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Britain boasts around 550 annual food markets held regularly throughout the year. That’s about 9500 food market days a year giving us access to the best local seasonal fresh British produce.
But what makes a proper farmers market?
- Everything on sale is grown, reared or processed by the stallholders themselves
- The stall must be run by the farmer, grower or processor (or members of their team) so they can answer your questions
- The distance a stall-holder can travel is restricted – usually to no more than 50 miles or within the county
Why shop at a farmers market?
- Farmers markets allow farmers, growers and producers to sell direct
- Farmers markets bridge the gap between community and countryside
- Farmers markets support the local economy
- By cutting out the middleman, the food supply chain is shortened
- By reducing the distance the produce travels, food miles are saved
- By buying fresh and direct, packaging is kept to a minimum and your carbon footprint lightened
- Produce is seasonal and always fresh
- Buying from a farmers market allows you to build your relationship with your supplier, so you can shop with confidence
Look out for seasonal fare in the coming weeks at your local farmers market. With lots of lovely root veg about get stuck into soups and casseroles and make the most of pumpkins, beetroot, potatoes, parsnips and turnips. Brussels sprouts are already making an appearance on shop shelves, and butternut squash, celeriac and wild mushrooms are all at their best. As it is game season it’s a good time to try rabbit, venison or wood pigeon if you haven’t already! Seafood is particularly plentiful this time of year so look out for clams, cod, crab, oysters, plaice, pollack, squid, turbot, winkles and a host of other delectable and healthy sea treasures. Visit Eatseasonably.co.uk and eattheseasons.co.uk for more information on making the most of seasonal British produce.
This page lists just some of the markets regularly held throughout the North West. More information can be found at www.visitlancashire.com; also try www.thoroughlyfood.co.uk for lots of information on local producers and much more.
Hoghton Tower Farmers Market
Every third Sunday in the month Hoghton Tower hosts its renowned local producers’ market regularly featuring over 50 stalls representing the county’s finest produce. Delicious cheeses chutneys, fresh meat and baked goods are all available, as well as hot black peas and hogs roast to warm you up on fresh autumn days. There are a myriad of fruit and veg stalls mingling with various stalls including a delectable chocolate stand – perfect for gifts and for Christmas – a plant seller, biscuit makers (sweet and savoury), pies and fudge stalls. The backdrop of Hoghton Tower, with its’ sprawling views of the lush Lancashire countryside, make this a particularly worthwhile location to visit and enjoy the county’s produce. Takes place from 11am to 4pm. Plenty of parking is available on site for £1. Admission is free.
Hoghton, Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0SH. Tel: 01254 852986
Rossendale Farmers’ & Local Produce Market
The first Sunday of every month – 30 stalls selling fresh local produce including: locally reared meat, chicken and award-winning ostrich meat, chutneys and preserves, and fresh vegetables; as well as an array of tantalising treats from speciality coffees to handcrafted chocolates. The products offer great value for money and you can chat to producers about their produce. Admission and parking are free. Open 9.30am – 2.00pm. For more information call 01706 212296. Location: Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Holcombe Road, Helmshore, Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4 4NP.
Farmers Market and Craft Fair – Barrowford
This Farmers Market and Craft Fair takes place on the second Sunday of each month and combines a delicious display of the county’s finest produce with authentic art and craft stalls. Held in the Park Hill Barn and the Cobbled Courtyard 10.00am – 2.00pm. For further information please contact Pendle Heritage Centre on 01282 677150. Location: Pendle Heritage Centre, Colne Road, Barrowford, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 6JQ.
Takes place on the second and fourth Friday and Saturday of every month. The ‘Real Food Market’ features: locally sourced fresh meat and poultry and the farmers themselves are on hand to answer any questions regarding the products they are selling. The market brings together farmers from across the North West, selling a whole host of fresh produce. Support your local producers and pick up everything from jams, honey, and bread, to a vast range of cheeses and dairy products, herbs, spices, chutneys, specialist ales and fine English wines and liqueurs. The market is in the centre of Manchester. Open: 10.00am – 6.00pm. Piccadilly gardens, central Manchester; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now in its 13th year the Alderley Edge Farmers Market has become a tradition in the unique village. Held on a Sunday, it is ideal for finding all the ingredients to cook the perfect Sunday Lunch. Open: second Sunday of the month, 10am – 2pm. Location: Festival Hall, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7JT. Tel: 01625 251 753
Ashton-under-Lyne Farmers Market
Last Saturday of the month, 9am-3pm. Look out for local Lancashire cheeses.
Location: Ashton Market Ground, Farmers Market, Bow Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. Tel: 0161 342 3268
Bolton Farmers Market
Bolton holds a monthly Local Producers market on the fourth Sunday of every month in Victoria Square under the façade of the impressive Town Hall. Local farmers and producers of foods and crafts bring the very best produce direct to the public, right in the heart of Bolton. There are plenty of café’s around the square to provide sustenance, and local shopping available. Open: fourth Sunday of the month, 10am – 2pm. Location: Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1RJ. Tel: 01204 336824. www.bolton.gov.uk/website/visitors
Bramhall Farmers Market
Features 25-30 stalls selling local Cheshire meat, veg, eggs and dairy, as well as jewellery and crafts. Open: third Sunday of the month, 9am to 1pm. Location: Bramhall Village Club, Lumb Lane, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 1LR. Tel: 01625 251 753
Brampton Farmers Market
A small but varied market, selling only the freshest local Cumbrian produce. Open: last Saturday of the month, 9.30am – 1.30pm. Location: by Moot Hall, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 1RW. Tel: 01539 732 736. www.golakes.co.uk
Chester Farmers Market at the Chester Fields
Features fine local produce – from Chorlton Cheese to new rare breed Longhorn beef from cattle used for conservation grazing by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Held on the third Saturday of every month.
Congleton Farmers Market
First and third Tuesday of the month; 9am-2pm, presenting fine Cheshire produce.
Location: The Bridgestones Centre, Princess Street (near to Safeway), Congleton, Cheshire, CW12 1YJ. Tel: 07739 529 225
Nantwich Farmers Market
One of the larger markets in Cheshire – look out for local cheeses in particular. Takes place on the last Saturday of the month (except December, when it takes place on the Saturday before Christmas); from 9am-3pm. Nantwich Town Square, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 5DG. Tel: 01270 537 805. www.tastecheshire.com/events-and-festivals/nantwich-farmers-market
Ribchester Farmers Market
Over 20 stalls offering local and regional produce, on the second Saturday of each month, from 10am-2pm. Location: Sports and Social Club, Church Street, Ribchester, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 3YE.
Turton Tower Farmers Market
The market takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month, 10am-5pm, except for December and January. Award winning organic and locally produced vegetables and meat, handmade chocolates, cakes and jams- plus a stall from the Friends of Turton Tower.
Tower Drive, Turton, Bolton, Lancashire, BL7 0HG. Tel: 07551 794 283
If you know of any markets not on the list that are really worth a mention please contact email@example.com and I will do my best to feature them here. Likewise, if any of these stop running please let me know and I can update the list – it can be hard to keep track of the ever-changing food scene so any help is appreciated!