First farmers’ market in 2015

Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market  will be held inside the Witham during February and March, first Saturday of the month, normal time of 9.30-3pm. 

Merry Christmas

Stall holders and volunteers from Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market wish all our customers a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. We look forward to seeing you all again indoors in February. Also please note our Facebook page is down, so please visit the website for news and information.

Christmas Mini Markets at Raby Castle

Taste of Teesdale Christmas Market at Raby Castle


Don’t miss Taste of Teesdale’s Christmas Market at Raby Castle, Sunday 30th November. Held in the magnificent grounds of Raby Castle, Taste of Teesdale offers the very best food, drink and craft ideas from around the region.

Delicious autumn

While birds consult their migrations and trees present intensified hues filtered through a lemony light of November sun – almost warm… but not quite. Now is the time to indulge in all things good.

A shrewd move is to befriend any acquaintance owning fruit trees. At this time of year, pears and apples are a treat and our larder testifies to a careful selection of folk with orchards. Include Just William, who on a balmy day in October patrolled his fruit trees in agitated silence. Watching, from a safe distance whilst sipping tea from a vintage mug, I observed flecks of russet, jupiter and pippin beginning to disappear. A voice suddenly boomed from within the boughs, “do you ever move?” yelled William, cupping his hands in an unnecessary attempt to amplify his voice. Considering this a rhetorical question I sank deeper into my chair.

Whilst on the note of apples I would like to congratulate the lucky winner of October’s Apple-day market who took home a luxury hamper by way of our kind benefactors.

Along with fruit, autumn also delivers an abundance of rich game meats complemented by hearty root vegetables.  Squash in particular are both satisfying and warming. Consider, soup, risotto, pie, pasta or simply roasted.

Venison with its rich, lean composition has a flavour reminiscent of beef and makes regular appearances at our dinner table. It’s November so I’m duty bound to mention bangers?  Also include the deep, rich flavours of game birds, roast partridge and pheasant wrapped in bacon and you have every reason to make a visit to Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market a must for November 1st. Stalls will be awash with the delicious tastes and smells of autumn. We start and 9.30am and finish at 3.00pm

Apple Day at Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market

Think how fruit has changed our modern language when you consider the number of companies and brands (especially in the technology industry) adopting names of fruit. BlackBerry, Orange, Raspberry, Cherry Corporation even a Papaya Studio. Now being the time for harvesting apples, I feel it only appropriate to write this column on my Apple?

This links nicely to the topic of this month’s farmers’ market in Barnard Castle. Perched high on our promontory above the Tees and the walls of an ancient castle, our historic market town puts on a fabulous show to celebrate Apple Day.

True to tradition, the farmers’ market will be holding our own Apple-Day Treasure Hunt with the chance to win a fabulous autumn hamper. Let the children loose this Saturday to search for as many varieties of apples they can find hidden in our stalls. It’s free to enter, simply pick up a form from Just William’s Hedgerow Preserves and start collecting those apples.

Plus, bring your senses alive as we offer you the opportunity to buy, taste and take home a variety of locally sourced delicious food and drink. From game to gammon, from cakes to curry. Our market provides some of the most diverse assortment of food and drink anywhere in the north.

The market opens at 9.30 and runs until 3.00. The winner of the hamper will be drawn from the hat at 2.00. Good luck and happy Apple-Day.

September-Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market

In readiness for the children’s first day back at school (and looking to lift the gloom), I pondered how summer continues throughout September due to the equinox falling on the 21st or 22nd of the month with many evenings of cricket on the green, lifting our mood during an Indian Summer. To make the best of this abundant harvest time I suggested we grasp the opportunity to make the most of our last weekend by foraging for wild blackberries, food often being a temporary cure for growing boy-blues.

While our scratches and clicked shirts were rewarded with an ample amount of wild blackberries, my tummy rumblings were also leaning towards September’s rich harvest of juicy plums, apples, and damsons. As the weather starts to cool, the game season also comes into its own adding richer autumnal flavours to the menu making it am ideal time to visit the farmers’ market in Barnard Castle.

This month will be one of our largest ever with abundance of locally produced food and drink. Also making its first appearance from the kitchen of Nobia will be curried goat, African sauces and limogee.

This has also been a great year for Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market with many new customers discovering the joys of purchasing from the producer themselves. It has therefor come as no surprise that the market has collected a record haul of awards at the one of the most prestigious food awards in the world.

The Great Taste Awards are the “Oscars’ of the food world” and are judged purely on the product itself, disregarding packaging and presentation. This results in a level playing field where the product is allowed to compete whether from a large multinational or a small kitchen company.

We are therefore delighted to have had five of our producer’s collect a total of 9 Gold’s for their exceptional products. Burtree Puddings and Wildon Grange have won 3 One Star Gold’s each. Just Williams has a 1 One Star Gold. The Honey B Co and Leaside Cheese makers have won Two Star Gold each.

