A special market for loyal customers marked the 100th anniversary of Country Markets on July 19.

In Wilton’s buzzing community centre, visitors were treated to free coffee, tea and cake, with the usual wide range of fresh produce and home baked goods, arts and crafts. The market’s history began with the principles of using local produce to feed the nation following the ‘dig for victory’ campaigns during the Great Wars.

The idea snowballed and was taken up by the creation of Women’s Institute (WI) and WI markets which helped people sell their surplus produce to feed others and generate an income.

In 1995, the market separated from the WI and became Country Markets, run by volunteers, in its own right in 2004.

Country Market’s Treasurer Mike Wilson said that, over the years, the market had become more formal to meet modern rules and regulations, but they still worked with the same principles.

For many, the market serves two purposes.

“If the Wilton market shut down, people wouldn’t have anywhere to go on a Friday until one o’clock. Many people come for coffee and tea and use it as a meeting place,” he said.

The market organisers thanked their loyal customers for the invaluable support, which accounts for its continuing success.

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