Community hope farmers' market will save village green

Stephen Coe, a trustee of the King George's Playing field in Raydon which is at-risk due to lockdown

Stephen Coe, a trustee of the King George's Playing field in Raydon which is at-risk due to lockdown - Credit: Stephen Coe

One of the most unpublicised casualties of Covid-19 is the great British village. Lack of public transport and the closing of swathes of businesses and services left many residents of our smaller hamlets virtually cut off from some sense of civilisation at the height of the pandemic. 

And that includes Raydon, near Hadleigh and East Bergholt. Today, besides a playing field, church and air museum, little remains in the way of village life here. A school, pub, shop and Post Office have all been lost to the sands of time. The village hall is the most recent victim – with plans to potentially turn it into residential accommodation. 

And, with funding lacking, the local playing field (King George’s) - arguably one of the only places locals can go to enjoy sports and events -  is at risk too. 

But locals aren’t taking it lying down – with plans afoot for Raydon’s inaugural farmers’ market on July 11 - all proceeds going towards maintaining this precious greenspace. 

Already nearly 30 stallholders selling food, plants and crafts have been signed up for the event, with hopes for it to become a regular attraction in the village. 

“We desperately need to boost our income,” says trustee of the playing field Stephen Coe. “Covid has had a massive impact on us. Many residents are unable to travel to our nearest market in Hadleigh or into Ipswich or Colchester to shop and socialise due to shielding and unease over Covid, as well as general lack of transport.” Stephen hopes the market will give residents “somewhere on their doorstep where they can buy locally-grown produce and locally-made goods in a Covid safe environment where they can meet and talk with other people.” 

Found just moments from the A12, the market is easy for people living in surrounding towns and villages to access too. 

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Foodie stalls include: 

Cakes and cookie slices from Buttercup Bakery will be available at the first Raydon Farmers' Market

Cakes and cookie slices from Buttercup Bakery will be available at the first Raydon Farmers' Market - Credit: Buttercup Bakery

Buttercup Bakery – Small batch patisserie, cakes, breads and savouries made from scratch using local ingredients where possible. Try anything from lemon meringue tarts and old school traybakes, to Kinderella cookie dough slice. 

Chef Neil’s Infusion Grill – Firing up on the day with hot food to keep you going through lunch. 

Compleat Caterers – These guys have been a huge hit at other local markets with their handmade pies and range of cheeses from Suffolk and Norfolk. The pie range includes Middle Eastern Lamb, Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Tarragon, and Curry. There are plain, chorizo and wholegrain mustard sausage rolls too. 

The English Spirit Company – A multiple award-winning business from Great Yeldham, making small batch spirits and liqueurs – including the UK’s first rum. The company prides itself on creating sippable, enjoyable drinks you can pour over ice or blend with a mixer, from the Limongino, to English Sambuca and Clementine Liqueur. New to the collection is the Darwin Citrus Spiced English Rum, distilled with clementines, lime, cherries, acacia honey, vanilla pods, hibiscus, star anise and cardamom. 

Fudge from The Fudge Man

TV chef James Martin is a fan of products made by The Fudge Man - Credit: The Fudge Man

The Fudge Man – As featured a few years ago on James Martin’s Home Comforts. Creamy, flavoursome and delicious fudge in flavours such as Peanut, Chocolate, Coconut, Almond and Cherry, and Coffee. 

The Garden Shed Bakery – Completely gluten-free sweet and savoury bakes. From lemon drizzle cake and rocky road, to After Eight brownies, loaded cookies, strawberry jam tarts and sausage rolls. 

Love Refills – Take along your containers and pots to fill with dry goods (such as flour and pasta) as well as laundry detergents, soaps and more. 

Slippery Goat Company – Hand-made goats’ milk ice cream and cheese. 

Vegelicious – A range of vegetable, fruit and flower plants ready to transplant into your garden. 

Old Felixstowe Brewing Company – A market favourite, selling bottles from their brewery in Kirton. The core range includes Victoria & Abdul’s IPA (with notes of gooseberry, pepper and peach, and a light, citrus finish), and the floral, citrussy golden Docker’s Pale Ale. 

Crafters, selling homeware and gifts, are travelling out in force for the market as well – many of them based locally. 

Nay Nay Makes will be at the first Raydon Farmers' Market selling handmade baby clothes

Nay Nay Makes will be at the first Raydon Farmers' Market selling handmade baby clothes - Credit: Nay Nay Makes

They include ByKatyMac (an eco-designer making occasion wear from vintage fabrics), Candles by Nadine Clare, artist Dale Devereux Barker, Nay Nay Makes (handmade baby clothes), Teacup Yarns (hand painted wools), Vicky’s Flowers, and Sniffe & Lickett with their gourmet dog treats and natural grooming products for pooches. 

“We’ve had a fantastic response from local traders, many of whom are new ventures due to Covid redundancies and forced career changes,” adds Stephen. “Our village church, like so many, is also in need of financial support, so we have given them a free pitch, with many locals donating items to sell to help rebuild the church wall. And the Sweeting Swing Band has kindly offered to play for free.” 

As a registered charity, all money raised from hosting stallholders will go to maintaining King George’s Playing Field and its pavilion. 

The event (sponsored by Palmer and Partners Estate Agents, MS Surveys Chartered Surveyors and GCD Creative Design Agency) will run from 10am to 2pm at King George's playing field, with live music at 11.30am. Details of future markets will be posted on the King George’s Playing Field Facebook page.