Tucked away round the back of Merlin Public House on Morningside Road is one of the more secret Farmer’s markets in Edinburgh, and one of the nicer.
The back car park of the Merlin is a surprisingly large space in crowded Morningside, where on every third Saturday it is transformed into if not a full on Farmer’s market than a local and artisan’s market (which is every bit as good).
Where there is real engagement between artisan and customer
There is a Fishmonger. We lost our last one in Morningside a while back when the big boys moved in and pushed them out. There are even a couple of butchers (yep we don’t have them in Morningside either) which mean a significant improvement on the shoping scene in Morningside. And please don’t give me that old businessman’s canard about the chain supermarkets having trained Butchers and Fishmongers “in-house”, as we know perfectly well they are just not as well trained or informed as the real thing. These in the Morningside Farmers Market were the actual producers with their own reared meat. Go on, next time you’re in a supermarket ask that “trained” member of staff to tie up a brisket for you and watch the look of lost panic on the child’s face.
Add to that good greengrocers and cheesemongers, soap sellers, and cake/patisserie vendors who actually make the stuff they sell, and the whole is a vibrant and much needed addition to community life.
And people enjoy the sense of occasion the feeling of fun that should always be part of shopping. There is none of that false bonhomie from undertrained staff following a script as you get in supermarkets where bored staff wish you to “have a nice day” without holding any eye contact, or that dead lack of communication from the purchasers only too anxious to get out again. These guys knew their stuff and enthused about it. No chance here of the hell of being left to the mercies of a robot telling you about “unexpected items in baggage areas”. Here people actually talk to each other.
There were even a couple playing acoustic instruments as buskers!
It all made shopping more human and a bit of a pleasure. It was busy and everyone was leaving looking relaxed and happy. It really set up the day. A delight.
Copyright David Macadam 2014