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Suffolk People: Talking to Justine Paul from Suffolk Market Events

Justine Paul, Suffolk Market Events, Farmers' Markets in Suffolk

In 2008, Justine Paul took over the running of Lavenham Farmers’ Market, which at the time, was a dying rural market. Today it is one of the busiest farmers’ markets in East Anglia with over 1,000 customers coming through the doors each month. As well as running Lavenham Farmers’ Market she also runs markets at Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich every month.

Justine has a real passion for local food, for supporting local producers and for supporting her local community. Her farmers’ markets give artisan producers in the area,  a platform from which they can showcase and sell their products, and her work contributes to making Suffolk the foodie heaven it is now known for.

What new developments have you got planned?

Well, business is booming and by next year I will definitely be looking for some help! I’ve just taken over Sudbury Farmers’ Market which was a very sad affair and is now proving to be a real star of the show, attracting hundreds of people through the doors of St Peter’s Church. I also have a couple of other very exciting plans up my sleeve, but I’m not allowed to say anything yet – watch this space!

Are farmers’ markets as popular as ever and if so, what is it that’s so appealing about them?

My farmers’ markets are extremely popular but that doesn’t mean all of the markets out there are the same. I believe that my markets do well because the produce is of the highest quality sold at a fair price. All the traders at my markets travel less than 30 miles to sell their produce and everything that is sold at the market is made by the person who is selling it. There are no hidden secrets and the experience of shopping at the market is an enjoyable one.

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What sort of producers do you have at your markets and what are the most popular products that are sold?

We have over 30 traders at each of the markets and all of them are equally popular. The range is huge from beef to beer, sausages to scones and potatoes to pesto.

Have you got a ‘funniest/most memorable moment’ relating to your business?

I remember asking one of the traders how her day had gone and she replied saying “Yes, really busy. I sold out of Squirrel Samosa by 11am” – I had no idea she was selling squirrel!! I was so excited that I got straight onto the newspapers who ran a story the next day – squirrel at a local farmers’ market – fantastic!!

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What three things do you like most about living and working in Suffolk?

The scenery, the sense of community and the constant opportunity.

Where is your favourite place to eat in the county?

The Great House  in Lavenham is without doubt one of my very favourite restaurants. The food is amazing, the environment is beautiful and the service is perfect. Plus it’s in my village so we can stumble home after too much red wine! Eating is one of my favourite things so I could talk restaurants all day! I love Pease Porridge in Bury St Edmunds, the fish and chip shop in Aldeburgh, Memsaabs Indian in Lavenham, The Angel in Bury St Edmunds and The Company Shed (although that is in Essex!). We live in a place just full of some of the very best food and I could eat out all day, every day!

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Where is your favourite place to go for a walk?

I walk my dog every day often in the fields up above Lavenham – my walks with the dog are my thinking time, that is when I get ideas. The views of the village and the church are amazing; you hardly see another person and the scenery changes so much depending on the weather.

What is your favourite Suffolk event of the year and why?

I love the point to point at Ampton – it’s very simple and so exciting to see the horses so close up.

Favourite Suffolk tipple?

A very cold Aspalls, on a hot afternoon.

Thought for the day/philosophy on life?

I truly believe that what goes around, comes around so we should all treat others as we would like to be treated.

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You can find out more about Justine’s farmers’ markets, by ‘liking’ her Facebook page and visiting her website

This is a community website and we welcome contributions from anyone who would like to write about Suffolk or leave comments about places they have visited. All you need to do is register  (just your name and email address) and then you can start writing!

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