West Suffolk farmers' market crowned UK's best

Lavenham Farmers' Market

Busy stalls at Lavenham Farmers' Market - Credit: Suffolk Market Events

Organisers of a Suffolk farmers' market say they are "absolutely thrilled" after it was crowned the best in the UK.

Lavenham Farmers' Market scooped the top title at the National Farm Retail Awards held in Newcastle.

Justine and Alex Paul, organisers of Lavenham Farmers' Market

Justine and Alex Paul of Lavenham Farmers' Market picking up their Farmers' Market of the Year award at the Farm Retail Association awards in Newcastle on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - Credit: Gary Lawson Media

The Farm Retail Association (FRA) runs the awards which are judged by farm retailers. They are aimed at celebrating the best farm shops, farm cafés and restaurants, farmers’ markets and trade suppliers in the country.

Lavenham Farmers' Market vied for the top spot with others around the country -  including Barnard Castle, Stroud and Moseley Farmers' Markets.

Judges praised Lavenham Farmers' Market's  togetherness and pride. It offered a culture of working with each other, and a strong and wide range of local foods which created an atmosphere their customers loved, they said.

"The interaction the stallholders showed to their customers was inspiring and clearly everyone visiting on the day loved it,” said the panel.

Lavenham Farmers Market had dwindled to just two or three stalls when town resident Justine Paul  stepped in to save it around 14 years ago. It now hosts nearly 40 local artisan food and drink stalls and is held on the fourth Sunday of every month outside Lavenham Village Hall.

Most Read

Justine Paul, founder of Suffolk Market Events which organises the event, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award. It means so much and makes all that hard work, in saving the market from closure back in 2008, so very worthwhile.

"It is also a recognition of the high quality of local artisan stalls we have at Lavenham Farmers' Market which means that the local community as well as those who travel form further afield can be assured of buying good local product direct from the producer – which is at the heart of all our markets.

"To win against some of the largest farmers markets in the country like Stroud and Moseley is a huge achievement and we are committed to continuing to make Lavenham Farmers Market a real jewel in Suffolk’s foodie offering."

After reviving the Lavenham market Justine went on to launch Suffolk Market Events which now runs  markets in Suffolk and Essex - including regular monthly farmers' markets in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lavenham and Sudbury.

It also relaunched Colchester Farmers Market in December after a long pause due to the coronavirus pandemic and has been commissioned by a number of local authorities to help revive street markets in the two counties.