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About Us

Home-made, Home-grown, Hand-crafted

 

Who are Country Markets?

For more than 90 years a network of Country Markets has been selling homemade baked goods, preserves and home grown fruit, vegetables, plants and crafts across England, Wales and the Channel Islands, as well as participating in farmers' markets and other local markets and food fairs.  Country Markets is a co-operative social enterprise with about 12,000 members of local county societies working under the umbrella of Country Markets Ltd of which the societies are the members.  Our aim is to promote diverse and delicious local food to the public and our organisation prides itself on the quality of its products and for keeping traditions alive, as well as creating friendly shopping environments.

South Yorkshire Country Markets Ltd (SYCM), the local arm, is a co-operative, registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965.  It is run by a Management Committee elected by its members who are the Producers and other Helpers.

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It has a membership of over 150, of whom two thirds are active Producers.

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SYCM enables home Producers to sell items locally and co-operatively directly to the public.  The Producers (aged between 16 and 90+) come from all walks of life.

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South Yorkshire has 5 Markets at Doncaster, Holmfirth, Penistone, Sheffield and Tickhill plus Pennine a 'virtual' Market to manage indirect sales through other outlets.

Click here to view our locations on a larger map.  Other Markets from surrounding counties are also shown.


Producer Backgrounds

We have people looking for work to fit in with school hours.  Some have taken early retirement and Market activity gives them a rewarding occupation with their new found time.  Others have found a low cost and low risk entry to sell their products in a co-operative environment in which they have a say. 

We also accommodate those who just want to sell surplus vegetable and other garden crops they don't know what to do with.  Click the Producers tab above to read about some of our members.

It means people can turn their talents and hobbies into cash and make new friends at the same time.
 
  


  
Malvern Country Market
has produced an excellent short video which provides a snapshot of what Country Markets do, especially on the baking front.   Click here to view it.
 

Sheffield Country Market features in a short documentary film about small local markets around Sheffield.  Click here to view it.  The excerpt re Sheffield is from a cameo production by Russell Cavanagh of farmers markets and country markets that are surviving in today's downturn economy, providing fresh produce and local crafts and helping bind local communities.  The complete film can be seen at Market Trends.


          
Press Articles About Country Markets
        "Country Markets - making millions on the quiet" Link 
          "Quality local produce that's worth fighting for" (Sheffield) Link 
        "Market forces pay off for taste of the country" (Tickhill) Link


New Producers

All our Markets welcome new members as both Producers and Helpers.

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Membership costs 5p which makes you a shareholder and gives Producers product and public liability insurance providing they sell under the Country Market label

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All goods are offered for sale collectively – no Producer has preferential treatment

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There are no minimum quantities to produce – just produce the amount that suits you

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Country Markets have a formula to help Producers determine a fair selling price, enabling them to receive the right return for their hard work

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All Producers contribute to market running expenses through a commission on their products; the rate is determined by the members as well

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Producers are paid monthly for their sales

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We need help from members with the running of the market, but we are flexible to individual circumstances, social commitments, etc.

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All our food Producers must have a food hygiene qualification but we can give financial assistance to new Producers in obtaining the relevant qualification

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A wide range of home-produced foods and preserves can be sold as well as garden produce and craft products

  
Starting a Business?

For those looking for a start up opportunity to business, Country Markets has all the experience and tools you will need to help you create a better business.

  • The opportunity for flexible, manageable employment for local people tied to the home or to fit around other commitments
  • Belonging to a sociable, long-standing, respected and co-operative organisation and being part of the local community
  • The recognition of a brand that is known to shoppers for its high quality products, friendly experience and contribution to local communities
  • Access to existing Markets through which to sell your products
  • Professional information on the legal, technical and other specialist aspects of selling to the public
  • A support network of advisers and friendly Producers to help answer your queries on anything from recipe ideas to sales
  • Marketing and promotion materials tailored for Country Markets
  • Product and Public Liability insurance provided for Country Markets members
  • The opportunity to earn money doing something you really enjoy and gain some independence
  • Confidence from the knowledge that Country Market Producers are recognised as skilful and valued, with traditional skills increasingly recognised as important
  • The opportunity to contribute to the growing interest in the provenance of food and other products

 
How to Start
  
Starting up as a Producer is relatively low cost - you will need to purchase an invoice pad, approved Country Market labels and packaging materials.  We make it easy to source all of those as well.  The nationally produced Country Markets Handbook contains all the information needed about producing for a Country Market.  It also ensures that all Producers are kept informed of the latest legal requirements through policy guidelines.


Regulations

We obviously have some rules to ensure that we comply with statutory regulations (especially those concerning food safety), that our produce is safe for the consumer and reach the high standards expected of Country Market produce.  At each Market a Manager is responsible for ensuring that goods are up to the standard required and they are supported by our Market Advisers.

If you are interested, please speak to any of the Producers at the Markets, they will point you in the direction of an appropriate person to advise you further.


Equal Opportunities Policy

South Yorkshire Country Markets Ltd abides by the principles and values of the International Co-operative Alliance.  Membership is therefore open and voluntary to any person over the age of sixteen years (this age restriction being determined by the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 and 1967).  In all other respects, South Yorkshire Country Markets Ltd does not discriminate on grounds of gender, race, age, marital status, disability, ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation or nationality.

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Last updated: 30th October 2012