It’s come a long way from being a rickety stall of jams on Berkhamsted market in the 1960s – customers now email orders and view products on Facebook.
But The Country Market, which evolved from being a Women’s Institute stall in 1995, has enjoyed a consistent level of popularity.
Every Saturday morning for 55 years now, a group of 20 home bakers, growers and jam makers have been selling homemade goods and preserves as well as homegrown fruit, vegetables and plants. You can’t miss them.
It is the market’s longest-running stall but Eileen Heylin, chairman of the group, doesn’t like to rest on her laurels. She knows it is important to change with the times.
“In the early days, cakes and jam were the stars of the stall,” she said. “But now tastes have changed and we carry a good range of vegetarian and vegan ready meals, pizzas, gluten-free cakes and probably the widest range of marmalades and interesting chutneys outside of Fortnum and Mason.”
The stall’s original purpose was to enable women widowed by the wars, to earn money while helping to increase the supply of food.
Today, the stall carries a range of foods from gluten-free cakes to curries and soups. It’s all fresh, locally-produced and contains no added preservatives.
Customers enjoy the friendly chat and banter as much as the cakes, and know that the team will make goods to order if a special celebration is planned or if someone needs a stock of ready meals to stick in the freezer.
Lynda Clarke, who cooks for the stall, said: “All of us are passionate about food and the benefits of traditionally-cooked food and freshly-grown produce.
“It is important to know what goes into the food you eat and to be able to chat to the person who has made what you are buying.”
If you would like to join the team and become one of the regular producers, or if you would like to know more, pop along to the stall or contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or search for Berkhamsted Country Market on Facebook.