the importance of this trade, old maps marked with names such as Market place, Market Lane, Market Street, Market Range, Hay Market, and Buttermarket all give some indication of the significance of this trade and the strength of the local economy.  Why not look to Market Street or Fitzgerald Place, as it’s now known, as a suitable location for a Friday or Saturday market selling local food and create a magnet for the hinterland yet again.

For further information on Farmers Markets in Fermoy please contact Cathal o Meara at Avondhu Blackwater Partnership on 025 33411.

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2 thoughts on “The Fermoy Farmers Market…??

  1. I would support and really like to see a return of a sustainable Farmers Market in Fermoy’s Market Place – having to travel to other towns to markets is contrary to the philosophy of shop local & “to shorten the distance between producers and consumers”

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