Believe it or not – Cornwall has an excellent farming environment, despite the fact that the county is renowned for its tourism.
For many Cornish citizens, farming is an important aspect of daily life, as it is everywhere else. In fact, the farming industry is quite strong in this southwestern county, so it boasts a large farming community, lush farmlands and bustling farmers’ markets.
However, if you are new to Cornwall, you might not know about its farming industry. That is why we have made this guide, where we have discussed everything you need to know about Cornish farming culture.
So, without any further ado, let’s get right to it!
How Big Is Farming And Agriculture Industry In Cornwall?
As we have suggested before, farming plays an important part in Cornwall. The farming and agriculture industry is an integral part of Cornish culture and its economy since it is one of the biggest contributors to Cornwall’s economy besides tourism.
It has an output of over £200 million to the country’s economy, and because of this reason, Cornwall is the third biggest farming county in the UK. This naturally implies that a large number of Cornish people are engaged in farming and its associated activities.
How Many Farmers Are There In Cornwall?
There are several farmlands scattered throughout the county of Cornwall, and each of these farmlands requires considerable human resources for their proper management and upkeep. That is why so many people are involved with farming in this county – both directly and indirectly.
According to recent data, there are approximately 9,500 people who are employed in this industry. Most of them are full-time farmers, while some of them are part-timers or are indirectly associated with farming activities.
In any case, the number of people involved with farming activities makes up around 4.9% of the total number of employed people in Cornwall. If you take into account the entire food industry as a whole, then the numbers will go up even more.
The food industry includes farming and agriculture, and it employs over 23,700 people in Cornwall. This figure roughly constitutes 12.1% of the total number of employed persons, so you can see why farming is such an important activity in Cornwall.
What Percentage Of Cornwall Is Farmland?
It is a well-known fact that the farmlands of southwest England (which includes Cornwall) make up around a fifth of the total farmable land in the UK. To be more precise, the total area covered by farmlands is approximately 1.79 million hectares in the southwest part of the country. Likewise, the average area covered by each farm is around 68 hectares.
Now, let’s talk about the county of Cornwall in particular. According to recent statistics, the total area covered by farms in this county is 378,000 acres, which means that around 70% of the total land area in Cornwall consists of farmlands. That is why you can see plenty of Cornish tractors working on lush farmlands whenever you move towards the countryside.
What Are The Different Foods Produced In Cornwall’s Farms?
It is quite natural if you wish to learn more about the different foods produced in the expansive Cornish farms. In that context, there is a wide range of vegetables and cereals grown in Cornwall throughout the year. However, some of the most important crops among them are barley, wheat, rye, oats and Avena nuda seeds.
Apart from these crops, the farms of Cornwall are used for farming meat and dairy products as well. There are dedicated farms in the county that are used for rearing livestock animals like cows, goats, sheep, poultry and pigs.
Who Is The Biggest Landowner In Cornwall?
Most of the farmlands in Cornwall are divided into various estates, and all of these estates are a part of the Duchy of Cornwall. This means that whoever holds the title of the Duke of Cornwall will have ownership of these lands.
At present, the title belongs to Prince William, which makes him the largest private landowner in Cornwall. Before him, the title was held by Prince Charles, who held over 135,000 acres of land spread over 23 counties.
Of course, there are many other private corporations that own land in Cornwall, but the size of the land they own is comparatively limited. Apart from that, there are numerous individual landowners who operate their own farms.
What Are The Best Farmers’ Markets In Cornwall?
Now, let’s take a look into some of the most popular farmer’s markets that operate in this county. In case you don’t know what they are – a farmer’s market is an event where local farmers come together to sell their produce directly to the consumers. Therefore, you will find some of the freshest farm products for sale here.
The prices for the products are much lower here than in conventional marketplaces. Thanks to these aspects, shopping at a farmer’s market can be beneficial. And even if you are not interested in buying anything, these markets are worth visiting for their lively ambience.
Below are some of the best farmers’ markets in Cornwall.
The farmers’ market at Pendeen is one of the most renowned events of its type in Cornwall. This particular farmer’s market is organised on the first and third Saturday of every month. The market runs for around three hours during these days, opening at 10 am in the morning and closing at 1 pm in the afternoon.
As for the location, it is organised at the Centre of Pendeen community cafe. At first glance, the marketplace may seem quite small and insignificant. But do not be fooled by this aspect, for it is one of the biggest and most popular markets in the whole region.
It attracts a large number of farmers and regular buyers from the Pendeen and West Penwith area. You will also find organic produce from the nearby Bosavern community farm here. Besides farmed crops, you can purchase organic food products like pickles and baked goods as well.
The Bude farmers’ market is known for its excellent atmosphere and variety. There are a number of farmlands around Bude, which means that you will find fresh produce from these farms at this market.
This event is conducted only at certain times of the year, which sets it apart from many other farmers’ markets in Cornwall. To be more specific, it runs from Easter to the last Friday in September and during this time, it is organised on a weekly basis on Fridays.
The market remains open for almost five hours, which gives you ample time for shopping. It starts at 10 am and finishes at 3 pm. Likewise, the market is set up on the lower part of the Wharf, which lies adjacent to the canal. In front of it, there is a building that houses crafts workshops.
Because of that, you can purchase different types of craft supplies while visiting this market. On that note, you will find several food stalls in addition to the regular farm product shops. All of these aspects not only improve the ambience of the marketplace but also increase the variety of items available.
