Out & About
Make the most of the rich and diverse bounty on your doorstep by Andrew Hirst
Lazy shopping is all too easy. Open the app and just a few seconds later your virtual basket is brimming with items from who-knows where? Shopping is the same as everything in life… if you want something truly great you have to put in a little effort. Covid has opened many of our eyes to the reality of local.
Shopping from local suppliers ticks many boxes. Obviously it is better for the planet with less miles travelled from tractor to table, not to mention the packaging and plastics not used. Yes, of course it helps to support the local economy, creating jobs and putting the pounds in the pockets of our neighbours rather than helping the lovely Jeff Bezos buy another super-yacht. The main reason for me is that the lazy shopping culture means that you miss out on all of the exceptional quality on offer in this bountiful region.
East Anglia has award-winners aplenty, with exceptional companies and artisans pouring love and passion into their produce. Wine, sauces, pies, meats, art, jewellery, cheese… the list is as endless as it is diverse. The only thing you need to do is add a little effort. Head out to the local high streets and markets and you will soon be heading home with a bumper haul of amazing acquisitions.
Next day delivery is an amazing service. Aladdin would be stunned to witness that you can make anything you want appear… you’ll just have to wait 24 hours if you have prime. The smart-phone really is the new magic lamp to make all of our wishes come true. However the old adage is still ringing in our ears, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Lazy shopping really is lazy shopping. Trawling the virtual mall from the sofa avoids leaving the house while you wait for the knock from the delivery driver. But the other weight is the one to watch. Is it really that much effort to head out and forage? We all need to up our step count so going the extra mile is worth the effort in many ways. Park further from the shop and march your way to better buys and a wonderful waist.
Can you find it cheaper online? Is cheapest really best? What is the provenance of the super cheap items from these faceless outlets? At the end of the day it’s down to personal choice, and how it fits in to your everyday. The most precious commodity on the planet is time. Heading off to the local farmers market may not fit with everyone’s school-run-office-juggle, so why not shop local online. Online doesn’t mean abandoning the local cause. Shopping online from local suppliers is just as easy, you just need to use your head. Build up your local knowledge and be the shop local digital geek. When we went from lockdown to lockdown the savvy retailers hit the laptops and beefed-up their online shopping experience. Most probably found themselves caught in a no-mans-land having the online shop on the to do list but never really getting to it. The reality of Covid made it more of a necessity. Retailers needed an outlet to engage with their consumers. Now that restrictions are eased, this online offering has added, a much needed, extra string to their bow. This way you can literally have your local cake and eat it; delivered direct to your door.
Go out and get it or get it delivered? All you need is to do is put in a little effort to reap a great reward. So there really is no excuse not to shop local and love local.
African & Caribbean Market
The Atrium, Bethel Street, Norwich
3-4 September, 10am-5pm
Norfolk’s one and only African and Caribbean Market is back! This hugely popular market celebrates Africa, the Caribbean and Black heritage in the UK. Browse a selection of fantastic stalls with unique products. Treat yourself to something special at the pop-up street food market… and don’t miss performances from local musicians and dancers. A hugely popular event not to be missed.
Beccles Farmers Market
The Old Heliport, Beccles
4 & 18 September, 9am-1pm
This top quality market meets twice a month on the first and third Saturday, bringing high-quality local produce direct from farmers and artisans to the local community. There are around thirty stalls each weekend and all stallholders must be based within a maximum of a thirty-mile radius. It’s one of the biggest under-cover rural markets in the UK. 2021 is particularly special for Beccles Farmers Market as this year is their 20th anniversary! Hot food and drinks are also available in the café area and parking is spacious and free.
Sandringham Game & Country Fair
11-12 September, 10am-6pm
A brilliantly fun day out for the whole family including country sports and pursuits, displays, workshops, countryside activities and entertainment. Also on show are displays of falconry, horse boarding, scurry driving, gun dogs and shire horse logging. This year the craft village and food section of the show is bigger than it’s ever been before hosting a huge variety of stalls and stands to explore. A great way to enjoy the amazing products and talent East Anglia has to offer.
Art, Photography & Craft
Barton Bendish Village Hall & St Andrew’s Church, King’s Lynn
18 September, 10am-5pm & 19 September, 11am-5pm
Both Barton Bendish Village Hall and St Andrew’s Church will be transformed into beautiful art galleries showcasing a large variety of talented local and well-known artists, photographers and crafters. All art that is exhibited is available for purchase with the proceeds to benefit St Andrew’s Church and the Village Hall.
Ipswich Vegan Market
The Cornhill, Ipswich
19 September, 10am-2pm
After the massive success of last year this vegan inspired market is back, running every other month. The venue in the heart of Ipswich showcases a vast array of plant-based food, drinks, treats and goodies made by some of the best producers from around the local area. With free entry there really is no excuse not to go along and grab some healthy, plant based fayre.
Wymondham Farmers Market
Market Cross, Wymondham
3rd Saturday of Every Month 9am-1pm
This long-standing market has been a hub of fine quality foods and social gathering in the heart of south Norfolk for 16 years. Normally taking place on the third Saturday of every month make sure you grab the opportunity to take the best of Norfolk home. Check the latest dates on their Facebook page to stay up to date with upcoming events.