New indie food market for Harrogate

Emma Povey of The Harrogate Food Assembly, left, with Gemma Aykroyd owner of The Cheeseboard shop on Commercial Street, Harrogate. (1709042AM4)
Emma Povey of The Harrogate Food Assembly, left, with Gemma Aykroyd owner of The Cheeseboard shop on Commercial Street, Harrogate. (1709042AM4)

A food-loving Harrogate resident is taking the concept of the farmers market into the 21st century with the launch of a new scheme in town next week.

The first-ever Harrogate Food Assembly will take place at Harrogate High School next Thursday, September 21 when local residents who've shopped online will pick up their orders and meet the local producers in person.
The new initiative is the result of months of hard work by Emma Povey, a mother of two who previously worked as a retail buyer at Asda.
It's a major change of direction for this former expert from the corporate world of food.
Emma said: "I left Asda when my eldest child started school as I wanted to ditch the commute and spend more time with my children.
"After I left Asda, I pursued a part time online home business in beauty but I yearned to be back working with food.
"Setting up the Harrogate Food Assembly has given me the opportunity to do that.
"But, as I've met each of the producers, heard the stories of how they got started, and witnessed how passionate they are about their businesses my reason for doing this has evolved."
The Harrogate Food Assembly will allow local residents to shop a variety of local food and drink products online each week and then they pop along to the assembly to collect their shopping, meet the producers and be inspired with recipes and samples.
Among the local independent producers who have signed up so far include The Cheeseboard in Harrogate, The Secret Bakery in Harrogate, The Rural Food Company in Sicklinghall, Hambleton View Farm in Burton Leonard, Wharfe Valley Farm in Collingham and Harrogate Distillery Ltd of Dacre who are well known for Whittakers Gin.
But the objective goes beyond offering fresh, loca food, pleasing customers and creating a successful business.
The aim is to work with local farmers, growers or food makers within a 30 mile radius thereby promoting small scale local businesses, reducing food miles and ensuring they receive a fair price.
Emma said: "I love the old fashioned tradition of the weekly assembly, a food market where the members get to meet the people who have lovingly farmed, grown or made the food they are about to take home.
"Food is my absolute passion. I hope Harrogate Food Assembly will help create a strong community of local food lovers and supporters."
To start a new business from scratch is never easy, though Emma's eight years as a retail buyer at Asda across frozen, grocery and fresh foods and three years as a food innovation manager working with development chefs on new product innovation for Asda private label food should help.
Harrogate Food Assembly is part of a national franchise which began.
Emma says this is looked on as completely normal in France while Italy is full of cooperative, locally-based food chains.
Emma said: "My friend sent me some information on the Food Assembly set-up in the UK and I knew the minute I read it I wanted to set up one in Harrogate.
"I love food, love Harrogate and I was really attracted to the local community element of it.
"Independents give a town like Harrogate its uniqueness."