About Country Markets

There is a network of about 200 Country Markets across England and Wales.  We have been selling homemade baked goods, preserves, garden-grown fruit and vegetables, plants, and handmade crafts for many years. Visitors to these markets can buy a variety of produce – almost anything local and seasonal that can be produced in a domestic kitchen or garden.

Country Markets also sell meat, fish and dairy goods, honey, and eggs from local small producers.

Country Markets are often held weekly in a variety of venues in cities, towns and villages and Producers also participate in local events. Village Markets, County, Agricultural and specialist food shows.

Producers, who are Members of this Co-operative Social Enterprise called Country Markets, are organised into local Co-operative Societies registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 16; the cost of joining is just 5p for a shareholding.   Everything is sold co-operatively; producers receive payment at the end of every month for their sales, minus a small commission to cover running costs and insurance.

Find a market

Locate a Country Market near you

Find a market

Opening a New Market

How to become a producer

How to Become a Producer

Who can join, and how?

Individuals over the age of sixteen with suitable produce to sell may apply to join their local Country Market Society. Regrettably there are no facilities for group membership.

Prospective new members are always recommended to visit their nearest Country Market during opening hours and have an informal chat with the Market Manager, who will be able to answer questions and will forward membership applications to the relevant Market Society.

This nearest Country Market will normally become the members ‘Home Market’, but Members are able to sell their items through any of the Country Markets belonging to the relevant Market Society. Members may apply to join more than one Country Market Society, but must make each application separately.

Details of all Country Markets are listed on the Find a Market page.

What do Country Markets sell?

All items sold through Country Markets must be home-made, home-grown in the home of the producer or hand-crafted in the home or locally by the Member.

Country Markets do not sell bought-in goods, or buy in goods for resale, or sell on behalf of third parties.

The items on sale will vary from Market to Market, but will usually include baked goods, preserves, honey, eggs, fruit, vegetables, plants and crafts. Meat, fish and dairy products are also available at some Country Markets.

New Members are advised to start small to see what sells, and then to build up to a level that feels comfortable.

How are Country Markets run?

All Country Markets are run co-operatively. Members do not have their own individual tables; all goods are put on sale together, like with like. Members are encouraged to take part in the general running of the Market.

Each of the Markets is a member of a local Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. The fifty four Societies are supported by Country Markets Ltd based in Chesterfield.

What are the costs?

It costs just 5p (five pence) to become a Member of a Country Market Society. Once approved, Members must have access to an up-to-date copy of the Country Markets Handbook ether by purchasing a paper copy or access to the members’ area of the Country Markets web site. Members are also responsible for purchasing approved packaging materials, labels and invoices. Markets and / or Societies are usually able to help with the sourcing of these items.

Members are paid each month for the sale of their goods less a small commission of about 10% which is retained to cover running costs, Product and Public Liability Insurance etc.

The Country Markets Handbook

Trading legislation is complex, especially concerning food safety, but Country Markets Ltd strives to ensure that Country Market Societies are kept informed of the latest requirements. The rules are there for everyone’s protection. By following the rules, Members can be confident that all possible steps have been taken to ensure that produce is of a very high standard, is safe for the consumer, and complies with the law.

Food Hygiene Certificates

All food handlers, and Country Markets Members are no exception, are required by law to undertake relevant food hygiene training. For Country Markets cooks, the required qualification is currently the Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering, which is supplemented by ongoing training via regular updates issued by the company. Your local Country Market should be able to tell you about courses in your area, or a list of independent course providers can be found on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s website – www.cieh.org.

Online Food Hygiene Certificates

Prospective Members are advised to check that online courses are acceptable to the Market / Society they wish to join and also their local Environmental Health Officers.

Do I have to register my kitchen as a food business?

This depends very much on the stance taken by the local authority in which each market is based, this varies around the country. It is your own responsibility to register your own kitchen with the local authority Environmental Health Department .  It is then up to the local Environmental Health Officers to decide whether individual Members’ kitchens need to be registered and/or inspected. You will recieve a cerificate from them with your food safety score.

Indirect Sales

Country Markets baking and preserves can now be found in a small but increasing number of local community shops and various other outlets. See the section on indirect sales.

Indirect sales can provide both an additional and an alternative outlet to selling directly in the traditional way. These small beginnings will expand further and eventually extend into gardening and crafts.  All goods sold Indirectly for resale must carry full ingredient labelling.

The same membership and food hygiene criteria apply to both Direct and Indirect sales producers.

Who can join, and how?

Individuals over the age of sixteen, with suitable produce to sell, may join a local market.

You actually belong to a Country Market Society and you may sell your goods in any Country Market connected to your society.

Prospective new members are always recommended to visit their nearest Country Market during opening hours and have an informal chat with the Market Manager, who will be able to answer questions and will arrange for membership applications to the relevant Market Society.

This nearest Country Market will normally become the members ‘Home Market’, but Members are able to sell their items through any of the Country Markets belonging to the relevant Country Markets Society that they are registered with. Members may apply to join more than one Country Market Society but must make each application separately.

Details of all Country Markets in your area are listed on the Find a Market link.

What do Country Markets sell?

All items sold through Country Markets must be home-made, home-grown in the home of the producer or hand-crafted themselves locally by the Member.

Country Markets do not sell bought-in goods, or buy in goods for resale, or sell on behalf of third parties to companies using their own labels.

The items on sale will vary from Market to Market, but will usually include baked goods, preserves, honey, eggs, fruit, vegetables, plants, and crafts. Meat, fish and dairy products are also available at some Country Markets.

New Members are advised to start small to determine what sells, and then to build up to a level that feels comfortable.

How are Country Markets run?

All Country Markets are run co-operatively. Members .  All goods are sold cooperatively on behalf of one another.

Members are encouraged to take part in the general running of the Market and take turns with responsibility.

Each of the Markets is a member of a local Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. The fifty plus Societies are supported by Country Markets Ltd based in Chesterfield.

What are the costs?

It costs just 5p (five pence) to become a Member of a Country Market Society. Once approved, Members must have access to an up-to-date copy of the Country Markets Handbook ether by purchasing a paper copy or accessing the members’ area of the Country Markets web site.

Members are also responsible for purchasing approved packaging materials, labels and delivery notepads. Markets and / or Societies are normally able to help with the sourcing of these items and producing their own with their society details listed on them.

Members are paid each month by the appointed market treasurer for the sale of their goods, less a small commission of about 10% which is retained to cover running costs, Product and Public Liability  and personal injury Insurance.

Each year you confirm your membership and agree to abide by the rules and guidelines for running a registered organisation.

The Country Markets Handbook

Trading legislation is complex, especially concerning food safety, but Country Markets Ltd strives to ensure that Country Market Societies are kept informed of the latest requirements. The rules are there for everyone’s protection. By following the rules, Members can be confident that all possible steps have been taken to ensure that all goods and produce is of a very high standard, is safe for the consumer, and complies with the law. Liaison with the home auhority TSO/EHO in Derbyshire ensures that up to date legislation is thoroughly checked before issuing advice to our many producers.

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