Remember, remember, the 7th of December – no, you’re right, it’s not Bonfire Night, but it is the day when the St Andrews Street Market will be arriving in town. Put on by the Fife Farmers Market, an agricultural cooperative, the street market has been visiting St Andrews periodically for the better part of a decade. After a series of trial runs over the 2019 summer season, the market has recently become a regular event which has been running on the first Saturday of each month. Held on Market Street, which is pedestrianized during sale hours, the market aims to provide “Fife’s finest, freshest produce” sold by local artisans. While the roster of vendors changes monthly, you can expect to see stalls with freshly baked goods, vibrant produce, handicrafts, gins and wines, and a selection of artisanal meats and cheeses. Many vendors also offer tastings if you’re curious about their products, and the company owners are often onsite to answer questions about their products and businesses. The collective has also been catering to the colder weather with pop-up coffee and hot street food locations within the market.
The market typically contains around 30 stalls each month, with vendors coming from around Fife and neighboring counties to participate in selling authentic Scottish goods. The row of red- and white-striped stalls winds down Market Street from the Whyte-Melville Memorial Fountain, all the way to Bell Street, which gives passersby plenty of opportunities to feast their eyes on everything on offer. For those carefully browsing the stalls at length and testing or comparing products, walking through the market can take just short of an hour; a fast shopper with a game plan can be in and out in less than twenty delicious minutes. Make sure to bring a reusable bag as the majority of stalls simply wrap goods in paper sacks and, in the tradition of farmers’ markets with an eye for sustainable sales practices, plastic bags are happily scarce. The market officially opens at 9am, and by 10am the street is usually bustling regardless of weather: a testament to the quality of the market’s curated selection, considering the effect Scottish weather often has on townspeople. Lunchtime is especially busy but merits the crowds, as many vendors do sell food to go or bits on the side.
December will bring with it competing Christmas markets in Fife; Forgan’s, Balgrove Larder, and the Byre Theatre among others will be hosting seasonal events in the immediate area from the second week of November onwards. By contrast, the Fife Farmers Market will only be exhibiting for a single day in early December. Because the street market regularly runs across three towns – St Andrews, Cupar, and Kirkaldy – contact with St Andrews is limited and therefore more difficult to access during the holiday season. While a visit to the next street market is recommended, the longer opening hours and wider variety of options presented by St Andrews-based businesses may be a more feasible option for those looking to purchase artisanal gifts closer to Christmas.
Despite only having been a regular event since September 2019, the market has been successful with both students and locals over the past three months. The September market hosted a fantastic cooking demo and free tasting session based on locally foraged ingredients, so it’s worth sticking around during the high-traffic periods for the informal workshops and talks. One of the market’s most notable features is the plume of smoke coming from the Arbroath Smokies stall just beyond the fountain, where the fish are smoked onsite and hung on racks for inspection. The open-air nature of the market means that shoppers can see, smell, and taste the products they’re thinking of buying with ease. A stalls that is particularly of note for those interested in trying before buying is Allan’s Chili Sauces, a Perthshire-based family business which specializes in spiced jams and jellies; their star Devil Chilli Jelly is available to taste along with a range of milder jellies and preservatives. The street market also supports newer businesses such as Cloverlea Apiaries, “the friendly bee company,” which produces fragrant Scottish heather honey. Consistently curating high-quality and locally-produced goods, the Fife Farmers Market’s new series of installations in St Andrews is a treat to be looked forward to in the coming months.
Missed out on this month’s market? Fife Farmers Market will be holding a street market in Cupar on November 16th from 9am-1pm and will return to St Andrews on December 7th. Stalls are cash only.