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Trend-setting market closes

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:56 01 August 2010

THE first farmers' market to open in north Suffolk has closed suddenly after almost 10 years.

Barsham Farmers' Market, which has run on the last Saturday of every month at Grange Farm since August 1999, will not be running this weekend after the organisers decided to call it a day.

THE first farmers' market to open in north Suffolk has closed suddenly after almost 10 years.

Barsham Farmers' Market, which has run on the last Saturday of every month at Grange Farm since August 1999, will not be running this weekend after the organisers decided to call it a day.

Liz Harvey and David Miller, who run Grange Farm and the market, want to streamline their business due to increased pressures on their time.

They will now be concentrating on the arable side of the farm, which now takes up more of their time because of an increase in acreage as well as an increase in the administration and bureaucracy side of operations.

Meanwhile the farmyard and storage facilities at Grange Farm, where the market is sited, will be required more frequently.

Mrs Harvey, who also runs a farm in Westhall with Mr Miller, said that she would be sad to close the market. “It was always looked upon as a very friendly market and a lot of people looked upon it as a social gathering,” she said. “I feel sad that it's no longer going to take place.”

When the market first opened in August 1999 it attracted thousands of visitors. Back then it was the only one of its kind in Suffolk, other than one at Needham Market, and was certainly the first in North Suffolk and Waveney

The market offered a variety of locally sourced seasonal vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, plants and bakery products, as well as local crafts, and for the annual Farmhouse Breakfast Week offered locally-sourced full English breakfasts.

Over the last 10 years the organisers have encouraged people to think and buy local, an idea not so prevalent when they opened. Their slogan was “it's better than British - it's local.”

“I think that farmers' markets were at the forefront of bringing the idea of shopping for local food to the eyes of the public,” said Mrs Harvey. “Now there are many many more farmers' markets than there were when we started, and I'm confident that the public and the producers won't be too badly affected.

“I think supermarkets have cottoned on to the fact that people were going to the markets and started sourcing local produce.”

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