Author Archives: keithlp2011

March in the Witham

Writing on a cold, wet day in February and just a sleep from the third month of the year, already I’m feeling comforted by the prospect of a second farmers’ market held inside the Witham. This morning (while evacuating the bantams to forage free in the garden), the wind was cold enough to burn your face. Holding a mug of black tea, I watched rain turn to sleet and quickly decided shorts and wellingtons would not be appropriate on this day.

Back in the kitchen, eggs boiled, soldiers buttered, the children who booked fully inclusive, enjoyed the simple pleasures of a Sunday morning breakfast.

My style of cooking will always please more than impress. Based on simple, home cooked fare with few ingredients, sourced from local, quality produces including those found at the farmers’ market and independent traders on the high street, I seek the finer things by way of taste.

For example, take the leg of lamb purchased from Westholme Farm in Marwood, at last month’s market. Westholme Farm produce quality, locally reared beef and lamb. The end pleasure of such simple delicious roasts always include squashing second helpings of potatoes into congealing lamb fat and gravy. With the leftovers we enjoyed a light evening supper by way of tagine of lamb and apricots. Yes I am 15 stone.

Good food also has a strong way of shaping memories. Just like treading old paths they’re able to reduce complexities of life adding calm and peace.

So even if it doesn’t feel like it, spring is almost here bringing fresh flavours and the promise of new produce on our plates. Visit Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market this Saturday 7 March inside the Witham on the high street and prepare your larder.

It would be amiss of me not to mention the unit of a man who balances the fulcrum of the market at the top of the high street, to that of  I further downhill. Just William’s Seville Orange Marmalade received Gold at the World Marmalade Awards at Dalemain, Cumbria. His new bling gold labels and posh certificate will be on show in the Witham during the market. Go and give him a big Paddington Bear hug from me!


Just a quick note to say the Facebook page for Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market was suspended over the Chritsmas period for no apparent reason. We have sent a letterhead proving we are who we say we are, but still haven’t received a reply. This is directly affecting the sales and lively hood of our 34 stall holders.  If you have a Facebook page we would appreciate comments on your own page regarding this issue to support our cause.


Farmers Market inside the Witham Hall

The first farmers’ market of the year takes place Saturday 7 February inside the newly refurbished Witham Hall, Barnard Castle. Relax in the comfortable  Dispensary Café Bar for lunch or afternoon tea, as we tempt you with some of the finest, locally produced food and drink from across the region. It promises to be a wonderful day and a real feast for food lovers.


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.