Food & Drink
Published: March 2, 2022 | Updated: March 3, 2022
Heather Brown takes a look at farmers/artisan markets and talks to Kate Bolton (Ma Bolton)
Welcome to our latest column from Heather Brown, Owner of Dorset Foodie Feed, the county’s top food & drink website.
Dorset Foodie Feed and Dorset Biz News work collaboratively to share food & drink news features across both our platforms.
Our aim is simple: to help support and encourage the food and hospitality sectors by bringing positive news stories to our respective audiences.
Heather’s column returns to its usual slot on the last Thursday of every month later in March.
Dorset plays host to a plethora of farmers’ markets and regular artisan markets, from bustling markets in our larger towns, like Sherborne and Wimborne, to smaller, more unique markets in some of the smaller suburbs and villages.
These markets are both a great way to meet local producers, chat to them about their products, as well as the markets acting as a wonderful embellishment to an already bustling high street, supplementing the shops with some more unique products and businesses.
They also provide small producers with access to customers and footfall, without the huge expense of shop rent and rates. Whichever way that you look at it, regular markets are a ‘win win’ for both the towns and small businesses.
For me, the beauty of local markets are being able to meet local producers who are wonderfully passionate about their products as not only do I usually learn something new, I am also reassured that the products I am buying have been made with love and enthusiasm for every single detail.
As a result, the quality often speaks volumes in taste, smell, texture… the whole experience.
A producer who definitely ticks that box is Kate Bolton and I recently had a chat with Kate to find out more about her business.
Kate runs the brilliantly successful ‘Ma Bolton’, producing flavour adventures that are gluten free and in many cases also vegan and dairy free too.
Kate manages to create her ‘free from’ products without losing any flavour or texture, maintaining nutritional value and often going to huge lengths to make sure that her customers receive a superb quality of product using often home grown, seasonal produce.
Her customers are enthusiastic and often come back to her stall time and and time again.
For those that haven’t heard of Ma Bolton, tell me a little about your business and your products?
Ma Bolton is a small food producer catering for those with food intolerances. Focusing entirely on gluten free baking, seasonal flavours and the freshest quality of ingredients.
You can find my stalls at local farmers’ markets with fresh ‘free from’ bakes, all produced within 24 hours of sale, as well as a range of seasonal preserves and syrups.
My products include seasonal sweet and savoury bakes, as well as preserves and flavour syrups that can be used in cocktails, as well as flavour enhancers in desserts, hot drinks and bakes and an award-winning gluten free pastry mix.
Every month I have a stall at the Westbourne, Berry Hill farm and Wimborne Square farmers’ market, as well as having products in local farm shops like Gulliver’s, Fluffetts Home and Farehouse Trading.
You might also find me at the odd summer food festival or market but keep an eye on my facebook page to see which festival I am due to appear at.
What inspires you to cook and create? What is your favourite of your own products? What do you love most about your business?
The inspiration to cook comes from my innate need to be creative. I am a total foodie who, when needing to eat a gluten free diet myself, found gluten free food to be so uninspiring and I wanted to put taste and joy back into my food. I will often see tempting treats that are unaccessible to me and will experiment at home until I can either recreate it or find exciting variations.
My all-time favourite product would be my Chocolate Aubergine torte. It is gluten free, dairy free, egg free and is lower in sugar but it still tastes rich and decadent and you wouldn’t guess it was so ‘free from’! Add some fresh raspberries and you have a luxurious ‘free from’ dessert.
What I love most about my business is the opportunity of limitless creativity and the time it affords me to express that, but also making fellow ‘free from’ customers happy.
There is nothing quite like seeing the joy on someone’s face when they realise all the food in front of them is available to them. That they are not being left out in the food choices and that there is more than one option available.
Do you think customers shop differently since the pandemic? You have a lot of interaction with your customers at farmers’ markets, have you noticed their shopping habits changing?
Customers have definitely shopped differently during and since the pandemic.
Many found farmers’ markets for the first time having only been allowed to walk locally. It was a source of safe shopping, outside and entertaining.
Many conversations were had at my stall about supporting local businesses and having been previously unaware we were there.
Life slowed down. The shopping local continued this Christmas. I really hope that ‘want’ to shop local continues.
If you are looking for delicious gluten and/or dairy free food, then I encourage you to try Ma Bolton’s produce.
Aside from all the samples I have tasted, I have also heard so many positive reviews from people who love Kate’s cooking.
If you are looking to seek out your closest farmers’ market then try here…
- Dorset Farmers’ Markets – host a number of regular, large farmer’s markets
- Dorset Food & Drink – have an up to date list of upcoming foodie events
You can also find a list of farmer’s markets on the Visit Dorset website.
As we head into Spring and Summer, you will also see a number of seasonal markets and festivals popping up, like this Highcliffe Arts and Food Festival on the 11th June.