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.




Cotherstone Farmers Market 29th June 2013


Make a note in your diary to visit Cotherstone Farmers’ Market on 29 June 2013 in the village hall. As part of the Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market Roadshow, our aim is to bring locally produced food and drink closer to your own doorstep by visiting communities around Teesdale. Lookout for special stall-holder food talks on the day.

Taste of Teesdale 21 July 2013

Taste of Teesdale held in the magnificent grounds of the Raby Castle, promises a great day out for the whole family with lots to see and do, not to mention over 40 stalls offering some of the finest regional food, drink and crafts.

Taste of Teesdale offers something different from traditional food festivals – where else would you find ducks being herded by a sheepdog, or cooking demonstrations designed to get children involved. The entire event is based around the family with something for everyone.

Step aboard ‘Farmyard Flyer’ a specially adapted educational double decker bus with large animals on the lower deck and smaller animals above. Children can interact with friendly, tactile animals creating an enjoyable and unique experience. Durham Wildlife Trust and the RSPB will be in the grounds with lots of information on how to join too!

Food and farming displays will take place throughout the day including a butter making demonstration, honey and bees, hand-made walking sticks and a special display by Bluebell Organics on the importance of growing organically, including Barnard Castle’s ‘Veg-Out’ project. Leaside Cheese will be presenting a special cheese making demonstration, while Kiddy Cook will be getting the children involved in the fun Food Train, collecting local ingredients from stallholders for cooking demonstrations

If hand-pulled traditional beer’s your thing, Darwin Brewery will be in the tent selling cask ales and specialist bottled beers. Local chef, Andrew Rowbotham from The Crown at Mickleton will be giving a master class in butchery, while Love Food will host a food lovers cookery demonstration.

There will be lots of hot food to keep you going from Traditional Hog Roast, Burgers & Bangers from Deer & Dexter, hot kipper buns from Swallow Fish and delicious ready to eat samosas from Asharum, not forgetting Raby Castle’s own relaxing tearooms serving delicious hot and cold food.


We hope you can join us

June farmers’ market in Barnard Castle

June farmers’ market promises a fantastic array of food stalls selling everything from fresh bread, fudge, jams, vegetables and chutneys to more diverse fayre including Dexter beef, smoked trout, fresh coffee beans, ginger wine and Oxford Sandy & Black Pigs reared in the heart of beautiful Teesdale, We have frequent roadshows touring the dale villages including our next event at Cotherstone Village Hall on Saturday 29 June.

Our farmers’ markets and roadshows offer direct contact and feedback between customers and producers, so you can be confident how the food and drink you buy is produced. Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market also encourages local economic development by increasing employment, encouraging consumers to support local business, and keeping money within the local community. Ticks all the right boxes for everyone.

Every Barnard Castle Farmers Market is a Food Festival

At long last, a drift of white on a hill side is more lightly to be Blackthorn blossom rather than the pestilent snow.

Whilst tending my orchard and I have noticed a rapid; oh, all right, a steady surge of new growth on all of my fruit. Spring may be weeks late but I fancy that with a bit more warmth everything we cherish will be back on track for a bumper year. All of the fruit trees and bushes will be brim full of pent up energy, not having produced a harvest last year, so let’s all hope for a bumper crop of everything. I’m tied up in knots here not just fingers.

Talking of pent up energy, we are fairly busy on the market this year with a host of extra events celebrating the rich food heritage the North of England is rightly proud of. We will be visiting a number of venues round the Dales with our meet the producer roads show and cannot wait for our Taste of Teesdale Festival at Raby Castle in July.

The next Road Show is on the 19th of May at the Crown in Mickleton. This is a chance for us to team up with one of the area’s most outstanding food destinations in one of the Dales loveliest villages. There will be about 10 producers and they will be providing the main ingredients for the owner and Chef Andrew Rowbotham to demonstrate with. There will be ample opportunity for everyone to find out how the produce on sale is reared, grown or produced. Why not book in for lunch in the Crown and make a proper day of it.

Taste Teesdale in July will be a celebration of food and farming with something for everyone. The icing on the Teesdale cake is that it will only cost £6 per car to get in to the event. More about that later.

Barnie Farmers Market is proud to be sponsoring the Teesdale Mercury’s “Young Achiever of the Year” in their Pride of Teesdale Awards. This Saturday we will be presenting the winner with a special hamper filled to the brim with the finest produce the market can provide. This award recognises young people up to the age of 18. The Mercury has always recognised the achievements of the dale’s young people and we are looking forward to meeting the winner.

The 16-22 April was National Bread Week but we are giving it a little extension with Sue’s Bread and her extensive range of yeast blown goodies. Just about every accompaniment the heart could desire can then be found on our other stalls to place on your favourite slice. There are jam’s, cheeses, fish pates and salami to choose from and lots lots more; what a feast.

Every Barnie Farmers Market is a Food Festival.


Barnard Castle Farmers Market 6 April 2013

A local farmers’ market is the regional stronghold of good food and drink. No two farmers’ markets are alike – each being influenced by their own idiosyncrasy of landscape and food culture. In Barnard Castle, we’re particularly blessed being situated in Teesdale and the Durham Dales. Our unique geographic location means we sit shoulder-to-shoulder with fine food producing counties including Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley. Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market’s own history and culture derives from offering a diverse range of award winning products brought each month to the market. Our customers are equally passionate about our market, so much so we now hold a list of loyal foodie volunteers who work unpaid attending each market guiding you through the taste of the seasons.

With each passing month we enjoy more visitors from further afield. April promises to be no different and looks set to be the biggest market for some time. Why not join us and fill your larders and baskets with the best northern food and drink.


Gainford Farmers’ Market Easter Saturday

It’s Gainford Farmers’ Market, (inside the village hall) this  Easter Saturday. Sample some of the very best food and drink from around the region. From puddings to parsnips, from cheese to chutney, there’s something for every taste.