Space limits the opportunity for me to tell you more, so why not join us for our next Farmers Market on Saturday September the 6th and help celebrate our awards and many, other mouth-watering goodies, including award winners from previous years. We are open from 9.30 till 3 pm but most of us are ready and trading by 9‘ish. Barnard Castle is a jewel of a town and the gateway to upper Teesdale making it a perfect destination for a full day out.

Weather holds as crowds flock to Taste of Teesdale Festival

The Taste of Teesdale Festival in the grounds of the magnificent Raby Castle, became a shop window for the area’s abundance of fine food, drink on Sunday 20th July. Visitors were able to meet local producers and engage in demonstrations on making bread, cheese and jam, even landscape photography. For those able to tear themselves away from the demos, there were lots tasters, and opportunities for lunch from venison burgers to curry, from hot samosas to traditional teas provided by the Raby Castle tearoom, not forgetting the ever-popular man crèche.

Inside the stables, local crafts included walking stick making, wood turning, children’s crafts, felt making and our very own potter’s wheel. By midday crowds were enjoying entertainment provided by the Farmyard Flyer, a double-decker bus containing, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens. Children also enjoyed horse riding, while dog training and duck racing took center stage in a specially created coral.

The event now in its second year was professionally managed by Raby Castle and the team from Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market. To end the day, Tracy Chappell from Bishop Auckland picked up the luxury hamper in the free to entre prize draw.

Taste of Teesdale

One of the North’s most iconic and picturesque venues is home to this year’s Taste of Teesdale Festival. Located on route to the romantic market town of Barnard Castle, and situated outside the beautiful village of Staindrop, Raby Castle tapping at the hills of Teesdale, and in shadow of the beautiful rolling moors of Weardale is steeped in history, atmosphere and charm.

Positioned in a noble sweeping landscape of white washed buildings between two mighty rivers, the Tees and Wear, Raby Castle is unquestionably a gem within a cluster of precious stones. It’s therefore only fitting that some of the finest artisan food; drink and crafts will make it their home for the festival on Sunday 20th July.

The event now in its second year, is a magnet for food lovers. This year’s festival is no exception. Here is not your ordinary fayre, as a quick peep into the larder reveals Christine’s delicious pork sausage. I can testify without too much interference in the cooking, (by which I refer to pricking), that when the fat accumulates, sizzling and bubbling, once sliced the drama unfolds like a burst mains pipe.

Also on the menu is Teesdale Blue? This award winning cheese with its delicate marbling and light creamy composition is a joyous thing. My perfect scenario would be a warm evening in the garden with a cool glass of Sauvignon blanc and a doorstop wedge of Teesdale Blue. I don’t use a knife, preferring instead to press the cheese onto Sue’s bread with a fork, closing my eyes to savor the after taste when the cream and crunch are washed with the tangy-you know!

Alas, there isn’t enough space within these pages to wax lyrical on the full delights of this year’s festival, which also include, award winning puddings and pies. Homemade preserves, local honey, fish, bread, fudge, ginger wine and lots more.

I should end by saying the £6 entrance fee per vehicle also offers access to the wonderful hidden gardens of Raby, allowing you to extend your visit to a full day. Entertainment includes, the Farmyard Flyer, a double decker animal experience. Duck racing, dog training, Kids Craft, not forgetting the ever popular man crèche ( don’t forget to come back to collect your man).  Gates open at 10.00 and close at 4.00.

A footnote for visitors travelling on Sunday, The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines bike race will not affect the road between Barnard Castle and Staindrop. For full details of road closures please follow the link.



Here comes the sun, here comes the sun.


Shakespeare wrote, “Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. Apply the same sentiment to seasonal food and behold a July market with an abundance of early summer delights.

Yesterday I was chatting to Just William’s Hedgerow Preserves, interrupting his gathering of wild gooseberries and elderflowers. “It looks set to be a bumper season”, said William rolling up his sleeves in readiness to patrol his fruit trees. We stepped from the cool calm of the kitchen into a sun blazed immaculately kept orchard. I followed William’s loosely written path through the tall grass shouldered on either side by a maze of wild fruit bushes and trees. Somewhere above, a skylark trilled. William removed his straw boater and stared up into the sky. “Did you know, the most popular period for preserving jam was during the war” he said, wiping his brow with a worn neck chef. “Over 12 million pounds of fruit in 1940 and 1945 that might otherwise have been wasted providing food for the nation?” added William. I replied weakly, “I had no idea!” “Of course you didn’t” William snorted.

We continued walking and talking, passing wild clematis smoked up behind hedgerows, honeysuckle massed with colour and evening perfume. “How’s that patch of yours coming along?” asked William. I explained once again, how my inclusive botanical vision appreciates both weeds as well as wild flowers. William could only snigger.

We wandered through the orchard discussing Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market and all the good things, which lay in store. “Every season brings its unique tastes”, said William. “Our July market always feels a little special, people are thinking alfresco, food being one of the most important parts of the weekend. A cool breeze good food and drink is all you need to make a hot, day just about perfect.

We said our farewells, and as I drove home, I couldn’t help but think about that missing punnet of gooseberries William would be searching for in the morning.

Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market will be held on the cobbles, Saturday 5th July 9.30am-3.00pm.