Blog

One year on!

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the return of the farmners’ market after the very first lockdown in Spring 2020 and we’re delighted to not have missed one since. Yes, there have been some changes: our larger area around Hexham Abbey has been a real success and most of our producers now take card payments.

We’re deligthed to welcome back this week Mari and Geoff from Cumberland Mustard and Julie from Pure Plants. Northern Ark, Hexham Country Market and Tim Foxall will all be with us, as well as most of the rest of our wonderful prodcuers who have kept coming right throughout that past year.  We’ll also be bringing back music for the first time since late 2019!  Missing this week with be Bluebell Organics and Stonehouse Smokery, as they are both having a well-deserved break.

Now that the scaffolding around the abbey is all gone we’ll be using the area along the footpath to the Sele again and you’ll find four of our producers there.  You can find a full plan for the market here.

Charging for plastic bags

Today, 21 May 2021, the regulations around who needs to charge for plastic bags have changed, which means that if you ask for a plastic bags most of our producers will need to charge you a minimum of 10p per bags.   Hexham Farmers’ Market wholeheartedly supports this change as we really need to cut down of the use of single use plastic (and plastic in general) where we can.  Fortunately many of our customers already bring their own bags and containers and we strongly encourage you to continue to do so. The charge will also apply to biodegradable bags.

There are some exceptions like bags for uncooked meat, fish and poultry, vegetable ‘contaminated’ with soil and food in containers that nare not secure enough to prevent leakage while handling.  Our producers don’t have to charge for bags that have previously been used of for papert bags.

Take away message: bring your own bags and containers and if you do have to ask for a bag, please be prepared to pay the 10p charge.

You can for info about the plastic bag charge and the responsibilites here.

“Plastic Bag” by londonista_londonist is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Welcoming back old friends

We’re delighted to be wqelcoming back three old friends to the market on Saturday 8 May 2021. Carron Craighead from MiddleMay Lamb and Tim Foxall will be returning for the first time since Christmas last year and Simon from Northern Ark Nursery is back for the first time since autumn.  We’re delighted to have them back and we’re sure you will be too.

The scaffolding on the Market Place side of Hexham Abbey has now gone so the market will be suing that space a little more intensvely and as the market on Saturday 8 May will be the busiest since Christmas we have had to put the stalls a little closer together than we have done over recent months. However, we will have barriers between the stalls and we will have our volunteer stewards on hand to help manage any queues.

The market on the 8th is also the last one to benefit from the closure of Beaumont Street and Hallstile Bank.  We learned this week that all the road management measures will be lifted on 17 May, so from the market on the 22nd onwards we will have to be more careful with through traffic again.  We have really felt that the measures which have been in place since last summer, made the experience of this historic part of Hexham much more pleasant and the market has benefited from that those improvements. We’re sad to see them go.  However, if you  and your family have enjoyed being in the Market Place and surrounding area while the road has been closed and think that we could learn from this experience and improve the situation more permanently, please feel free to contact your newly re-elected County Councillors.

Lockdown Valentine’s Day

This year we’ve got the very first Valentine’s Day under a lockdown and on top of that there’s snow on the ground in Hexham.  Whatever the circumstances, we’re planning to be in Hexham on Saturday 13 February in perfect time to get the ingredients for a romantic meal in, or to buy and extra special gift for your loved one.

By getting products from Hexham Farmers’ Market you buy food and drink that doesn’t cost the earth, that’s not travelled all over the world and that builds a community. You pounds spent at the market will circulate round the economy of the North of England supporting the resilience of the area.   You can aslo talk to the people who prodcued your food and drink and build a real relationship.

Having said all that, we do still operate under COVID lockdown restrictions, so we encourage everyone to keep their distance, sanitise their hands regularly, to queue responsibly and to not socialise for too long.  We look forward to seeing you!

New Year- new lockdown

As we start 2021 we find ourselves in the third lockdown within a year which is likely to affect the way we all lead our lives at the moment.  The Government guidance allows essential food market stalls to continue so Hexham Farmers’ Market will continue with its exisiting measures which minimise the risk of COVID transmission:

  • Keep 2m distance between yourself, other customers and producers
  • Sanitise your hands frequently
  • Paid contactless if possible
  • Wear a face covering if possible

With this lockdown we are being asked to stay at home unless the journey is essential, so we would ask you also to:

  • Shop alone if you can
  • Not gather in groups or spend time chatting to friends
  • Order in advance if you can

Not all our producers can  handle pre-orders but those who do will be added to the list below:

  • Slackhouse Farm- Dairy from this list. Please pre-order by Thursday evening by emailing slackhouseorganicfarm (at) gmail.com
  • North Shore Catering- patisserie from this list. Please order and pre-pay by contacting Ellie on 07740 650353 or by email on e.armstrong (at) btinternet.com
  • Northumbria Preserves- Jams and chutneys. Order by emailing Brian on northumbriapreserves (at) gmail.com or by ringing him on 07903 321774
  • Hallsford Farm Produce- Beef, lamb, sausages etc. For range and orders see their website or ring 01228 577329
  • Ravensworth Grange- Middle White pork. Ring Ann on 07531 160935 or by email on annandhughie (at) gmail.com
  • Northumberland Honey does order online and pick up at the market via their website
  • Askerton Castle Estate- full range of pasture-fed beef and lamb, pork and chicken (when available). Detials on https://www.askertoncastle.co.uk/

Christmas at the time of Corona virus

This coming Saturday, 12 December, is the day that Hexham would normally host the popular Christmas Market, but you will not be surprised to learn that a market which sees cars queuing on the A69 to get into town and people thronging in the streets of Hexham is something that we cannot entertain this year.

However, we welcome your support  for local businesses both at the market and in Hexham itself, so we will have our usual farmers’ market this weekend, Saturday 12 December.  As has been the case since we reopened in June, stalls will be well spaced out and we’ll have volunteer stewards on hand to help manage any queues and remind people to stick with their social distancing. Many stallholders will be wearing their masks or other face coverings and many of our customers now also wear their mask when they come to shop.  The market will run between 9am and 1.30 pm, so our usual time.  Beaumont Street (from the Abbey Dental Clinic) and Market Street will be closed to most traffic while the market is on, so you will have plenty of space to keep your distance.  We’ll have stalls on the Market Place itself, around the Abbey and in the Abbey Car Park on Beaumont Street.  If you’re unsure about where to find any particular stallholder, please ask one of the stewards. You can also find a plan of the market on the 12th of December here.

I’m sure you hardly need reminding that all the independent shops in Hexham will welcome your custom at this important time of the year.  All our town centre shops have had a difficult year so your shopping pounds will be doubly welcome this Christmas.