BARNARD Castle Farmers’ Market is hoping it will be third time lucky after being shortlisted for a national award.

The monthly market is a finalist for the third consecutive year in the Farmers’ Market of the Year Awards, run by the Farm Retail Association.

Barney was shortlisted in 2021 and 2022, but lost out to bigger markets both times. This time they are up against Abbey Leys, in Cheshire, and Marylebone in London.

Anne Bell, who has taken over as chairman of Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market, put together this year’s entry with new market manager Andrew Robson. She was delighted to hear the market had been shortlisted again and hopes it will be third time lucky.

She added: “We have to wait until March to find out the result, but it would be really nice to win as the market is celebrating 25 years next year.

“It’s the third time we have entered and it’s the third time we have been shortlisted as a finalist.”

She praised former market manager Carol Parker, who stepped down from the role this month, for all her work.

“Carol Parker has been really good with social media and if we want to attract a younger demographic, we are going to look at working with schools and younger people to expand our reach and that was part of what our entry was based on.”

She added: “Parking has also been an issue for the market and we are looking to see if there are any other organisations that we can use for visitor parking on the days that we operate.

“It would be lovely to win the award. The other two markets are bigger, commercial ones and they may be good, but this one is quite special.”

Emma Mosey, chairwoman of the Farm Retail Association, said: “Farm shops and farmers’ markets continue to be the nation’s retail beacons for sourcing fresh and nutritious produce with low food miles, from passionate and knowledgeable often family-run, independent businesses.

“It is right that we celebrate the crucial role that these invaluable food and drink retailers play at the heart of the communities they serve.

“Running throughout our finalists are inspiring stories of innovation, consistent quality produce and customer service excellence, terrific achievements and qualities that have been demonstrated during a challenging period for retailers amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.”

There are 21 finalists shortlisted for eight awards including farm shops, farm butchery, farm café/restaurants as well as pick your own farms.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 5, next year at an awards ceremony in Peterborough as part of the Farm Retail Association’s annual industry conference.