The farmers’ market in Helston is one of the longest-running farmer’s events in this region. First organised in 2008, this particular farmer’s market is almost 15 years old. And while the event is held throughout the year, it is conducted only on a single day of the month, which is the first Saturday.
Here, you should bear in mind that the market is not organised in January. So, to make up for this deficit, it is held twice in the month of December. As for the timings, the event begins at 9:30 am in the morning and concludes at 1 pm in the afternoon. Thus, it gives you more than three hours to complete your shopping.
The event takes place at the Old Cattle Market, which is situated close to Helston’s Coronation Park on Porthleven Road. This market attracts nearly 40 local producers who have farms within 20 miles of Helston town. There is a parking area and disabled access at the venue, which makes it convenient for all buyers and sellers.
Among all the farmers’ markets in Cornwall, this one has a unique identity. Of course, it has to be like that, for it is not the only farmer’s market in this region. It is one of the three major farmer’s events that are organised in the wider Truro and Falmouth area.
However, the Truro Farmers’ Market is the oldest one of the three events. In fact, it may very well be one of the oldest ones in the whole county as this market was first held in 1999, and it has been conducted every year since then.
Thanks to that, it has generated a considerable reputation over the years. As such, it is regarded as one of the best and biggest farmer’s markets in Cornwall today. The market attracts some of the best farmers from the region, which means that the quality of the products is quite high. It even has a colour code for sellers – the stalls need to have green and white-striped canopies.
The event is held throughout the year at Lemon Quay in Truro and is organised twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Similarly, it runs for nearly seven hours, which is more than enough time to complete your shopping, starting at 9 am and concluding at 4 pm.
5. St. Ives
This farmers’ market at St.Ives is an award-winning event that is organised by a not-for-profit community group. The group, which is known by its quirky acronym GULP (Great-Tasting Unbeatable Local Produce), was established with the aim of supporting local farmers and food producers. That is why it organises the market so that these farmers can sell their products to customers easily.
The market is held on Thursdays, and it runs throughout the year, starting at 9:30 am and ending at 2 pm. Farmers from as far as 40 miles come to this market to sell their produce and it is conducted at the Guildhall on Street-an-Pol, near St. Ives Harbour.
One of the best parts of this marketplace is its excellent atmosphere. Aside from the farmers’ stalls, you will find a variety of stalls selling local food and drinks. On top of that, there are buskers who play music throughout the event, which further adds to the lively ambience.
The Falmouth Farmers’ Market is the second largest event that is organised in the Falmouth and Truro area. It is actually run by the same people responsible for the Truro market and the main idea for starting this market was to provide an alternative selling platform for local farmers in the area. This is especially helpful for those whose farms located far away from the Truro Market.
It is conducted at The Moor in Falmouth, which is a pedestrian area that lies close to the Prince Of Wales pier. The event takes place every Tuesday and it runs between 9 am and 2 pm.
While it is a bit smaller than the one in Truro, it does not lack variety or quality in any way. Farmers from the nearby areas come here to sell different kinds of products, ranging from meat, dairy, bread, cakes and traditional food crops.
It boasts the same charming atmosphere, which makes it a great place to buy your supplies. You will also find different types of food stalls so that you can grab a bite while shopping.
The Penzance Farmers’ Market is another lovely event that is conducted at St. John’s Hall on Alverton Road in Penzance. If the weather remains good, the market runs throughout the year and the event is held once every week on Fridays between 9 am and 1 pm.
Its overall atmosphere is pretty friendly, which is why the market attracts a large number of regular buyers from the surrounding areas. A lot of farmers come here to sell their fresh produce, which means that you will find a wide variety of stalls here.
Needless to say, you will find all the traditional items for sale here, such as meat, fish, milk, cheese, bread and so on. You will also find some unconventional items like goose eggs and flowers in this market.
Apart from that, it includes stalls that sell hand-baked cakes, deli foods and spicy Indian curries. So, if you ever get hungry while shopping, you will find something to fill your tummy!
8. Carnon Downs
This is the third farmers’ market that is organised in the Truro and Falmouth region. The Carnon Downs market is held at the village hall by the local community association. This event aims to make it even more convenient for farmers to sell their products to consumers. But it is fairly new compared to the other two farmer’s markets, which means that the market has not become well-known yet.
Due to this reason, and the relatively small size of the village hall, the market consists of around 30 stallholders. It also includes a waiting list for those who did not get the chance to book a stall space and these farmers are typically offered a slot in the subsequent event.
However, this does not mean the market is bad by any chance. In fact, the quality and variety of items you can get here are on par with the other markets. Therefore, if you want the best quality farm products in the Carnon Downs area, you can head to this market instead of going anywhere else.
The market is held on the last Saturday of each month up to November, while in December, the market is held on the 15th instead of the last Saturday. You should also know that the event starts at 9 am in the morning and runs up to 12 am.
As you can see, Cornwall has a thriving agriculture industry that makes major contributions to the local and national economy and employs thousands.
Likewise, there are many reputed farmers’ markets organised here throughout the year, some of which we have mentioned here. Of course, there are many other farmers’ markets organised in other towns and villages in Cornwall, including Camborne, Flushing, Lostwithiel and Callington, to name a few.
Since the farmers can sell their products directly to consumers, they find these markets to be more advantageous. That’s because they give the farmers better freedom and control over the price and other similar aspects.
At the same time, it is advantageous for the customers as well, for they get to purchase fresh stuff directly from the farmer. In this regard, these markets are particularly well-suited for making bulk purchases.
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