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Golden opportunity for leading markets.

The National Association of Farmers' Markets has awarded certification to 75 markets across the UK in the first year of the gold standard scheme.

The farmers' market in Orton, Cumbria, was the first to be certified with Hexham, Northumberland, also reaching the gold standard.

Launched last year, the certification scheme is independently verified and designed to reward the markets that uphold the recommended criteria of fresh, local, own produce with a distinctive logo.

NAFM hopes every farmers' market in the UK will become certified as a means of guaranteeing authenticity.

NAFM co-ordinator James Pavitt said: "With more applications in the pipeline, it won't be long before there is a NAFM certified farmers' market in every county.

"Customers are reassured by the traceability of the food at farmers' markets.

"They enjoy being able to discuss production methods with the stall-holders with the added bonus of knowing that the price of the goods goes directly to producer.

"NAFM certification ensures that the customers get what they expect at certified markets."

Jane Brook, from Orton farmers' market, said: "Customer numbers have doubled in the last twelve months and there is no doubt that this is partly due to certification which has helped customers to have absolute confidence in the quality of the market and produce on sale."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 31, 2003
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