A pumpkin growing competition and a hive of live bees are among attractions next month (May) at farmers’ markets across the North Pennine Dales.
Special May time events aimed at tickling the taste buds are being mounted at markets in the Hadrian’s Wall cluster of Hexham, Greenhead, Brampton and Allendale, which will each be promoting something extra to the usual collection of stalls and stands selling local produce.
The events are being organised by the individual markets alongside the North East England Farmer’s Markets organisation (NEEFM) and Love Food, the North Pennine Dales project which supports the production, promotion, use and appreciation of locally grown or reared food throughout Teesdale, Weardale, the Allen Valleys and Derwentside.
On May 12 Hexham farmers’ market will have a ‘pumpkin challenge’, where visitors will be able to sow a pumpkin or squash seed, try to grow the biggest, then bring it back in the autumn. There will also be a Plant Swap, where visitors can swap seeds and cuttings. These events are organised through Transition Tynedale, a group which aims are to raise awareness of climate change.
On May 13 at Greenhead the market will be celebrating local honey at the end of what is National Honey Week. There will be a demonstration by the Scypen restaurant, an observation hive of bees and a bee corridor stall. There will also be seeds available for bees’ favourite flowers at the Nook Farm Cumbrian honey stall and honey mustards from Alston.
Honey will also be on the menu at Hexham on May 26, when visitors can find out more about bee plants, pollination and local honey from Hexham Beekeepers.
Brampton farmers’ market, also on May 26, will have a great array of local foods, such as venison, trout, cheese, fee range chicken, organic beef and lamb, plus home baked breads, pies and cakes.
And at Allendale – at its new location in the village hall – there will be a prize draw to win a basket of local goodies for visitors who spend £5 at the market on May 27.
Kathryn Potts, Manager of NEEFM said: ‘We want people to come out and support their local producers in May. They have great, fresh produce, employ local people and generally buy their materials from the immediate area.’
Hazel Coppack, Director of Love Food, said: ‘Visiting your market means you can buy excellent local produce, while supporting your local economy. We hope the extra events at each of the markets will encourage people to come out and enjoy the experience.’
Love Food’s main delivery partners are Teesdale Marketing, the North Pennines AONB Partnership and the South Durham Enterprise Agency.
The project is funded by Local Food, a £57.5 million funding programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund, by the North Pennine Dales Leader programme and by the Barnard Castle Vision with additional in-kind contributions from partners