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Harvest-time market at Tulla Courthouse

TULLA Country Markets has been in existence for over two years and in that short time, it has gone from strength to strength breathing new life into the court house on a Saturday morning, bringing people together and creating business opportunities.
This Saturday, they will hold a special harvest market in Tulla Courthouse. 
The market, which will open to the public from 10.30am to 12.30pm, has been a great success, with new producers and customers coming in all the time.
“We now have a producer doing special gluten-free cakes and biscuits, which is a great boost to anyone needing gluten-free produce, as normally they can only get basic breads. There are also great craft works: knitwear and crochet, paintings, jewellery, greeting cards, personalised items, baby gifts and so on,” a spokesperson for the market explained.
Established in June 2009, Tulla Country Market is thriving and contributes to the social and economic activity of the town every Saturday morning throughout the year.
It was formed by a number of people in the town who saw an opportunity to showcase the great talents of people from the community, whilst also offering them an opportunity to boost their income from selling their produce locally.
“Many people are being affected by the recession, either losing their jobs or going on to part-time work and others working from home perhaps with small children can see this as a chance to work from home and involve their families, without the financial commitment of trying to establish a full scale business on their own,” said Siobán Mulcahy of the Tulla market committee.
The Tulla market operates as a co-operative under a branch of Irish Country Markets, whose head office is in Dublin.
“Instead of each producer having their own stall and having to attend to their own goods as in farmers’ markets, the market is held indoors and producers are identified on the labelling system by number. All products are displayed by category, producers take turns to be on duty each week. There are approximately 14 producers at the moment, but this number can fluctuate as some of the products are seasonal,” Siobán added.
The market sees a variety of produce ranging from fresh-free range hen and duck eggs, jams and preserves and dressings, olives, quiche and pizza, garlic potatoes, salads, vegetables, plants, home baking (cakes, scones, breads, spelt breads, biscuits, cheesecakes, pavlovas, tarts and so on) gluten-free cakes and buns and crafts include knitwear, crochet, paintings, greeting cards, jewellery, soft toys and other items.
Coming into the winter, it is hoped to have turf and timber and new members who might have something different to offer are very welcome.
“Many locals use the market as a chance to take a little time out on a Saturday morning to meet their neighbours and friends. While several producers have been able to use their success in the market to launch their own business and have gone on to provide local shops and clubs with their produce, encouraging a ‘shop-local’ ethos in the community.
“The market is intended to complement the fine selection of local businesses in the town. By bringing people into the Tulla on Saturday mornings for the market, they are more likely to stay longer, availing of free parking and visiting other businesses in Tulla,” Siobán commented.
She added that since its inception, many friendships have been forged through the market, with a lovely spirit of support and communication and new ideas for social activities continually being discussed.
Tulla Country Market as well as being on each week, holds a number of special markets during the year (Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en) and this Saturday, there will be a special harvest market. At such markets, a greater variety of produce is available related to the theme of the season and samples are available for people to taste so that they can try out new things.
“It is hoped with continued support the market will go from strength to strength and continue to show that shopping local can demonstrate how small towns can thrive in otherwise difficult economic times, and that the positive social and community benefits are immeasurable,” Siobán concluded.

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