Barnard Castle Farmers' Market makes awards final for a second year
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
BARNARD Castle Farmers’ Market has been shortlisted for a national award for the second year running.
Organisers are hoping to go one better than last time when they were pipped to the title of Farmers’ Market of the Year by a collective of eight marts in Hampshire.
For the 2022 Farm Retail Awards, Barney is up against markets in Lavenham, Suffulk; Mosely, in Birmingham; and Stroud, Gloucestershire.
As part of the judging, a mystery shopper will visit the Barney market on Saturday, December 4.
Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market manager Carol Parker said all involved were delighted to have made the final four once again.
“Well done to our stallholders and everyone involved with the market – and thank you to our customers for your continued support,” she said.
“It’s been another challenging year for small businesses and sole traders and we are keen to continue to provide an outlet for our local producers.
“We were pleased with the feedback from last year and have worked hard to maintain diversity and choice for customers.
“Our initial submission was judged on passion, enthusiasm, and achievements, so it’s great to be recognised again this year.”
The Farmers’ Market of the Year is one of seven awards up for grabs, which range from the rising star prize to lifetime achievement category.
Others include large farm shop of the year (turnover over £1.5m); small farm shop of the year (turnover under £1.5m); farm café/restaurant of the year; and trade supplier member of the year.
Rob Copley, chairman of the Farm Retail Association (FRA), which organises the awards, said: “This could be our toughest awards yet.
“The calibre of entries is so high, this will certainly be a difficult one to judge. Good luck to all our finalists.”
The award winners will be unveiled at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 1, next year, which will be held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead as part of the FRA’s annual conference, Stronger Together 2022.
The ceremony will follow a day of behind-the-scenes retail tours at the North East’s best farm shops.
The conference day, Wednesday, March 2, will include workshops and guest speakers, including Jo Fairley, founder of Green & Blacks Chocolate, now a $100 million a year brand, and Anna Jones, a farmer’s daughter and journalist who has worked on BBC One’s Countryfile, Radio 4’s Farming Today and reported on agricultural issues for BBC News and the World Service.
l Saturday’s market will be a chance for stallholders and customers to bid a fond farewell to Rob and Margaret Stanbridge who are bringing their rare breed pork stall for the final time.
However, Mr Stanbridge will stay on as chairman of the market.