Aylsham farmers’ market set for 10th birthday celebration

The butchers, fruit farmers and cheese makers who set up shop in Aylsham every month are preparing for a celebratory day of tasty trading when the town's farmers market turns 10.

The monthly food fairs have gone from strength to strength since they began in March 2002 and proved so popular with traders and customers that a second one was introduced in 2008.

Aylsham's market place is transformed on the first and third Saturday of every month into a colourful display of stands selling a variety of gourmet delights, from Aberdeen Angus beef to artisan breads.

And it is also one of a kind in Norfolk as it is the only market in the county to enjoy accreditation from the National Farmers Retails and Markets Association, which ensures all the produce on offer is locally sourced.

Paul Smith, from the town's Cittaslow movement which helped establish the market, said: 'All our stalls come from within 30 miles of the town and the standards are very high. I go and visit them before they come on the market and I can say hand on heart these people produce everything themselves.

'Most of the producers have been there since day one and that shows the success of it. As business people they wouldn't come back if it wasn't working for them,' he added. 'The first market - that's 10 years old - is now full all the time. It's well established and it brings a lot of people into the town and supports the other businesses.'

Mr Smith said celebrations were planned for the market's 10th birthday next month, the details of which had not yet been finalised, but he planned on having drinks and nibbles with the 20-plus stall holders to say thank you to them.

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He said: 'Our producers turn up no matter what the weather.'

A resident jazz band now plays at each market and there are plans to introduce more added attractions over the next 10 years, such as holding cooking demonstrations and a 'guest' stall.

Mr Smith added: 'We have started now to work with Broadland (District Council) to bring somebody in that's different, to give them a forum to be able to do what they're doing.

'And we want to start producing recipe cards to give away to the public so they can make use of the produce on sale.'

? Aylsham farmers market runs from 9am-1pm on the first and third Saturday of the month.

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