curiosity about the ways of the world

Leith Farmers Market: bringing soul (and soul food) to Ocean Terminal


“There’s a man who looks as if he could do with a good sausage.”  The tone is cheerful and the comment clearly intended to stop us in our tracks. It works.  Mind you, the smell from the sizzling burgers and bangers might have done the trick too.  But Nick Paul is taking no chances.  He is determined to draw crowds to a new Farmers Market in a perhaps unlikely corner of Leith – and encourage them to spend good money while they are there

If this is Friday it’s got to be the Ocean Terminal Farmers Market.  Or at least it is every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month.  It’s been going since the beginning of the year but I didn’t know it existed until Nick Paul emailed me after reading about the Greener Leith Food Summit. He hoped anyone interested in good local food would head for the farmers market.  Two weeks ago I finally tracked it down to its location right outside Ocean Terminal and my mate Nick came along to take the pictures for his website too.

The other Nick, the man behind the sausages, turns out to be the driving force behind the market. Nick Paul also runs the crisp stall at Edinburgh Farmers Market but he is much more than a dab hand with potatoes.  He is a passionate evangelist for food.  Make that local food, organic food, tasty food, wholesome food, in fact superlatively good food that doesn’t necessarily cost more than the stuff in the supermarket but is home-produced food that hasn’t travelled across continents to get to your plate.


That’s Nick Paul in the high-visibility jacket [thanks to Nick (Gardner) for the pictures]

“Like for like” the market co-ordinator insists, “food from farmers markets will cost 20% less than the same kind of items in a supermarket.”  There are times when Nick P does go on a bit (he has written a farmers market cook book and runs the foodtrail website too) but there is no doubting his enthusiasm as he leads us from butchers to bakers to fishmongers to leather-goods-makers to cheese and soap sellers and back again.

Besides this is the man who is footing the bill to get the farmers market going in Leith so he is literally putting his money where his mouth is.   He hands us leaflets to make sure we spread the word. By the time we get to the end of the 12 stalls (he’s got plans to expand as custom increases) I have also gathered two pies (a delicious vegetarian mix of carrot, Dunsyre blue and chilli) a spelt loaf, three cheeses (all Scottish), some home-made butter, a pot of strawberry granita, a nicely dressed crab and, well, I’m afraid I have no cash left for the cider I sample free of charge.

Two weeks later, I don’t regret any of the purchases.  The quality was excellent (as indeed it is at any of Scotland’s farmers markets).  I just wished I had enough left in my purse to buy that excellent cider from Northumberland – perhaps a little pricey at £12 for three litres (though you get £2 back when you return the polypin). “Wye aye pet, just gan along to the hole in the wall and get some cash”.   But I had run out of time and work is pulling in a different direction today.

Ocean Terminal Farmers Market is on the second and fourth Friday 10am – 4pm every month, protected from the weather beneath the awnings of the shopping centre, and bringing new interest to an otherwise featureless space. The next market is on Good Friday, 10th April. I hope the cider man is there.


Thanks to Nick (Gardner) for the pix

1 Comment

  1. divya

    i am a student of urban design masters in the university and as a part of my dissertation i am looking at farmers markets and why traditional markets have disappeared in Edinburgh. would love to hear about this market as well. Please contact me/

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