BRITAIN'S first "certified" farm market will be presented with its official seal of approval at Orton, Cumbria, this Saturday as part of a scheme to prevent unscrupulous market traders cashing in on the farmers' market name.
Although there are now hundreds of such markets already operating, providing much needed retail outlets where an estimated 10,000 farmers now sell their own produce to local people, there have been concerns of outsiders moving in to sell non-local produce, often at inflated prices.
To combat this, the NFU and other bodies cooperated to create the National Association of Farmers' Markets (NAFM), a body which will inspect stalls and certify that only locally produce is on sale. This will include not only farm produce but also locally baked bread, beer and cider.
Over 40 markets have applied for certification and Orton will be the first to be officially recognised.
Says NAFM Co-ordinator James Pavitt: "Farmers' markets have become extremely popular over the past five years, and are providing around 10,000 local food producers with an exclusive venue for them to sell their produce directly.
"However, the term 'farmers' market' is not a legally recognised definition and a large number of farmers' markets have expressed concern that it can be misused.
"Certified farmers' markets are for local farmers, growers, bakers and brewers to sell their own produce directly to the public."