There are three main markets around Edinburgh: Leith, Grassmarket and Stockbridge. All three are run by the wonderful husband and wife duo, Beth Berry and Jean Francois Toulouze, or Jeff as he is fondly known.
Beth and Jeff have years of background experience between them: Jeff was a street trader in Edinburgh for 25 years and Beth worked with business analysis and database design. Together they are a perfect team with the ambition and experience to run these three fantastic markets.
The Stockbridge market was first launched September 2011. Beth and Jeff chose this beautiful square for the first launch because they loved the little village; it had the right feel to it. Sitting right beside the water of Leith, Jubilee Gardens are perfect and quaint. Beth and Jeff both feel that ambience is very important. All three of the markets are either beside the water or have trees surrounding the market: each spot is unique and in a lovely part of town. Grassmarket was the next location they chose and it was launched in 2013. Leith market followed a few years later in July 2016, and all three have since been staple favourites throughout the city on the weekend. Leith and Grassmarket are open every Saturday all year round from 10am to 4pm – Grassmarket closes at 5pm – while Stockbridge is open on Sundays 10am to 4pm.
The markets boast a variety of food stalls such as French crepes, Tanzanian food, Spanish paella or Kaori Simpson’s stall – the precursor to Harajuku Kitchen. There are also food produce stalls where you can buy meat, fresh bread, fruit and vegetables, baked goods, cheeses and many more. There are also handmade jewellery stalls, local artists, handmade soaps. There is something for everyone to enjoy an alfresco lunch and cruise the stalls to either cook up something later or look for a sweet gift for a friend or family.
They say a motto of the market is ‘eat, meet, greet or treat’. This is easy to see why when you arrive.
While Beth and Jeff are still involved with the markets, the day to day running is handled by Sara Roseburgh and her partner Chris Harkess. Another couple with background experience, Sara has been with the markets since 2015 and Chris joined in 2019 with mechanic experience. The rest of the team work part-time on the weekends and are a crucial addition with their range of experiences to help things run smoothly.
The aim of the markets is to promote local independent businesses among communities and help bring locals together to meet each other. Although the majority of shoppers in the markets are locals, they also attract tourists with their pretty locations and wonderful, fresh produce. The markets are open all year round to ensure that more people are shopping local and businesses are supported throughout the year.
A lot of the stall owners have gone on to open shops, but they still like to attend the market; others are just starting on their self-employment journey. If you have a local business in which you make, cook or produce the products and you think could fit in at the markets, click here to become a trader.
Beth and Jeff also run a special event in April every year in Leith, although they haven’t been able to since the first lockdown, but they will be hosting it again as soon as possible. As part of their ‘Celebration of all things Leith’, the market is bigger than usual with 49 stalls. The Leith Custom House opened their building for the day at the last event, and the market team organised with local businesses to be part of the celebration, including the Edinburgh Tool Library, The Atelier of Fine Art, William and Johnson coffee and more. Project 42 made an appearance with various activities throughout the day such as yoga and pilates. The team are excited to once again bring in this event to celebrate the bustling, thriving community of Leith.
For those interested in supporting local businesses, the markets at Leith, Grassmarket and Stockbridge are a great place to go to get some good food, enjoy the ambience and relish in what the local businesses of Edinburgh have to offer.
Leith, Saturdays, 10am - 4pm.
Grassmarket, Saturday 10am - 5pm
Stockbridge, Sundays 10am to 4pm.