Customers and producers at Hexham Farmers’ Market celebrate the market’s 20th anniversary on Saturday 28 September with music, a full set of producers and, of course, cake!
The market which is one of the oldest in the region, was started by a few local producers who were looking for new ways of connecting direct with consumers. It allowed them to talk to their customers about the way they farm, how their products are produced and to make it easier for people to buy local. Hexham Farmers’ Market has maintained that ethos and still all producers are from within about 50 miles of Hexham, they make the produce they sell and there will always be someone on the stall who can talk with knowledge and expertise about the produce on sale. Two important arguments for shopping at Hexham Farmers’ Market were, and continue to be, that by having a direct connection with producers, customers have access to food they can trust, and shopping at a farmers’ market puts money direct into the local economy. In recent years the issue of climate change and the nature emergency have been added to concerns and farmers’ markets play a role in that too. Carbon emissions associated with both producion and transport of food at the market are much reduced.
At this Saturday’s farmers’ market there will be a full complement of the current producers, some of whom have been coming for all of those 20 years. Two of the very first group of producers, Hexham Country Markets (who started off as the Farmers’ Wives) and Cumberland Mustard, still regularly attend and at least half of the producers have been coming for more than 10 years.
Louise English of Hexham Country Markets, and Director of Hexham Farmers’ Market Ltd said: Things have changed quite a lot since those very early days. We started at the Hexham Mart and were there for about two years before we relocated to the Market Place. At that time the County Council would put up the stalls but we’ve been using our own stalls and gazebos for a few years now. I’m delighted the market has continued to thrive.’
Hexham Farmers’ Market will celebrate with performances from young musicians Samantha and Emma Bull from Byrness, and from members of the Tynedale Community Choir. The arriversary cake will be cut at about 11.45 and shared with customers and producers.
To celebrate Hexham Farmers’ Market has also created a special calendar for 2020 with images from a very wide range of producers at the market and giving all the farmers’ market dates for next year. The calendar will be on sale from the first market in October onwards.
Peter Samsom, the market manager since 2009 said: ‘Hexham Farmers Market is a very special community of local producers and loyal customers who care about their food, where it comes from, how it’s produced and what goes into it. We have an amazing group of loyal customers who turn up in good weather and bad and I’m pleased to say that people have become friends over those years. We very much look forward to coninuing to be here for many years to come.’