Aylsham’s monthly farmers’ market is celebrating its 10th birthday in March. Founded in 2002 following a year’s research, the market is backed by Aylsham Town Council through the Cittaslow committee and in 2004 received accreditation from the national FARMA organisation.
FARMA is a not-for-profit co-operative of farmers, producers selling on a local scale, and farmers’ markets organisers which seeks to ensure that the produce on offer is genuinely local and to promote high ethical standards. Accredited markets are inspected on a bi-annual basis to check that the organisation’s strict criteria are met while individual stallholders are also required to prove their ‘local’ credentials.
Aylsham’s original farmers’ market, held on the first Saturday of each month, was so successful that two years after its foundation, it was necessary to introduce a second market, this time on the third Saturday of the month. Both markets have continued into this 10th birthday year and attract customers not just from Aylsham but from all over the surrounding district.
Mo Anderson-Dungar, Aylsham’s Town Clerk, commented, “Aylsham’s two farmers’ markets are the only ones in North Norfolk to enjoy FARMA accreditation. We are very proud that our market, and therefore our producer stallholders continue to meet the strict conditions laid down by FARMA which assure customers that the food they buy is truly local and its sale supports our all-important local economy.”
When researching markets in Dr Sapwell’s “History of Aylsham”, Cittàslow Co-ordinator Paul “Smudge” Smith discovered that 3 March was the date that Henry VIII granted a market charter to the town – 493 years ago in 1519! So another cause for celebration.
More information about Aylsham farmers’ markets is available from Mo Anderson-Dungar on 01263 733 354.