About Dorset Country Markets

Dorset Country Markets started trading in 1941, then as now the organisation was set up to sell only the freshest and best home made, home grown, hand crafted items to local customers.

There are currently twelve country markets in Dorset, but we also belong to a nationwide group which has around 400 markets in England, Wales and the Channel Islands.  We are a co-operative social enterprise registered with the Industrial Provident Society.  All our cooks hold a current food hygiene certificate level two, which is regularly updated, we have enviromental health and trading standards home authorities who keep us informed of various policies relating to best practice and legal responsibilities.

About Country Markets

Our background

Country Markets Ltd is a membership-based co-operative social enterprise operating throughout England, Wales and the Channel Islands.  It is registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act, and is run by a democratically-elected voluntary Board of between six and nine Directors.

It has a membership of sixty-five regional Market Societies.

Between them, these regional Market Societies operate around four hundred separate co-operative Markets, selling the goods of approximately twelve thousand producers, all of whom are members of the Societies.

Country Markets Ltd enables individual producers to sell their home-made, home-grown and hand-crafted items locally and co-operatively, directly to the public. These producers (aged between 16 and 100) come from all walks of life.

The roots of Country Markets go back to 1919, when the Agricultural Organisation Society (now DEFRA) sponsored the setting up of co-operative markets to sell surplus produce.  Country Markets Ltd now has an annual turnover of around £10 million, around £9 million of which is returned to the producers.

For further information, see the ‘Becoming a Producer’ section.

Country Markets Ltd also provides a training, information and education service for its producers, researching and disseminating information regarding current legislation from DEFRA, Trading Standards Officers, Environmental Health Officers and other regulatory bodies.

Please note that Country Markets is a membership-based co-operative social enterprise that enables individual Members to sell their home-made, home-grown and hand-crafted produce direct to the general public (or through selected retailers) under the Country Markets label.  We do not buy-in goods for resale; nor do we provide stalls, pitches or retail outlets for third parties.