A new Community and Farmers’ Market opens at 1pm on Friday week at the West Oxford Community centre, off Botley Road, thanks to the enterprising Caroline Casey, who is determined to stage an event that fulfils the need of another local community.

For more than a year Caroline has driven past the centre on her way into Oxford from Witney. Gradually, she began to see it as a really splendid venue for a market, as it offers both a large hall and space outside for traders to set up stalls. As the site includes a well-equipped children’s playground and a delightful little café, she is confident that all the basics are in place. Now all she needs are plenty of producers prepared to sell their products and food enthusiasts that are keen to buy local.

Caroline has been involved in catering all her working life and once became a market trader herself, selling delicious home-made soups. She loved the challenge of trading directly to the public and the buzz that community markets generate. Hence her decision to try to set up one in the Botley/Osney area.

She has managed to book the community centre for the first Friday every month, and has already managed to sign up more than 20 producers, confident that there will be even more by the time the market opens.

Caroline said: “The East Oxford Community market has already proved popular, and was even short-listed for the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme awards. The Botley area is crying out for a similar market; it’s up to me to make it work.”

Jeanette Howse is helping Caroline get the market established. The two got to know each other at Wolvercote Farmers’ Market. She said that they often shared produce. “Caroline makes syrups and vinegars and I use her pulp to make chutneys.”

Jeanette began making jam when she was seven. She said that in her youth she used to go blackberrying and her mum would make apple and blackberry pie. But she could never manage to make jam, so Jeanette used to make it instead.

She said: “It was only a year ago that I discovered why her jam wouldn’t set. Mum constantly stirred the pot of bubbling jam which stopped the mix boiling and thickening.

“When I was older, I started making jams and chutneys for sale at the Didcot Railway Centre, where I ran the catering as a volunteer, using fruit that grew on the site. John Thaw was one of my first customers, as he was filming Morse there at the time, and liked to take home home-made jams such as blackberry and apple for his wife Sheila.

“Then, as a member of Didcot Chamber of Commerce, I organised a Christmas event, and began selling my jams and chutneys at craft fairs.”

Jeanette helped organise the first farmers’ market in Didcot and things have gone on from there, which means she is well qualified to help Caroline get the West Oxford market under way.

The community centre café was taken over by 30-year-old Ailsa Youngson a month ago. It had always been her dream to run her own café, which she now opens six days a week, serving drinks and treats like slices of hot toast smothered with butter and honey, created from bread she makes herself There is also a delightful assortment of home-made cakes. She also serves light lunches. Teas are available in the afternoon.

Naturally she is delighted to discover that on the first Friday of every month she may get extra customers and is already planning a market menu composed of dishes she has cooked herself.

Certainly the café will be worth a visit if you are tempted to attend the first market on Friday, May 4.

Among the produce at the new market you will find freshly-baked bread, cakes, and savouries prepared by Cuisine Bread, Witney, who also bake amazing speciality cakes to order.

Jeanette will be selling her delicious pickles and jams at the market, which are simply amazing. You will never find jams like hers in the supermarkets — they are unique and made from the purest local ingredients.

The Oxford Delhi will be there, too, selling their contemporary interpretation of authentic Moghul cuisine which is made (where possible) with organic ingredients and without artificial colouring, preservatives or GM ingredients.

Mayfield eggs, laid by happy hens roaming free in green fields at New Yatt, will also be on sale, besides stalls with vegetables, and displays by other traders.