Happy New Year


Happy New Year to our loyal customers at Barnard Castle Farmers Market. This year we intend to continue providing you with a superb selection of outstanding food and drink from the finest food producers in the North of England. We will endeavour to bring new exiting products onto the market and whenever possible invite guest stalls to attend with  new and fresh products.

The first market of the year will be on February 1st in the newly refurbished Witham Hall and we will have about 22 stalls in warm, comfortable surroundings with all the comforts the Witham can offer. From March 1st  onwards we will be back outside in whatever weather Teesdale can muster. Oh joy

Barnard Castle Farmers Market-December 2013

It’s the final farmers’ market of the year on Saturday 7 December. Last chance to stock-up on all your favorite goodies, including lots of special festive treats. If you can’t make it, be sure to check out our list of stallholders to order last minute goodies. Don’t forget, many of our stallholders will be attending Bowes Christmas Market on Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 December, 10-4. Not to be missed.


Christmas Taste of Teesdale – Raby Castle

For many people the idea of Christmas shopping means long queues, expensive parking, crowds of people and over-priced-uninspiring gifts. Taste of Teesdale offers something uniquely different when Raby Castle play host to this year’s Christmas Taste of Teesdale Market.

What better way to spend the day than in the beautiful grounds of Raby Castle. Following a hugely successful summer market, around 30 festive stalls will be back offering quality gifts, food and drink with the same quality assurance you would expect from a farmers’ market. It really is the perfect opportunity to find a combination of festive treats, with each stall holder specially chosen to offer something individual and unique.

For the Christmas table, you’ll find a wide range of cheeses, chutneys, fudge, preserves, seasonal veg, puddings, cakes, meat and game, not forgetting your chance to pick up your own Christmas tree from Raby Castle. With many items unavailable to purchase in the high street, it promises to be a bustling atmosphere in a Christmas wonderland and the perfect Christmas shopping experience!Entrance is free, and the event runs for two days from Saturday 30th November 10-4 to Sunday 1st December, 10.00am-4.00pm.


November farmers’ market in Barnard Castle

American poet William Bryant, described autumn as, ‘the year’s last, loveliest smile’, words which echo throughout kitchens of Britain, as autumn welcomes the arrival of comfort food. 

From casseroles, sticky puddings and roast partridge, to venison, tomato and apple chutney, the list is endless. No other nation celebrates autumn quite like the British. Our inspirational ingredients inspire creativity and passion and what’s more, the farmers’ markets offer an ideal way to explore autumn’s larder for foodies.

Visit England recently released figures exposing just what a foodie nation we’ve become. Statistics reveal 13 million day visits last year involved a trip to a food festival or farmers’ market, with, 26.2 million of us wanting to go to a food festival this year.

Autumn is without doubt the season of colour. I read somewhere, the more colourful the fruit and veg, the more they are packed with disease fighting phytochemicals. For example, pumpkins and squash are not only delicious, but loaded with antioxidants including numerous nutrients and fiber.

Another plentiful and sustainable addition to autumn’s menu is game, and I’m never sure why we don’t eat more. Game is a delicious and healthy alternative to many other red meats. A favorite dish is venison casserole, low in fat and cholesterol, venison from Deer & Dexter, is high in protein, low in saturated fatty acids, containing higher levels of iron than most red meats.

Pheasant and partridge also contain a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B(6) and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. That’s all comforting to know, but truth is, there’s nothing like a slow-cooked pheasant, from Durham Venison & Game, with wild mushrooms and hearty root vegetables to appreciate the true taste of autumn.

Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market is reconnecting consumers with their local producers, encouraging local trade, giving local consumers fresher, cheaper, and more accountable food.  We hope November’s market puts a lovely smile on your face too.



Apple Day at Barnard Castle Farmers Market



It’s Apple Day at Barnard Castle Farmers Market on Saturday 5th October. Enjoy some of the best seasonal food and drink while you search for as many apple themed products as you can on our stalls. Pick up a leaflet from any stall and the longest list of correct answers will win a luxury farmers’ market hamper filled with delicious goodies.

Raby Castle – Autumn Market

Don’t miss Raby Castle’s Autumn Market on Sunday 22nd September 11.00am-4.00pm Over 25 stalls of local food, craft and artisan producers. Demonstrations from local chefs and children’s entertainment. Live music & hog roast.
Castle open from 1.00pm – 4.30pm.

Admission to maket place and gardens: Adults £6.00
Concessions: £5.00
Children Free

September Farmers’ Market

With many school leavers heading off to college becoming independent for the first time from their parents, the link to healthy eating is often substituted by way of other non-essential requirements of college life.

Managing budgets can be notoriously tricky, especially for those leaving home for the first time. When our own daughter packed her bags to study in Scotland, the food-parcel quickly became a must have essential. Goodie bags filled from the farmers’ market would often travel north of the border by mail or weekend visits. Unsure as to how many flat mates we’re actually fed from dad’s pocket, I will say, they all ate well.

Bringing a farmers’ market into town is a great way of showing the link between the field and kitchen, and the amazing array of local produce on offer. During August, a busman’s holiday took the family to Edinburgh’s farmers’ market where we sampled some delicious, local produce, including Belhaven smoked salmon, smoked over oak shavings from whisky casks, eaten on a park bench with fresh baguettes (we couldn’t stop ourselves). The market was a fabulous festival of locally produced food, and in my opinion, equalled only by our own farmers’ market here in Barnard Castle.

