It would have been difficult for locals not to have noticed we have a new venture, rooted right here in Milton. Did you see the fantastic posters and the pallet signage directing you up to Bruern Farm Shop on May Day? To say it was a huge success is an understatement, particularly as Covid signing- in, social distancing and proper care had to be taken to ensure all went well.
The Market created a wonderful atmosphere, giving everyone who went a safe opportunity to see new and old friends, meet neighbours and family – all at a great location kindly lent by Henry and Leslie Astor. We found lots of homemade crafts, antiques, vinyl records, clothes and furniture to buy, alongside wonderful food and drink. Even the tractor rides across fields for the children filled the donation buckets for the charities that The Milton Market and Bruern Farm support: the Chippy Larder food bank and Wild Oxfordshire.
Strangely, it is the pandemic we have to thank for the emergence of Milton Market. Co-founders Frances Bennett and Jen Harris (Frances lives here, Jen works here) found the lockdown a time of discovery. All these local bakers, makers and creators, right on our Cotswold doorstep. How to make sure they thrive and flourish long after people go back to driving to bigger towns and cities to shop? And so Milton Market was born.
Frances packed in her fulltime role managing Just Fabrics in Burford, Jen (upholsterer with Percy Hickman) upped her output of homeware products with partner Rich busy on furniture and leather work, and their Fina Design business grew. Lots of meetings, much planning, an army of volunteers recruited, all to support a community focussed event.
That May Day Milton Market is the first of many – already three more in the pipeline are the Summer Market on the Village Green, Saturday 24 July then an Autumn and a Christmas Milton Market back up at Bruern Farms in 2021 too.
As restrictions ease and we begin to feel our lives slipping back to what we consider ‘normal’, Frances and Jen feel it is essential not to lose sight of what we have – right here. Small local businesses need our support. They were here for us when we couldn’t travel, they are still here now. Use them or lose them. The Milton Market will ensure that doesn’t happen, but only if those of us who have the great good fortune to live in this most beautiful part of the world remember to use, shop, eat and socialise locally. Sustaining our community and enjoying the benefits that brings to us all is what helps and heals us.
Thanks to Lara Jacques for the photos.