Thursday, October 25, 2007


Saturday will see the latest Brigg Farmers' Market in the town centre, from 9.30am until mid-afternoon, offering the chance to buy a wide range of produce straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
Some of us through this concept would be pretty short-lived in Brigg, given that the centuries-old general market is not exactly thriving. However, we have been proved wrong.
The monthly farmers' markets draw big numbers of folk to Brigg from a very wide area.
Although no figures are to hand, it's a fair bet some, perhaps many, of those who visit also pop in to one, or more, established Brigg shops while they are with us, or have a bite to eat, or a pint. It all helps the local economy.
But it's not just out-of-towners who frequent the farmers' markets. Brigg residents also visit in numbers to buy their Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, and other delicacies.
This reference to farming, and a glance at the latest Scunthorpe Telegraph Nostalgia magazine (now on sale), brought back happy memories of potato-picking days in the early 1970s.
Nostalgia carries an article from that period highlighting a shortage of potato-pickers in North Lincs during that period, particularly in the Isle of Axholme.
In Brigg, teenagers were picked up by Wrawby farmer Jack Day, or his sons, and rode in the back of a pick-up. (No-one ever suffered but 'health and safety' would outlaw it today, of course!)
We were taken to his fields, just outside the town, to pick the choice spuds. They went into hand-baskets and were then tipped into large wickerwork ones (presumably obtained second-hand from Grimsby, given the smell they had!).
The larger, and taller, boys were given the job of lifting the heavy wickerwork baskets into the trailer pulled by an old blue Fordson tractor, which then ferried them back to Tong's Farm, for storage.
Lifting the heavy baskets into the trailer needed to be done in a certain way, and not everyone could master it. It was not just a question of brute strength.
On very rare occasions we were allowed to steer the tractor along the field - you wouldn't call it driving. Just a case of trying to keep in a straight-ish line!
I think we got five bob an hour, back in about 1971/2, which wasn't bad going. The autumn 'season' might have lasted a month, perhaps less.
Girls and boys were in the picking teams; some took to it, some didn't.
For all who did it was very welcome money and paid for all the Christmas presents you needed to buy in the weeks ahead. Plus a few fireworks from Tierney's, in Wrawby Street.
On one of two occasions we also went to the other Day's farm - the one at Cadney. If memory serves me right, the land there made picking a bit more difficult than it was in Wrawby.
Anyone else out there remember their days 'picking' at Day's farm?

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