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A Day with a Rural Broker Part 3

From the farm, we then headed to Gisburn, a village that lies along the A59, one of the main routes across the Pennines. One of the largest buildings in the village is the Auction Mart, where sales of pigs, sheep and cattle take place three times a week. As I walked in, I was amazed at just how busy it was. The sights, smells, hustle and bustle hit me like a wall. The mart is a real tradition, a meeting place for farmers who would otherwise be geographically isolated on their hill farms.

There’s a real sense of community at places like this and I really picked up on it as I watched the way in which everyone had a smile or a hello for the broker, even though she was not (as yet) their broker. There was a real feeling of engagement, which I doubt non-rural brokers get to have with their clients and potential clients.

After watching and listening to a number of different auctions and not really being able to keep up with what was being said or the price it was sold for until it came up on the screen, we headed for lunch at the Gisburn Auction Mart Café, winner of the Britain’s Best Market Café award in 2003. The hub of the farming community, it’s regularly packed out with local farmers who start with breakfast, continue with lunch and then finish with tea and cake before they go home.

The scent of home-cooked food hit me, filling me with an anticipatory hunger. When the food arrived, I quickly realised that the café’s reputation was well earned. After what I can only describe as the biggest meal I have ever attempted to eat, followed up by a delicious jam roly-poly to fill up the gaps, it was time for us to move on to meet the broker’s potential client, and for me, an opportunity to see how “selling to farmers” actually works.

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