A new food market with the emphasis on fresh, seasonal and local produce has launched on Newcastle’s famous Armstrong Bridge.
If successful, the organisers plan to hold Jesmond Food Market on the third Saturday of every month on the Victorian iron bridge spanning Jesmond Dene.
The enterprise is the brainchild of Food Newcastle, Jesmond Residents’ Association and Anna Hedworth, better known as ‘The Grazer’, who last year opened her Cook House café in a converted shipping container in Newcastle’s arty Ouseburn area.
Anna has been organising food markets and supperclubs around the region for the past few years, and has brought together the best of the region’s independent retailers and producers for this new venture.
Among the foodie names already signed up are: Elodie’s Crepes; Zen Bakers; Emily’s Brownies; Northumbrian Smokehouse, which specialises in smoked oils, salts, fish and cheese; Wheatberry, with its vegan, vegetarian and gluten free salads; Middle Eastern street food business Papa Ganoush; Riverford Organics fruit and vegetables; the Northumberland Sausage Company; wine company Carruthers and Kent; Northumbrian Preserves; the Ouseburn Coffee Company; The Fudge Parlour; Sugar Down Bakery; Pizzette, the wood fired oven pizza van; and the Artisan Baking Community.
Jesmond Residents’ Association has long wanted a regular food market in the area, while Food Newcastle works to improve the quality of life in the city by promoting health and wellbeing.
Anna said: “There is a really great food scene in Newcastle at the moment and it’s exciting to bring a new monthly market to Jesmond as part of it. It’s great for people to have access to outstanding local producers and street food traders, at the same time reinstating a historic market on Armstrong Bridge.
“I’ll been curating the stalls and selecting a mix of local producers every month. I have been inundated with requests so far, which promises a very tasty event.”
Ellie Dowding, coordinator of the Food Newcastle partnership, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic and dynamic set of partners to bring the food market to life.
“The Newcastle Food Charter aims to encourage organisations and individuals to make even a small change in their day to day attitudes to food.
“The creation of a new local food market is one such response to the aims of the Food Charter, and buying some of your weekly food shop from our region’s best producers would be another.
“The group has thought carefully about ways to maximise the social and environmental benefits of holding the market, and has reserved two of the market stalls for community or social enterprise food businesses, demonstrating the group’s firm commitment to ensuring the market has a strong community ethos.”
Armstrong Bridge used to host a Sunday arts, crafts and food market. Started in 1963, when the structure was closed to road traffic, it dwindled and closed a few years ago.
Tony Waterston, chairman of Jesmond Residents’ Association, said: “The introduction of a food market is a marvellous idea to bring back the public and the sense of community to Armstrong Bridge.
“The Jesmond Residents’ Association is very pleased to support this initiative, which will also be good for the local economy in supporting local food businesses and bringing home grown food into the reach of local residents, something that is so necessary for health and wellbeing.”
Jesmond Food Market will run from 10am to 3pm on April 18 and thereafter on the third Saturday of the month, with the next one planned for May 16.