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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Cumbrian market under threat as managers pull out

A food market’s future is unclear after organisers pulled out of running it.

Nathan Sutherland photo
Nathan Sutherland was general manager of Cumbrian Food Direct.

The monthly Cockermouth Local Produce Market, which had been due to take place on Saturday, was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Organiser Cumbria Food Direct broke the news in a statement on its Facebook page on Friday afternoon.

It read: “Apologies to all, but the Cockermouth Local Produce Market is cancelled this weekend.

“It is with regret that Cumbrian Food Direct is no longer able to continue to manage this, or future, markets in Cockermouth, but we would like to thank all the customers and traders who have supported the market in the past year.”

The statement added that any queries were to be directed to Allerdale Council.

The market had been due to take place on the first Saturday of every month in Market Place, Cockermouth, from 9am until 2pm.

It is not known if future markets planned throughout the rest of the year will be held.

Allerdale council said it had been informed by Cumbria Food Direct that it was no longer able to operate the market and that the only date to have been cancelled so far was Saturday.

A spokesman said: “The council is currently in discussions with all those involved to explore options in relation to the future operation of the market in the town.”

No-one from social enterprise Cumbria Food Direct was available for comment.

Meanwhile, a message posted on the online retailer’s website on January 23, said they were unable to take any orders for the coming week “due to staffing issues”.

The market is said to offer the freshest local produce from more than 40 of the best Cumbrian food producers.

News of the cancellation comes after the company, which is based in Maryport, unveiled a new management team last November.

Nathan Sutherland, who has worked in catering in hotel kitchens, was appointed general manager.

And Cath Tyrrell joined from the Rheged Centre, near Penrith, as head of marketing and operations.

Cumbrian Food Direct was set up as a social enterprise in 2011.

It is supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s local food scheme, the Rural Development Programme for England and Allerdale Council.

It says its aim is “to connect Cumbrian producers with customers across the county”.

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