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Norfolk farmers' market shuts due to lack of customers

PUBLISHED: 10:41 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:48 30 May 2019

Diss Farmers Market will no longer be held due to falling numbers of stalls and customers. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Diss Farmers Market will no longer be held due to falling numbers of stalls and customers. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A monthly farmers' market that offered people the chance to buy direct from local producers has been cancelled due to dwindling numbers of customers and stalls.

Diss Farmers Market had previously run campaigns to boost stalls and customers including a Valentine's Day theme. Picture: Sonya DuncanDiss Farmers Market had previously run campaigns to boost stalls and customers including a Valentine's Day theme. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Diss Farmers' Market, which met in the Market Place on the second Saturday of every month, was first established in 2001 to complement the traditional Friday market day and cash in on the booming popularity of producers markets.

At its height the market included stalls selling high animal welfare meat, in season local game, free range eggs, pesticide-free fruit and vegetables, apple juice, pies, cakes and locally-produced honey.

While numbers fluctuated around a dozen regular stallholders could be seen selling their wares most months.

Diss has had a market for 500 years and the traditinal Friday market continues to thrive. Picture: Antony KellyDiss has had a market for 500 years and the traditinal Friday market continues to thrive. Picture: Antony Kelly

However a fall in customers, partly blamed on the way people shop, has seen Diss Town Council announce the market will no longer take place.

Town clerk Sarah Richards said: "Due to the national change in shopping habits, Diss Town Council has noticed for some time the reducing number of customers to the farmers' market.

"Following discussions with stallholders, they have made us aware that they will no longer be attending the market.

Diss Farmers Market was first established in 2001 but will no longer be held. Picture: Diss Town CouncilDiss Farmers Market was first established in 2001 but will no longer be held. Picture: Diss Town Council

"It was effective for many years and we would like to thank those traders and supporters who made it a success."

The market had previously seen waning numbers of stalls but organisers and traders tried to revamp the monthly market, including a Valentine's-themed Love Diss Farmers' Market campaign to try and give the market a boost.

There has been an established market in Diss for more than 500 years and despite pressure from supermarkets and online shopping the town's traditional Friday market continues to flourish.

The town council said it would be willing to support and work with another farmers' market in future should there be interest from producers, but was also looking to develop new ideas for the market.

Ms Richards said: "While it is disappointing to lose the market, discussions have taken place on the opportunity to reinvent this concept, similar to the continental markets that have visited Diss in the past."

Other farmers' markets in South Norfolk take place in Wymondham and Harleston, both on the third Saturday of the month, while the Lopham Farmers' Market, which started out with six vendors and now features 20 Norfolk and Suffolk food and drink producers on the fourth Saturday of the month, recently celebrated its 18th birthday.

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