Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Why Markets Are Working for Us. A Teesside Farmers' Market Is Defying the Recession by Massively Increasing Its Regular Attendance. ANDREW PAIN Looks into the Reasons Why

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Why Markets Are Working for Us. A Teesside Farmers' Market Is Defying the Recession by Massively Increasing Its Regular Attendance. ANDREW PAIN Looks into the Reasons Why

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW PAIN

IN the last 12 months Saltburn Farmers' Market has seen a 20% increase in the attendance of the monthly event.

That figure equates to an extra 1,000 people attending the Saturday sessions on its site by the town's railway station in a yes ar-on-year comparison.

An independent survey carried out by the North East England Farmers Markets' Association (NEEFM) found that 4,566 people visited a recent Saltburn Farmers' Market - compared with 3,530 visitors during their previous survey a year earlier.

But in the same period the "Big Four" supermarkets - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - have continued to amass record profits.

So what is behind the rejuvenated interest in "old-fashioned" markets? Saltburn market organiser Lorna Jackson believes the attraction is a mixture of the quality of produce and the personal touch afforded by stallholders.

And despite major retailers attaining record profits, most have branched out into other areas of business which have helped improve margins.

"I would hate to bemoan the supermarket," said Miss Jackson. "There is a place for everybody.

"I think our strength is that we all have a passion and a genuine love of what we do and why we do it. We have 35 stallholders registered, and around 25 stalls at each market depending on the seasons and time of year.

"Two main attractions that people are looking for as well are local produce that you can't buy anywhere else and a great market atmosphere.

"There is that strong tradition people have of shopping in a market. You are back in touch with where the produce came from and can chat to someone involved in the production.

"I definitely get the feeling people are more inspired and the more you come the more you get out of it."

One Teesside mum who found this was true is 42-year-old Liz Palmer from Norton. …

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