June’s market setting the scene for summer


I took the pleasure of walking hills during the recent half term in search of both gentian and primrose; the views from Cronkley Fell over Upper Teesdale beyond the power of my pen to describe. The hills have a rare power to sooth, and no man or woman ever planned a foul deed whilst sitting alone on the top of a hill and are we not fortunate that our geographical location offers both town and country within a hop and skip.

Following a scramble down Main Gate to the parked car, within half an hour, I was back in Barnard Castle sipping the last of my tea from a dented flask. We (the market volunteer committee) have been busy planning the Taste of Teesdale event at Raby Castle on the 19th July and a meeting was planned to coincide with the end of my fine day’s walking. That evening as I strolled into town my eyes fell upon the bustling figure of a man marching down the high street. You’re never quite sure if your on the end of a berating or a slap on the back, before Just William’s Hedgerow Preserves, warm hand greeted, and the four of us took ourselves inside a notable establishment and rehearsed both farmers’ market and food festival.

June’s market really sets the scene for the start of summer with some rich pickings. I will never be able to cram all of the glorious abundance of the season into the next few lines, but I will do my best. Nothing at the farmers’ market has been shipped here by way of Holland, New Zealand or some other corner of the far distant galaxy.  Ahead are summer months of an abundance of local produce so diverse it could cause a nosebleed. There’s a huge array to enjoy, including salads and fresh-tasting vegetables, soft fruit and I do confess to being the sort of man not ashamed to eat messy fruit in front of company.

Enjoy your weekend and your visit to Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market.


Coming to Raby Castle on Sunday 19th July

In the merry, merry month…

Whilst finger-walking shelves of the culinary library one morning, I stumbled upon a long overdue title, ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’. The book fell open on a well-read chapter by Simon Hopkinson with a recipe I know only too well; roast leg of lamb with anchovy, garlic and rosemary. Removing the small pool of water collecting from the side of my mouth, I reminisced on smells this dish perfumes the air when you slice into the lamb releasing wafting clouds of garlic and rosemary. I once courted a girl named Rosemary it started off in Durham but ended up in tears. I digress once again.

One of May’s treats also has to be asparagus, usually available from Blue Bell Organics at the farmers’ market. It has a fine delicate flavor, one we enjoy with boiled eggs (defensive cuts on government spending), I’ll avoid politics and turn to poultry, always top of our menu (thinking chicken salad with tzatziki dip).

Once during a family camping trip, I cut myself shaving while washing my face in the morning dew on the first day of May. Those searching for eternal youth, however will find more benefit eating well, avoiding processed foods. Green foods in particular are alkalising helping to encourage good skin.

Back to the plot. Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market during the merry month is a hands-on celebration of all things good, with market stalls selling fresh produce and crafts. The food calendar is also preparing for a busy month with dozens of food festivals springing up throughout the UK. Are we not a nation of food lovers?…I believe so, and the farmers’ market in Barnard Castle is testimony to the large crowds of visitors who arrive each month searching for the very best in food and drink, not forgetting a host of independent traders in our fine market town.

You’ll find us on the cobbles from 9.30-3.00 with our beautiful complexions and plethora of all things good.



Easter Farmers’ Market on the Cobbles

A BIG thank you to everyone who visited the market inside the Witham last month. We enjoyed a successful busy day accompanied by some great acoustic folk music and song. This month we’re back on the cobbles on Saturday 4th April. Plus, we’ll be holding our annual Easter Treasure Hunt with the chance to win a luxury farmers’ market hamper. Definitely not to be missed!

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