Wylde Market: a farmers’ market at our fingertips

Wylde Market is an online home for artisan producers

Wylde Market: a farmers’ market at our fingertips

by Great British Chefs13 June 2024

Mussels from Devon, osso buco from Wiltshire and pasta from Belfast – we meet Wylde Market, an online home for UK’s leading independent producers which aims to revolutionise how we buy food.

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Wylde Market: a farmers’ market at our fingertips

Mussels from Devon, osso buco from Wiltshire and pasta from Belfast – we meet Wylde Market, an online home for UK’s leading independent producers which aims to revolutionise how we buy food.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

When Nick Jefferson and his family moved back to England from Spain, they expected to continue eating the fantastic seafood they’d become accustomed to on the continent. After all, living in a country surrounded by water should, Nick assumed, make that easy. But he soon discovered that wasn’t the case; in the UK, the majority of the seafood we catch is exported around the world (23% doesn’t even come ashore here, according to Seafish), while the bulk of what we eat is imported from other countries. That means getting hold of British seafood is more difficult than we might expect, a challenge encountered by both shoppers and the country’s top chefs (Masaki Sugisaki has spoken about his difficulties sourcing seafood when he first moved to the UK). It’s an issue which ties into a broader conversation – though most of us are keen to eat the fantastic produce we know is being grown and reared in the UK, accessing it in a realistic way isn’t always easy. It was a drive to bridge that gap, and make it easier for us to find the country’s finest fishermen, foragers and farmers, that first inspired Nick and co-founder Ella Cooper to create Wylde Market.

In a nutshell, Wylde Market is an online farmers’ market, an ever-changing platform dictated by what fishermen have caught and producers have made that week or, in some cases, day. It means we can, at the click of a button, fill the cupboards with fresh, seasonal food and drink from around the country, made by sustainable producers who set their own prices. It’s a dynamic model, and one that relies on constant communication and good relationships with its producers – Ella says she and Nick spent Wylde Market’s early days standing on the sides of quays, building fishermen’s trust and encouraging them to sign up. And though it focused on fish and seafood when it launched in 2022, today Wylde Market has much more to offer. ‘We realised we were able to source the best food in the country, straight from these micro, artisanal producers that couldn’t reach all their potential customers,’ Ella explains. ‘So many of us buy food online, but it’s not necessarily the best food or the best way of getting it. Wylde Market is not just for the producers, it’s for the planet too, and it’s also about giving customers the best food that you can get. It’s feeding our families in the most sustainable way.’ 

Wylde Market co-founders Ella Cooper and Nick Jefferson
The market is a home for artisan growers, farmers and fishermen around the country

Though what’s available fluctuates day to day, it stocks everything from the likes of miso from Aberdeenshire, mussels from Devon, kimchi from Kent and organic mushrooms from East Sussex, as well as sourdough, eggs, milk and much more. There’s a huge selection of fantastic meat, reared by farmers who put conservation and the environment at the forefront of their decisions; wild venison comes from Dartmoor, while organic pork is taken from Saddleback pigs in Gloucestershire’s East Leach and organic back bacon is made in Twickenham. There’s a mix of familiar buys like burgers, sausages and whole chickens with those which might be less so, like soppressata, hog’s pudding and fiocco. The market opens its digital doors at the weekend and stays open until Wednesday lunchtime, before orders are ferried across the country at the end of the week. There are daily highlights, fresh seafood released on Wednesdays and produce that stays on more permanently. 

With so much variety to pick from, Ella says there’s nothing to stop people from doing their weekly shops there. ‘You can of course come to us to buy a really special piece of meat,' Ella says, 'but also we often have mackerel for £2 or bacon for £5 – those everyday items, like natural yoghurt for breakfast or our fruit and vegetable offering.’ They are under no illusions that some produce is more expensive than what we might find in the supermarkets, but believe that between the quality, sustainability and fairness to its producers, it’s more than worth it. An everyday section on the market aims to prove how it can slot into our routines, bringing together everything from organic milk, cheddar, sourdough and bagels to apples, mushrooms, onions and potatoes.

It’s fair to say that Wylde Market is a unique concept. We all want to buy, cook and eat excellent produce, but convenience often wins out – time feels precious, and hopping from shop to shop to buy more consciously can be unrealistic when life gets busy. Bringing together producers from all over the country and giving them a shared platform aims to address that problem, giving us a much-needed alternative which not only prioritises quality, but creates a fairer system for the people responsible for what we eat and drink.

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