IT was over a kitchen table 20 years ago that several of the region’s food producers got together and hatched a plan to make home-grown and local products accessible to local people.

And so, Hexham Farmers’ Market was born.

Since then, the market stalls have been stacked high with fresh fruit and veg, creamy organic cheese, pies of every filling, home-grown beef and rare breed pork, sweet jams and honey, and cosy woollen hats and gloves. What makes these products extra special however, is that they are all produced within a 50 mile radius of Hexham.

Last year, the market even proved popular amongst royalty, after it received a visit from the Prince of Wales. A moment which really took the crown.

Lead organiser of the market Peter Samson, who has worked with the market for more than 10 years, said the market continued to succeed because people cared about where their food came from.

“All of the products are grown, reared or sourced by the stall holders themselves, which means they know the foods route from field to the fork,” he said.

“That helps to create trust between the seller and buyer, and we’ve had the same loyal customers for 20 years, many of whom the stallholders would now class as friends.

“The future of the market looks good – and will continue to so long as local produce remains in demand and appreciated.”

This year, Peter is busy organising “a year of celebration” to commemorate the market’s anniversary, which will include several musical performances, a family treasure hunt in the market place, and tours around the vendors farms for a chance to see how the goods are made.

“I wanted to put on a couple of special events, in hope that customers can fall in love with the market all over again,” he said.

Stallholders Eric or Dianne Horn, who run organic dairy farm Slack House Farm near Gilsland, have been selling Birdoswald Organic Cheese, supplied by their herd of Ayrshire cows, at the market since 2002.

The couple were first drawn in by the idea of providing local food to local people.

“We wanted to reduce the number of food miles and dispatch our food as locally as possible,” explained Dianne.

“Even now, the market is still a big part of our business.

“And its provided us with a large customer base, which we continue to feel connected to, because we communicate with them regularly in person.”

Dianne and Eric are currently mentoring future dairy farmers at Slack House Farm, who will continue to sell the produce on the stalls.

For information on Hexham Farmers’ Market dates visit: