Whatever you want to cook for your family at Christmas, you can pick up the best ingredients direct from the farmers.
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market
Where: Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
When: Every Saturday, 9am-2pm
Best for: Meat
The secret to a fabulous festive feast is top-quality meat. At this market, the majority of stall holders are primary producers, which guarantees you the freshest cuts of locally sourced product, going from farm to fork with very few stops in between.
Carmichael Estate Farm Meats, one of Scotland’s oldest family farms, is the place for venison, beef and lamb. All meats are produced and packaged on the farm and have a reputation for excellence, with two Great Taste Gold Awards and a Scotland Food and Drink Excellence gong to prove it.
Over at the Gartmorn Farm stall you can find a good selection of freshly reared poultry. Whether you are looking for turkey, goose, chicken or duck, Gartmorn has a wide selection of Christmas staples at competitive prices.
If you are tired of turkey and feeling adventurous, the market also sells a selection of speciality meats, including water buffalo and wild boar.
Inverurie Farmers’ Market
Where: Market Place, Inverurie
When: Second Saturday of the month, 9am-1pm
Best for: Dairy
Bidding a fond farewell to those last few mouthfuls of figgy pudding can mean only one thing. It is time for the cheese plate. To secure the best selection of hand-made, locally produced cheese, head to the Devenick Dairy stall. The company is renowned for a simple, natural approach to cheese production, and everything is made from the company’s own blend of Friesian and Jersey cows’ milk.
Its Christmas Cheese is a unique twist on a festive classic. Camembert is sliced in half and filled with cream cheese and cranberries. It is advertised as a “wee Xmas treat”, and would make a wonderful addition to any after-dinner selection.
More exotic flavours include Dee’s Cheese Chilli and Dee’s Cheese Garlic, which blends hand-made soft cheeses with different herbs and spices. But if you’re feeling more traditional, the dairy also has a range of classics with inventive Scottish twists. Badentoy Blue is its own blue cheese, Cowdie is its version of Crowdie and Smoked Dee-sider is a variation on cheddar.
Inverness Farmers’ Market
Where: Eastgate Shopping Precinct, Inverness
When: First Saturday of the month, 8:30am-3pm
Best for: Fruit and vegetables
What would Christmas dinner be without a generous helping of potatoes and veg?
Inverness attracts some of the best producers of organic fruit and vegetables in Scotland, and as one of the busiest markets in the country, it has developed a reputation as the place to go to for fresh, wholesome produce.
For organically grown vegetables, MacLeods Organic is the stall to visit. All its produce is environmentally friendly, and is grown using natural fertilisers. This means that what ends up on your table is seasonal, healthy and naturally tasty.
This time of year is particularly good for stocking up on onions, carrots, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes, meaning that just one stop will bag you all your Christmas essentials.
Perth Farmers’ Market
Where: King Edward Street and St John’s Place
When: First Saturday of the month, 9am-2pm
Best for: Home baking
Christmas is all about treating yourself and your nearest and dearest, and plenty of Perth’s stallholders specialise in baked goods. Gold Taste Award winner Cookroom visits the market with its wide range of wheat and gluten-free products. All are based on traditional recipes and are hand made in the kitchen at Loch Lomond Trossachs National Park.
Family-run business the Handmade Oatcake Company is also a regular seller. Its oatcakes have several accolades, including Best Scottish Product award in 2007 and two Golds at the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards.
For freshly baked scones, cakes, pudding and bread, visit the Achray Farm stall. It prides itself on its fresh, sustainable approach to baking and, as a result, all its products are made from scratch and the packaging is recyclable where possible.
Fencebay Farmers’ Market
Where: Fencefoot Farm, Fencebay, Fairlie, Ayrshire
When: Last Sunday of the month, 9am-2pm
Best for: Seafood
This market is a must if you are looking for traditional seafood. Fencebay is renowned for its spectacular range of fresh fish and shellfish. Once a month, UKTV Local Food Hero Fencebay Fisheries opens up its farm to a range of local suppliers, with fresh fish alongside wine and delicatessen items. Highlights from the Fish Farm Shop include freshly smoked herring from Largs pier, home farmed rainbow trout and gravadlax.