Saturday 2nd February is the first farmers’ market of 2013 held inside St Mary’s Parish Hall, Barnard Castle. Our usual array of artisan food producers will be offering some of the North’s finest food and drink. The aim of our farmers’ market is to put you the customer in contact with the producers and to provide local, fresh, quality produce. All the products on sale have been grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stallholder. Add the beautiful market town setting of Barnard Castle, with views to the wild and remote North Pennines and you have all the ingredients for a wonderful day out. See you there.
When it comes to the great British Sprout, where do you stand? The love hate relationship is one I’ve never fully understood. Sprouts take pride of place on our dinner table and I don’t simply mean Christmas.
In my opinion the humble sprout receives such a bad press due to the nature of its cooking and not the vegetable. It was national joke that before the Sunday roast went into the oven; the vegetables would be put on to boil. However, those days have now long since gone, and the profile of the sprout has raised with most veg now being steamed or receiving the minimum amount of cooking to keep fresh and retain nutritional value.
Did you know the UK sprout industry is worth over £54 million a year, with us Brits eating more than anywhere else in Europe?
Provenance of our food, including the humble sprout has never been more important than it is today. I enjoy nothing more (when fortunate to dine) to learn where my lamb, beef, pork or even fish was reared or caught. This sort of attention to detail is already standard in many of the best eating-houses. When you visit Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market, you’re buying local and seasonal. You’re also in touch with the people who bake, rear, grow and produce all things good. Local food from local people, provenance on a plate.
Something as simple as buying your sprouts from your local farmers’ market, not only supports your local economy but it allows small-scale producers to compete with large supermarket chains. Local produce supports local businesses, it helps local employment and keeps money in the local economy. What’s more, contact with the local producer can give you a better knowledge of how something is produced.
As well as locals we will look forward to seeing more and more seasonal visitors on Barnard Castle Farmers Market. Despite the rain many visitors are drawn to the area by its outstanding scenery and also Barney’s growing reputation as a fine shopping destination, offering varied and unusual treats from independent shops. We will also look forward to some of the few people who see the present rain as their life’s blood, Canoeists. We have had many visits in the past by this hardy breed and hope they think of us when they are hungry and cold so that we can warm them up and do our bit to make their visit memorable, along with their sought after white water rapids. They may even be able to enjoy us as a “paddle-throu shopping experience”!
We always look forward to seeing our regular friends on the farmers market as it is their loyalty and enthusiasm that sustains all of our stallholders and makes Barney market great. You know who you are! I have been lucky enough to build up a large group of regulars who not only entertain me with the inventive culinary masterpieces my products have been used in but also help me with new and unusual ideas. I am not alone in thinking this, informed customers are as important to Farmers Market Producers as Artisan skills and great ingredients. If anyone has a special request or a hankering for a special treat not yet catered for on the market then come and make a suggestion. We all have our usual ranges but sometimes a simple request can be the start of something new and innovative so come on, talk to us and we will try to help.
The grass is too wet to cut and the weeds will come out much easier tomorrow after a bit more rain, so come and see us on Saturday, on the cobbles, for some exceptional produce and a warm welcome.
Welcome to March; traditionally a warm and dry month in Teesdale according to my idiots guide to weather forecasting. It’s a recent book authored by I.M.A.Twitt of Dampdale.
Far from being a quiet winter month, March is really the gateway to spring for many of us on the market . There are fields starting to be ploughed for beans, early lambing, fruit tree pruning and seed planting The countryside isl starting to speed up in preparation for the new season’s early growth.
There is no doubt that regardless of the weather Farmers Markets belong outdoors where so much of our produce originates. We are starting the year as we intend to continue, with the largest selection of sumptuous produce available anywhere in the North of England. Our 30 stalls have a wide variety of meat, fish, bread and fresh veg.
We have ingredients for dedicated chefs and harassed family cooks, so come along and try some of our offerings.
I will confess to you one of my standard cheats that is also a firm favourite with friends and family. If I have run out of time but am expected to have a meal on the table quickly I reach for Spice Monkey’s Moroccan Tagine Sauce. This is a mild gently spiced, floral, peppery sauce that gently warms without being too rich. Take 700-900g of diced lamb and fry it for a couple of minutes to give it a bit of colour. Pop the meat into a casserole (use this to do the frying and save washing up) and add the sauce. If you have time, let it cool by placing it in the fridge for a couple of hours. When you are ready all you do is bring it to the boil and simmer it on the hob for 40 minutes. That is plenty of time to cook some rice and steamed carrots as accompaniments. If I have made this sound very easy then please believe me, it is. If you like this dish then talk to Ian about his full range as he has perfect sauces for fish and vegetarian options.
Dress appropriately and join us on Saturday from 9.30 am to 3 pm and make the Farmers Market part of your monthly shop.
Barnard Castle Farmers' Market
Barnard Castle Farmers’ Market will be held on the cobbles Saturday 5th November from 10.00am. Once again our stalls will be groaning with local produce – lovingly grown, reared, baked, pickled and harvested. It really is a ‘supermarket’ in the truest sense of the word! yet you wont find any plastic wrapped veggies here. What you will find is organic and free-range produce including; vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry/game, cheese, puddings, wine, preserves, jams, beef, pork, chocolates – did we mention crafts and cupcakes!
Whatever you buy will be produced to the highest standards, plus you’ll also be supporting the local economy. Shopping at Barnard Castle Farmers’ is the most pleasant way to shop for food and drink and what’s more, seasonal food tastes better too!
Remember to make a note on your Christmas list to visit The Bowes Museum Christmas Market on Sunday 18 December in the grounds of The Bowes Museum.