I love the Birmingham Markets, they make me happy. I’ve been shopping there for 20 years. The traders are friendly, they remember you, you get banter from them, they have character. The food is fresh, tasty and ready to eat, it even vaguely reflects the season we are in. Today, along with apricots, cherries, grapefruit, lemons, apples, carrots, broccoli, mange tout and free range eggs, I bought tomatoes for 1/3 the price they are in the local supermarket.
They have a simple system going. Across the road is the wholesale market. The traders go there very early, buy their stock and nip off for some breakfast. Whilst they’re fueling up with mugs of tea, a team of porters zoom their stock across the road with fork-lifts and hand pulled pallet trucks. The wholesale market also services restaurants, cafes, local shops and even the Convent where I once cooked breakfasts. Unfortunately the incredible central location of the wholesale market is about to lead to its downfall. The City Council owns the land and is set to sell it for redevelopment placing the whole market thing in jeopardy.
The markets are important. In a City Centre of bland chain shops the markets are a splash of life. In a City turning to obesity it’s a rare source of cheap, healthy food. It’s not glamorous but it is part of the City’s heritage. We should fight to keep them.