Fife's Bowhouse Market is heading online to offer shoppers a chance to connect with local producers.
Based in the East Neuk of Fife, Bowhouse has developed a reputation as a hub of local artists, food and drink producers and traders.
And the new online market place, which launched in April, allows this connection between producers with customers to continue despite the UK lockdown.
Launched in 2017, Bowhouse is a place for artisan producers to sell their produce and wares direct to the customer.
Since that time, Bowhouse’s monthly market weekends have attracted over 100,000 people, and this was set to grow in 2020.
The on-going coronavirus crisis has meant that organisers have had to develop new solutions to distribute local produce and this month, Bowhouse Link was launched.
Bowhouse Link is an online market place that brings together selected producers and allows shoppers to select the food and drink for either contactless pick up or local delivery.
Alongside essentials like cream, eggs, yogurt and milk, produce included in the market place includes:
· Organic beef, lamb, venison and pork from Butchery at Bowhouse
· Wholemeal organic flours from Scotland the Bread
· Organic vegetables and salads from East Neuk Market Garden
· Rums, ciders, beers and natural wines from Futtle Organic Brewery
· Game meats from Woodmill Game
· Anster Cheese from the neighbouring St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
· Cheeses and oatcakes from Strathearn Cheese Company
· Butters from the Edinburgh Butter Company
· Breads from Barnetts Bakery
· Brownies from Artisana
· Kombucha drinks from Bad Gal Boocha
· Non alcoholic spirits from Feragaia
· Freshly ground coffee from Unorthodox Roasters
· Fresh flowers from Keeping the Plot
These include products both from those based at Bowhouse (Butchery at Bowhouse, Scotland the Bread, East Neuk Market Garden, Futtle brewery and Keeping the Plot) as well as those who’ve become regulars at the market weekends.
The producers include the newly launched Butchery at Bowhouse, run by Sophie Cumber.
Sophie grew up on a livestock farm in Oxfordshire but became interested in meat as she studied at Leiths school of food and wine.
She subsequently went onto work at London butchers like Barbecoa and Turner & George before moving to Fife at the start of 2020. She will now hang, cut and sell beef, lamb, pork and game from Balcaskie Estate in her premises at Bowhouse.
New producers will continue to be added to Bowhouse Link and will be expanded even after the current lockdown has come to an end.
The shop opens every Monday morning at 10am and is open for orders until Wednesday afternoon at 1pm.
On Thursdays and Fridays the orders are produced and packed ready for delivery across the East Neuk of Fife and collection on Saturday.
Bowhouse Link offers free delivery for all local NHS staff.
Rosie Jack, market manager, said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for so many people, and as smaller food and drink producers struggle to get their produce out to those who need it, Bowhouse can provide a useful link.
"This goes to the heart of what we’re all about: connecting local producers with customers.
"While we’ve had to cancel our market weekends, this has given us the chance to set up this virtual market, which will continue long after the coronavirus lockdown has come to an end.
"This has shown that there’s a real appetite for local food and drink and we really hope that people will continue to support these producers in the long term - helping to sustain what is an outstanding food and drink landscape in Fife.”
Guy Wade of Woodmill Game said: “Bowhouse's online sales platform is a brilliantly proactive response to these difficult times.
"Many markets have fallen in the past few months and so I think all market traders are relieved to have a new channel to make up for the quietness some might be experiencing.
"Over the past couple of weeks, we've managed to rally promising weekly orders, fulfil them with the simple picking list facility, and easily deliver them to the hub with our existing weekly deliveries.
"We hope order volumes maintain over the coming months so Bowhouse Link can become a good customer for us each week.
"To many traders, the Bowhouse Link has presented a great opportunity to make up for the lost markets throughout this period.”
Find Bowhouse Link on Open Food Network here.
Scran season 2: How Scotland's food industry can overcome the crisis - with James Withers, Mark Greenaway and Petra Wetzel