Exeter Farmers’ Market: A Review

Given that Exeter is in the agricultural heartland of Devon, you’d expect that your access to fresh local produce would be easy. However, though we are spoiled with a great selection of shops (and generous daily discounts in the M&S food hall), the city’s only farmer’s market, run by Exeter Council is incredibly small.

When I first visited, I expected the whole of Fore Street to be closed for the very best produce of the county to be lined up, on stalls on either side of the street. So finding that the farmers’ market was being restricted to the corner of Fore Street and the decidedly ‘tasty’  (read troublesome) South Street was quite a surprise.  In my opinion, this makes the market very much a West Quarter neighborhood thing whereas I am sure it could attract greater interest and footfall in Princesshay between nationwide and H&M or the ideal setting of the cathedral green. 

But anyway, this article is meant to be about why you should put in the effort to visit Exeter Farmers’ market which, despite its size is very good and boasts a roster of outstanding growers and food artisans who are passionate about selling their produce directly to the community. 

A great selection of stalls at the Exeter Farmers’ market

The selection of produce available at the Exeter Farmers’ market is so good that I am surprised that it isn’t busier. You can fill your shopping bags with all sorts of meat, fish, fruit and veg, and eggs, along with plants, preserves, pies, and a decent sourdough loaf.

If you like lunch on the go, you can pick up delicious pastries and a coffee to walk the city. Or eat your spoils on the cathedral green! It is a great stop for people who are new to Exeter as there is a community vibe despite the hardworking traders heading into the city from all over Devon. 

Is Exeter Farmers’ market expensive?

Not at all. It is cheap enough to fill your bag with lots of good things for £10 which is the budget I set myself when I visit. For the quality and freshness of the food you’re getting great value for money, and though I can’t afford everything on sale I usually buy some quality fruit and veg, a few pieces of decent meat and eggs to enrich our diet.

Though Magdalen Street has the uber-posh Ben’s Farm Shop and fancy greengrocers and fishmongers, it is just too pricey for me. I believe that we should be finding ways to shop locally and seasonally so that the growers and producers who work hard can prosper and we can eat better. Exeter Farmers’ market brings that within reach for many Exeter locals. 

What I buy at Exeter Farmers’ market 

Using the farmers’ market I can save money on fruit and veg, eggs, and eat high-quality meat that has been reared with care. All the traders are keen to share how they grow their produce or farm their meat, so you can be assured of the highest standards of animal welfare and some great organic produce. Here’s where I spend my tenner:

  • Eggs from Random Cottage: I get a tray of 30 eggs which lasts my family a week. The eggs have a good rich yolk and are sized so you can save by buying smaller eggs.
  • Beef and chicken carcasses from Evenlade: the highlight of the week is a meal featuring a delicious Dexter beef cut from this amazing organic farm in Nomansland, Tiverton, Devon. Even a small piece for £3 goes a very long way as it cooks down and is incredibly tender. But my best buy from this husband and wife team are their organic chicken carcasses for £1.50+ which are massive and have LOADS of meat on them. I freeze them and then cook them down into a delicious chicken soup with lots of garlic chilli and noodles!
  • Sausages from  Little Oak Farm: a tray of these delicious bangers made with pedigree Middle White Pork is a treat! Perfect for a cassoulet!
  • Veg from Shillingford organics: I can’t afford to eat organic all the time or subscribe to veg boxes, but love to support the hard work and honesty of these Devon growers who have a much better selection of veg than you’ll find in Sainsbury’s across the road. 

List of Exeter Farmers’ traders

Here is a list of current traders at Exeter Farmers’ market. If you can’t get to the market many, visit other Devon Farmer’s Markets or deliver. I’ve included direct contact details so you can get in touch with them:

Name LocationProduceURL/phone number
Random Cottage Random CottageSidmouth RoadFarringdonExterEX5 2JUFree range eggs 01395 232 729
St Sidwells Bakehouse178-179 Sidwell St, Exeter EX4 6RDBread and baked goodsstsidwells.org.uk/bakehouse 
Greendale FarmGreendale Farm ShopSidmouth RoadNr. FarringdonExeterEX5 2JUFresh fish https://www.greendale.com/seafood/
Bread of Devon ExeterFresh breadhttps://www.facebook.com/BreadofDevon/ |07974 825178||breadofdevon@yahoo.co.uk
Evenlade Upcott Farm, Nomansland, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 8NT Dexter BeefWiltshire Horn LambFree-Range Sasso Chickenshttp://www.evenlade.co.uk/ |T: 01884 860892 | E: janet.dale@btconnect.com
Shillingford OrganicsBarton Ln, Exeter EX2 9QQFruit and Vegshillingfordorganics.co.uk
Fika Bakery 9 Welcome St, Exeter EX2 8ENBaked goodswww.instagram.com/fika.exeter/ 
Norsworthy Dairy GoatsFrankland Cottage, Crediton EX17 5HJCheeseswww.norsworthydairygoats.co.uk/ 
Down Farm WinkleighDown Lane, Winkleigh EX19 8DNFruit and Vegwww.down-farm.com/ 
Pesto Nadder Park RoadEX4 1NS, ExeterItalian deliwww.pestotaste.co.uk |pestotaste@gmail.com|07496 685434
Bernaville Nurseries3 Horse Shoes, Cowley, Exeter EX5 5EUHorticulturebernaville.co.uk/ 
Little Oak Farm PorkLittle Oak FarmExmoorSomersetUnited KingdomPorkwww.littleoakfarmdirect.co.uk/ 
Bees in Devon and Jacob SheepRosemary CottageNewton AbbotDevon beekeeping consultantDartmoor wildflower honey and honey productsJacob sheep meat & wool01647 440322
Stanbury Wild Game PiesCheriton BishopGame and Game pieswww.stanburywildgame.co.uk/ 
Blackaller HoneyBlackaller HotelNORTH BOVEYTQ13 8QYHoney01647 440322
Forest fungiTimaru Gardens, Warren Rd, Dawlish Warren EX7 0NGMushroomsforestfungi.co.uk/ 

When does Exeter Farmers’ market take place?

The Farmers’ market is on every Thursday between 9 am and 1 pm. I invariably find myself just rocking up at 12:59 am, but I find the atmosphere is great between 10 and 11 am when trading is brisk. There is never a hard shutdown and traders make the most of the lunch hour to sell to local workers. 

Support your local farmers’ market in Exter

Everyone is feeling the squeeze, but one of how we can have more control over the food we eat, our health, and our communities is by buying direct from the people that produce it. 

The farmers’ market is a great community asset and allows people that cannot drive to farm shops in rural Devon the opportunity to taste great food and learn more about where our country’s food comes from. 

I think that Exeter should be a city that champions locally-produced food and makes it accessible to everyone. Don’t let this decent market go the way of FoodEze, just one purchase makes all the difference. And if everyone supports this market more traders will come and prices will fall 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s