Encouraging our own young children to be creative in the kitchen has become something of a summer success story. Although now back at school and with the final weeks of summer winding down, they can still be found stretching their culinary muscles as we attempt to make our own home-made baguettes with memories of a Scottish holiday and a visit to Bessy Beck to relive a summer’s day in Edinburgh. Dont’ miss our next market on the cobbles on Saturday 7th September.

Eat healthy-eat well!

Several years ago, I decided to abandon my battle with the bulge and except I’d be hanging up my man-kini for the very last time. Searching for excuses why I didn’t have time to ride that bloody bike around the village green or sit in the gym alongside bodies built on celery brought about a whole new way of eating and what’s more, feeling good.

Eating healthy is something we (the family) take serious and during July and August it all becomes too easy with summer’s endless variety of veggies and fruits. A stroll around last week’s Taste of Teesdale Festival at Raby Castle was a good example of how easily we can eat healthy and well.

A simple grilled sandwich included chicken from Knipey’s Free-range Chickens, large basil leaves, horseradish and one large slice of tomato from Bluebell Organics, sprinkled with a little sea-salt and balsamic dressing from Wildon Grange all of which went down a treat, and all of whom regularly attend Barnard Castle Farmers Market.

Finding salvation in the farmers’ markets not only means I can trace the origins of everything I purchase, but also eat seasonally and sensibly, discuss with producers how the food I put into my shopping basket is made, grown, pickled or baked.

Not owning a freezer, means we (the family) only purchase what we can eat, no waste in the shape of UFO’s (Unidentifiable Frozen Objects). We now walk at every given opportunity, including each day to school with the children – managing regular exercise into our routine. Determined to keep fit and eat well (on my own terms) means the pressure of the gym has long since gone along with the bloody bike on eBay and some of the bulge too. J

Long live the farmers’ market.

Crowds arrive for Taste of Teesdale

Raby Castle was the venue for the first ever Taste of Teesdale Festival held on 21 July 2013. Visitors packed the castle grounds to buy and sample some of the region’s best food and drink supported by local crafts, food demonstrations and farming displays many of whom sell regularly at Barnard Castle Farmers Market on the first Saturday of the month.

Event organisers Raby Castle and Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market were delighted with the turn out. Katrina Palmer began by saying, “The festival was carefully planned not only to include great food and drink, but also provide more children activities and workshops. How often do you get the chance to watch cheese and butter being made by local artisan food producers, let alone cook up your own mouth watering dishes. Watching the line of children cooking in the Kiddy Cook demonstrations was a personal highlight of the day.”

Local chef Andrew Rowbotham from the Crown in Mickleton (and helpers) cooked up a ‘ready-steady-cook’ demonstration from ingredients collected from various stall holders. Visitors were then invited to tuck-in as the delicious improvised dishes were served at the pass.

Farming displays included the Farmyard Flyer – a double decker bus filled with animals including, sheep, chickens and rabbits. Lucky Ducks also gave amazing displays of sheep dog, duck herding inside the purpose built carral. The indoor educational farming display was filled to the rafters as visitors enjoyed a host of activites including the chance to win a luxury Taste of Teesdale hamper.

“We’re already looking forward to next year’s event”, continued Katrina and I know from the positive feedback received during and after the event, we’ve begun what will prove to be an even bigger success next year.”

July farmers market



From rooftop terraces to riverside gardens, there are plenty of places to eat outdoors but why not enjoy some fresh air at one of region’s best al fresco restaurants… yes, your own humble garden!

In Italy, ‘al fresco’, roughly translates ‘in the fresh air’, referring to any activity taken outdoors. A similar French description would be ‘En Plein air’ and before I fool you into thinking I’m super-multilingual, I should point out the only phrase I remember from school is, Le plume de ma Tante est dans la jardin avec le cochon, n’est pas?’  translating into… ‘The pen of my aunt is in the garden with the pig, is not it?’, always a useful to have up your sleeve.

However, I digress before I even begin. For most of us ‘al fresco’ simply means dining outdoors. Just in case you missed it, last week was National Picnic Week, yet another national event on the food calendar that ended no sooner had it began. Not to be outdone, we (the family) have seized every opportunity to eat outdoors as though it was the last days of summer, and that includes breakfast too! Each new season offers unique tastes but July (the true start of summer) means we can create delicious summer dishes from locally produced ingredients to enjoy in the best al fresco restaurant in town, yes, our own back garden.

From the BBQ grill, to a picnic in the garden, a visit to Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market means you can stock up on regionally produced, seasonal food and drink, and what’s more, meet the people who, grow, rear, bake and prepare the ingredients. Producers will be more than happy to share outdoor eating recipes including, warm asparagus salads, smoked trout salads, BBQ kebabs, summer puddings and thirst quenching ideas. Prepare yourself for new experiences with food by following the seasons and not a shopping list. At the market you’ll also find a more rich and varied collection of fruit and vegetables, which will entice children to experience lots of interesting tastes, whilst learning about different fruit and vegetables.

Each new season brings its unique tastes and traditional recipes. Now that summer is finally here, more of us will be dining outdoors, enjoying great food with family and friends.

So if you hear a shout at the back gate, it might be me! Enjoy.