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There are plenty of things we take for granted as students: cheap discounts, student loans and being able to roll out of bed two minutes prior to the start of a lecture. But one thing you may not think of first is the market, which we at Lancaster have access to every Wednesday and Saturday in town, and Thursday on campus. So, why should your average Sarah Student care so much about a few stalls?
We hear a lot nowadays about ‘local produce’, but a fair few of us don’t really understand the importance of buying regionally. Buying local goods helps support the businesses in Lancaster, creating jobs and helping out the town’s high street (many stalls have permanent shops or restaurants in town that their stalls help support). Not only that, but local produce also cuts down on air miles, meaning that the tub of strawberries going in your smoothie haven’t burnt a hole in the ozone layer to get there.
However, with the term ‘farmers’ market’ comes an inevitable wince and grimace, and students reaching to protect their purses. But why? It is a myth that markets are over-expensive. Fresh fruit and veg – which is a pricey luxury in supermarkets – is really cheap on the market. Our stalls see eight apples for £1, grapes for 80p and best of all, if you get there later in the afternoon, you’ll find loads of fresh goodies being sold off for a fraction of supermarket prices. So if it’s cheap, stock up! Fruit salad is a mega tasty health-kick for summer days, and homemade vegetable soup is a surprisingly simple alternative if Lancaster’s rainy tendencies continue in May.
If you haven’t been convinced so far by cheap produce that helps your local town – and saves the environment – then maybe you need to know more about what’s on offer. The magic of markets is that you can pick up treats you can’t get elsewhere. There’s plenty to satisfy any sweet tooth, from the gorgeous Yummy Cupcake Company (oreo icing, anyone?) to the homemade fudge stall, with every flavour under the sticky, sugary sun. If you’re in town for lunch, the hog roast is a real luxury at an affordable price, along with Chinese and Indian stalls (the Indian curries made before your eyes and tucked in a wrap are heavenly!) The market is a great place to go for gifts – gorgeous homemade bath bombs to hand-crafted jewellery to hand-wrapped pots of local jam.
So next time you’re in town for market day, remember: we get so used to those busy stalls that it’s all too easy to walk on past. Maybe it’s time to have a look with fresh eyes.
Oh, and a personal tip – the rocky road from Kay’s homemade cakes is to die for.