In modern life we've become pretty accustomed to buying our food from major supermarket chains, with much of it shipped in from all corners of the globe. It didn't used to be that way. And a farmers' market is a great way to reconnect with local food and local food suppliers.
The UK's National Parks are home to incredibly productive landscapes, which are being promoted this year in our Landscapes of Plenty celebrations. We want people to know that the 15 National Parks are not just Britain's breathing spaces, they are also Britain's eating spaces. So, we've put together a list of 15 fantastic local food producers and farmers' markets that are definitely worth checking out.
2nd Saturday of each month
Brecon Farmers Market website
Vibrant indoor and (weather permitting) outdoor markets offer local food and produce amid a unique atmosphere of local conversation, live music and cafes.
2nd and 4th Saturday
Loddon Farmers Market website
With an emphasis on freshness of produce, the Loddon Farmers Market takes great pride in the fact that all the produce sold at the market is local to East Anglia, the region in which the Broads are located. That means everything was either grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked or processed in East Anglia.
Cairngorms Farmers Markets
The Cairngorms Farmers Markets are made up of quality local food and craft producers from within the Cairngorms National Park and its environs. In addition to the beef and lamb the area is best known for there is also a range of other fresh farm products available including, smoked brown trout, vegetables, home-baking, ice cream, preserves and eggs.
2nd, 4th and 5th Saturday
Tavistock Farmers Market website
Tavistock lies of the western edge of Dartmoor and is a lively and attractive market town which was birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. Visit the popular farmers market held in Bedford Square and take the time to explore the award-winning Pannier Market, as well as visiting the cheese shop and deli for other delicious local produce. If you visit in October, look out for the famous Goose Fair (14 October 2015), a traditional event dating back to the 12th century for the trading of geese, which were later fattened for Christmas.
Lynton Farmers Market website
Plenty of fresh local produce, including: vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, bread and cakes, fruit juices and dairy products.
Low Sixergh Barn website
Home to both a working farm and a farm shop, Low Sizergh Barn is dedicated to local produce in a big way. You can even watch the cows being milked as you enjoy treats from the tea room.
1st, 3rd Sunday
Loch Lomond Shores Farmers Market website
A fun, growing farmers market taking place on the southern shore of Loch Lomond. Producers vary dependant on the seasonal availability of their products, but at most Markets you will find fresh cheese, home-baked breads and cakes, seasonal vegetables, chutneys and oils, freshly baked pies, fresh meats and fabulous smoked fish.
New Forest Producers Market website
This monthly farmers market brings together the best in New Forest produce for you to try and buy at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre. With many producers belonging to the New Forest Marque local produce scheme, you can be sure of top quality meats, chutneys and more –– all in one place.
Hadrian's Wall Farmers Market website
A year-round farmers market selling everything from local organic beef and lamb to homemade pastries and replica Roman lamps. Expect to often find yourself rubbing shoulders with local clog dancers or a Northumbrian piper!
Hunters of Helmsley website
Hunters is a fantastic family run deli and speciality food store with more than 70 percent of its goods sourced from Yorkshire. Its takeaway sandwiches are legendary, make sure your appetite is up for it! Hunters scooped the well-deserved title of Best Small Shop 2015 in a competition run by run by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group and administered by the Independent Retailers Confederation.
Last Saturday of the month
Bakewell Farmers Market website
This multi-award winning Farmers' Market is now the second largest in the UK. But don't let that or the weather put you off. The stalls are under cover at the Agricultural Business Centre, and there's plentiful parking.
Haverfordwest Farmers Markets website
Farmers markets enable producers to sell directly to you. They'll be more than happy to tell you all about the products they have for sale. It really is a great way to reconnect with the farming community, while at the same time promoting a more sustainable society and reducing food miles.
Dolgellau Farmers Market website
Set amid some of the most beautiful scenery of Snowdonia National Park, the Dolgellau Farmers Market is a lively market with a variety of stalls featuring both local foods and crafts.
Lewes Food Market website
Local food lies at the heart of thriving Lewes Food Market in the South Downs National Park. The market takes place under the shadow of the historic Market Tower in the town centre, offering vegetables, fruit, eggs, milk, meat and fish all raised, grown, produced, processed or baked within 30 miles of the town. Stalls offering cakes, quiches and sauces, all containing a significant proportion of local produce, can also be found.
Sedbergh Farmers Market website
From farm gate to plate is the motto of the relatively new Sedbergh Farmers Market (only May to September). It's held under the backdrop of the Howgill Fells, a magnificent area of rolling hills and open common land.
The above is just a "taste" of the great local markets, food and produce that can be found in and around the UK's National Parks. For even more ideas on where to find amazing, fresh and unique local foods visit our Local Foods page.
And for more ideas on how to celebrate the National Parks' productive landscapes, check out our collection of Top 15 lists.