A COMMUNITY farmers market is through to the national final of a prestigious award.

Abbey Leys Community Farmers Market has been shortlisted for Farmers Market of the Year by the Farm Retail Association (FRA).

The market in High Legh won the accolade in 2019.

Organic farmer Janet Harrison has been welcoming producers from all over Cheshire into her barn at Abbey Leys Farm on Peacock Lane every month for 18 years.

“We had an empty shed so we thought we’d try it,” said Janet, who runs her farm with husband Tim, son Shaun and daughter Rosemary.

“It took off straightaway.

“It is led by a community of volunteers who feel passionately about local, fresh produce and low food miles.

“We have been supported by dedicated customers who have a real interest in sustainable produce.”

Janet sells free range organic eggs, grows Cheshire potatoes and fresh vegetables, bakes cakes and produces honey.

Knutsford Guardian: Cheshire producers tale pride in growing an array of fresh produceCheshire producers tale pride in growing an array of fresh produce (Image: Farm Retail Association)


The market is held on the first Sunday of the month and is accredited by the Farm Retail Association.

Products ranging from cheese, preserves, chocolate, pies and soup to fudge, venison, goat products, sauces, pasta and local crafts are showcased each month by around 20 traders.

“It is fun and we meet some great people and lovely stallholders,” said Janet.

“People can talk to all of us about where our food comes from.

“Everything is grown, reared, caught, pickled, brewed, smoked or produced by stallholders.”

Innovative and inspiring businesses from across the country have been shortlisted in eight categories.

The Rising Star Award celebrates business development and newcomers to the industry.

Others include Farm Shop Butchery of the Year, Large Farm Shop of the Year, Small Farm Shop of the Year, Farmers Farm Café/Restaurant of the Year, Pick Your Own of the Year and Associate Member of the Year.

Emma Moseym, chairman of the FRA, said: “Farm shops and farmers markets continue to be the nation’s retail beacons for sourcing fresh and nutritious produce with low food miles, from passionate and knowledgeable often family-run, independent businesses.

“It is right that we celebrate the crucial role that these invaluable food and drink retailers play at the heart of the communities they serve.

“Running throughout our finalists are inspiring stories of innovation, consistent quality produce and customer service excellence: terrific achievements and qualities that have been demonstrated during a challenging period for retailers amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“Congratulations to everyone who is shortlisted and good luck. This is your time to shine.”

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in March 2024, as part of the FRA’s annual Stronger Together event.