SHOULD permanent indoor food markets be established in our major cities? It seems a logical step, given the enduring presence of farmers’ markets and the popularity of various food events. Yet Scotland lags behind London, Europe and the US in having a covered central meeting point for the exchange of local produce in its most densely populated conurbations.

The subject has become a hot topic. Any time I express frustration at my local farmers’ market experience, it becomes abundantly clear that there’s a growing number for whom buying their five-a-day, once or twice a month in the wind and rain, just doesn’t do it.

Nor does the lack of flourish or innovation in many municipal markets. Glasgow, for example, still only has two regular twice-monthly farmers’ markets in the West End and at Queen’s Park on the south side, and both remain outdoor. The produce on sale is exceptional, but the actual experience can be pretty lacklustre.

And in terms of attracting new audiences – those from the more deprived areas in most need of access to affordable high quality food – there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive development strategy.

Edinburgh has developed an interesting network of vibrant markets from the original at Castle Terrace. There’s one every Saturday at the Grassmarket, every Sunday in Stockbridge, weekly at Leith Docks with a monthly emphasis on vegan, The Pitt street food market every Saturday, and a new street food market every Friday in Fountainbridge. There’s a sense that someone is in the driving seat, curating the city’s growing foodie community. Yet demand for a permanent indoor or covered location, like Belfast’s St George’s Market, or London’s Borough and Spitalfields, is growing.

Location, of course, is key. The idea is being trialled at the weekly Waverley Station market to qualified success. In Leith, the Biscuit Factory has become host to Edindoors food and crafts market, which will initially operate monthly with the potential to go weekly.

Over in the west, there’s progress – of sorts. Glasgow’s first-ever covered street food market, Big Feed, took place in a Govan warehouse at the weekend with the aim of becoming permanent. Echoing The Pitt, it is the brainchild of three of the city’s most progressive street food vendors – Ben and Josh Dantzic, founder of Burger Meats Bun and now of streetfood-putterclub; small-batch coffee roaster Charlie Mills; and gourmet hotdog outfit Firedog. They self-funded the inaugural event, with a second one at the end of this month already scheduled.

But a covered street food market isn’t the same as a covered fresh local produce market. One that serves all of its citizens while also becoming a lucrative tourist attraction.

As ever, though, location is key, and evidently that’s a major stumbling block for both cities.

Here’s a suggestion for Glasgow. The recently-announced boulevardisation of Sauchiehall Street, at the Charing Cross end close to the M8, includes the widening of pavements, the planting of trees and erection of covered outdoor eateries. Just saying.