It has been extended from last year’s 68 to 83, to be held in Aldershot, Farnborough, Fleet, Odiham, Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Hythe, Peters-field, Ringwood, Romsey, Southsea and Winchester.

Basingstoke and Southsea have increased the number of markets they hold to join Winchester in having monthly markets throughout the year.

Already the number of stallholders booked to attend will ensure Winchester continues to be officially the largest Farmers’ Market in the UK, and many of the other venues now have waiting lists of producers wishing to attend as the popularity of the markets grows.

All produce sold at a Hampshire Farmers’ Market must come from Hampshire or within ten miles of the border, and the producers attend the markets to answer questions and assist with recipe suggestions.

The aim is to provide an outlet for smaller producers to sell fresh, local, quality, seasonal produce directly to the public as part of a relaxed and traditional shopping experience.

Produce available includes free range beef, pork and lamb, oven ready game, freshly baked bread, fresh and smoked trout, free range eggs, cheeses, mountains of seasonal vegetables, beer, wine, honey, jams, cakes, chutneys and much more.

Hampshire Farmers’ Markets were the first markets in the country to be certified to the National Association of Farmers’ Markets.

The certification process involves the markets being independently inspected and recognises the high standards achieved.

Rob Hardy, chairman of Hampshire Farmers’ Market Ltd, said: “The positive impact of farmers’ markets on small rural producers has been vital to many of the farmers and growers across Hampshire and this is due to the enormous amount of public support.

“Hampshire Farmers’ Market provides an essential outlet for many of the smaller local producers to sell their produce direct to the customer.

“Many of the producers would not be in business today without farmers’ markets and all the producers are very grateful to the public for their support and look forward to it continuing in 2003.”

All Hampshire Farmers’ Markets trade from 10am until 2pm.

For further information on any of the Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, or to obtain a full list of dates and venues, please ring 01962 845135.