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Trapiche market - a firm fixture in the Axarquía diary

Anita Jordan (right) and her mum Diane administering the hand sanitiser at Trapiche market last Tuesday.
Anita Jordan (right) and her mum Diane administering the hand sanitiser at Trapiche market last Tuesday. / J. R.
  • Anita Jordan has been running the weekly event since 2007 when she started with 12 stalls. Before Covid she had up to around 70 regulars

The weekly Trapiche farmer's market has been a key fixture in the diary and highlight of the week in the Axarquía for longer than some expats can even remember.

Every Tuesday morning foreign and Spanish traders, companies and charities set up stall at the Jardines del Trapiche function rooms and gardens, knowing that they will attract a good crowd of regulars, tourists and second-home owners.

Anita Jordan has been running the market in Trapiche since 2007 and took over from her friend Linda Davis, who set up the first one in Cártama in 2002.

After problems in Cártama, successive alternatives were found in Puente Don Manuel and Periana. In 2007, Anita managed to agree with the owners of Jardines del Trapiche to hold the weekly event there.

Anita, 56, who has been in Spain for 19 years, confesses that she "never thought for one minute" that she would find herself running a market here.

When she's not organising that, she also cooks fish and chips on a Friday night and does the Sunday carvery at La Tavola restaurant in Coín. "I never imagined I'd be doing fish and chip suppers and a carvery either," she laughs, adding "I'm a vegetarian."

Like everywhere, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the market hard, with many stallholders worried about the virus and deciding not to have a stall for the time being.

Anita started with 12 stalls in 2007 and that soon became 18. By 2019 she explains that before Covid they could have up to 70. In terms of visitors, she admits that she has "no idea" how many people come through, but that "it's normally a lot".

Like other markets, it had to close for the first lockdown last spring and then in November it wasn't worth opening just for people from Vélez-Málaga. "We couldn't keep it going just for people from Vélez-Málaga. A lot of the stallholders and customers come from further afield. People come from all across the province," Anita explains.

Anita is confident things will pick up again though and explains that, for most traders, the market, which keeps going all year round (apart from the forced closures in 2020), is their livelihood. "I have had people begging me to keep it going since the start of Covid," she admits.

Anita has ensured that traders and customers alike adhere to Covid-19 protocols; everyone must wear a mask at all times and use hand sanitiser before they enter. She's even roped her mum, Diane, into coming along with her, putting her in charge of dispensing the hydroalcoholic gel at the gates.

There's an outdoor and indoor area, cafeteria and gardens, as well as ample parking.

"It's a friendly market and very international," says Anita, adding that among the current stall holders there are Britons, Germans, French, Italians, Irish and Peruvians. Customers, she says, come from all over Europe and beyond and, even on a cold January morning in the midst of a health pandemic, it's easy to identify a range of native English accents and European languages.

There are stalls selling everything from organic vegetables to books, secondhand and new clothes, prepared food, photography, art and crafts and natural cosmetics. Some of the local charities are regulars and insurance companies, estate agents and other businesses also attend.

Despite the early starts - she gets up at 4.30am and drives from her home in Cártama to be at Trapiche by 7.15 - Anita says she loves running the market "most of the time" and that it's worth keeping going despite the problems caused by Covid-19. "As long as people keep coming I will carry on," she concludes.