Where are the 12 Best Farmers Markets in the UK for Local Food?

We have the best farmers markets in the UK for local food for you here. These are 12 of the top farmers markets, some of them selling local organic food, can be found in the country from Scotland down to Kent. Local food means fresh food that has been picked from the farms that morning.

Top 12 Farmers' Markets in the UK

Dirty dozen: the best of Britain's 600 local-produce markets where you can buy muddy carrots and misshapen fruit that tastes as it should.

1. St Giles Farmers' Market, Shipbourne, Kent

St. Giles Church, Stumble Hill every Thursday, between 9.00-11.00 Tel:01732-355325

Voted one of Britain's best farmers markets in the 2007 BBC Food and Farming awards, this market is held both inside and outside an 11th-century church at the heart of the village. More than 20 stalls offer local fare, including breads, meat, vegetables, mushrooms, smoked fish, pickles, cheeses and fruit, sold direct from the producers. It's a truly local community affair, providing a forum for both shopping and socialising.

2. Winchester Farmers’ Market, Hampshire

Middle Brook Street, second and last Sunday of the month Tel: 01962 845135.

This mega farmers market has been running twice a month since May 1999 and has almost 100 stalls. The produce must be grown, reared, baked or caught in Hampshire or within 10 miles of the border. Hampshire Fare is the county's excellent food and drink organisation and specialties include Alresford watercress (the festival is on May 11), water buffalo, Dexter beef, and Manx Loughton sheep.

3. Stroud Farmers' Market, Gloucestershire

Cornhill Market Place, held on first and third Saturday of each month. Tel: 01453 758060.

Gloucestershire's first farmers market is a triple winner of the Cotswold Life Magazine “Best Farmers Market" award and the FARMA certified farmers' market of the year 2008. 

The elegant central venue hosts demonstrations at 11am by resident chef Robert Rees of the Country Elephant who makes meals using produce from the market. Specialties include Katie Lloyd's Shitake-mushroom growing kits, Annette Eaton's smoked garlic and the superb outdoor cafe run on a rota by different groups. 

Get there early for organic vegetables. A real social gathering event.

4. Kings Norton Farmers’ Market, Birmingham

The Green in King Norton held the second Saturday of the month Tel: 07966 434177

Voted the West Midlands farmers' market of the Year 2008 by the National Farmers' Retail and Markets Association, it offers goods from more than 25 producers. The organizers are proud of the market's patent, established in 1616, though the market was re-established in 2005. Stalls sell vegetables, fruit, fresh meat, fish, garden plants and organic and fair trade produce.

5. Cardiff Riverside Farmers' Market

Fitzhamon Embankment held every Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm Tel: 029 20190036

This popular market, in the shadow of the Millennium Stadium, has more than 25 stalls selling baked goods, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and even malt whiskey. Sample the chili jam, Cardigan Bay honey, goat's sausages, wine from Sugarloaf vineyard and a number of award-winning cheeses.

6. Wirral Urban Farmers’ Market, New Ferry

New Ferry's Village Hall held every second Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm Tel: 015 16431393

An indoor market voted the UK Farmers' Market of the Year at BBC Radio 4's Food and Farming Awards 2007. More than 30 stalls offer some of the North West's finest produce including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, chocolate and beer. Profits from the volunteer-run market are given to local community groups.

7. Hexham Farmers’ Market, Northumberland

Hexham Auction Mart (Jan-April), The Market Place (May-August), held the second Saturday of the month Tel: 01434 270393.

This farmers market, located on the site of a cattle market, won the NFU award for Best Farmers' Market in England and Wales last year. Over 30 producers show off such specials as local oyster mushrooms, Northumberland hill lamb, hand-made chocolates and fudge, beef, poultry, eggs, cheeses, bread and gluten-free baked goods, soups, salads and veg, all of which are grown or reared within 50 miles.

8. Alnwick Farmers' Market, Northumberland

Market Place held on the last Friday of the month 9 am to 2 pm Tel: 07894 402766

This market, which sits near Alnwick's medieval market cross, offers an array of seasonal foods. It has hosted demonstrations from chefs, including Master Chef finalist David Hall, as well as an array of crafts including soaps and jewelery. Local specials include Hill Lamb, cheeses, cakes and pies, teas, preserves and pickles, mussels, fudge, soft fruits and plants.

9. Orton Farmers' Market, Cumbria

Held the second Saturday of the month Tel: 01524 781003.

With more than 40 stalls of foods and crafts, Orton farmers' market sits in the heart of the countryside. This tiny village is in game country, so you’ll find pigeons, rabbits and game birds for the pot at Austen Davies’s stall – and something to warm your cockles at the renowned Weardale Soup Company. Bessy Beck's trout products, delicious homemade Country puddings and the Cumbrian Fair Trade Cooperative has more exotic goods. 

Most of the stallholders also crop up at Brough (third Saturdays) and Pooley Bridge (last Sundays until winter).

10. Haverfordwest Farmers' Market, Pembrokeshire

Riverside Quay, held on alternate Fridays Tel: 01437 776 168.

This market, which is situated on a peninsula, has a stunning range of cheeses, real heather honey and the occasional live cookery demonstration. 

From late June to early July there is the Pembrokeshire Fish Week which features cooking demonstrations at the market; usually locally caught and reared fish.

Free-range duck, guinea-fowl and geese, home-reared meats, organic, rare-breed Oxford and Sandy Black pork, crab and lobster sandwiches, continental salad leaves, bread and locally milled flour, bara brith (a traditional sweet tea bread) and Welsh cakes, Lanboidy farmhouse cheese and laver bread, ewe’s milk cheese, smoked game are just some of the delights.

11. Bristol Slow Food Market

Corn Street Wed 9.30am-2.30pm, and the Slow Food Market, Corn Street, the first Sun of the month, 10am-3pm. (0117 9224014; www.visitbristol.co.uk)

Recent winner of a Soil Association Award, the market offers the usual staples of wet fish and shellfish, buffalo and other cheeses, fruit and veg, hand-made bread, honeys, apple juice and plants and herbs, but with strong emphasis on local, organic and free range. 

Visit the Slow Food market for fresh fish and local sausages for Sunday lunch, to be washed down with local beer, cider or perry (an alcoholic pear drink). Or watch one of the regular cookery demos.

12. Edinburgh Farmers' Market, Scotland

Castle Terrace, held first and third Saturday of each month. Tel: 0131 652 5940.

A model farmers market in a stunning setting beneath the castle. Features up to 70 specialists, from Inverness to Northumberland. All stallholders are primary producers: they rear it, grow it, make it, bake it. Beer comes down from the Black Isle near Inverness, fresh langoustine, crab and mussels are shipped in from the island of Arran, as well as hunks of wild boar, venison, ostrich, a very particular sausage-meat mix, superb hedgerow wines, gorgeous mead and, of course, whiskey.

The on the best farmers markets in the UK was written by Nick Wyke for Times Online.

See more great Farmers Markets in Kent, for some more local food outlets in the UK

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