Town pipped in national farmers' market awards
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
BARNARD Castle Farmers’ Market has been pipped for the top spot in a national competition.
However, organisers of the popular monthly event say taking part in the Farm Retail Association (FRA) Awards has been nothing but a positive experience. Barney was one of four entries to be shortlisted in the farmers’ market of the year category, coming runners-up to Hampshire Farmers' Market.
Judges said the winner “really does tick all the boxes”.
They said: “With strong management, the market offers a good range of stalls and products amid a good set-up.”
Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market manager Carol Parker congratulated the winners – a collective of eight individual markets – but was proud of the town’s efforts.
“Taking part in the FRA awards has been a very positive experience,” she said.
“The decision to enter was taken at the last minute after our November market, when customers and stallholders alike continued to give great feedback about the market, giving producers a vital route to market, giving shoppers an outdoor experience where they felt safer than being in a shop and giving them the chance to support small local businesses.
“The awards process gave us a chance to reflect on the challenges of 2020 and think about how the monthly market has given everyone something to look forward to.
“The award nomination asked us what we were proud of, and we focused on our resilience, our mix of long standing stalls with very new producers, and the variety of produce we have maintained through proactively seeking new stall holders.”
She added: “The publicity as a finalist has helped us promote the market and we have had a threefold increase in requests for new stalls.
“We also used the FRA request for a two minute video showcasing the market to engage with our younger local community, and we were delighted with the video created by Alice Redfearn, from TCR Hub.”
The video can be viewed on the market website www. barnardcastlefarmersmarket .co.uk.
Meanwhile, one positive spin-off from Barney’s involvement in the awards was the recruitment of another stallholder – Brian Twigg, who runs Pie Demand, in Cumbria – who attended his first market this month.
Mr Twigg said it was Barney’s good reputation which had attracted him.
“It’s a well-supported traditional market.
“I know some of the other traders here and we do talk among ourselves.”
His visit coincided with National Pie Week and his savoury treats proved an instant hit as he sold out by early afternoon.