The National Association of Farmers' Markets says it is driving a "renaissance in buying locally produced foods" as more than 300 farmers markets nationwide report booming sales. The farmer-run initiatives averaged footfalls of 2,000 over the Christmas period, with top sellers including pheasants, salmon, mulled wine, and holly wreaths, according to a spokesman. Somerfield has welcomed the burgeoning demand for farm produce. Local managers have been encouraged to give the go-ahead to markets in shop car parks, and local produce fairs in store. A spokeswoman said: "The markets are good for business for the whole area, they attract people into town, and give customers the chance to buy local produce like cider, fudge and meats. We work hand-in-hand with farmers to strengthen their hand in the food supply chain." But the National Market Traders Association, which has now signed up 60 local authorities to its quality charter said the new markets cannibalise regular market trade. A spokeswoman said: "Why have the farmers' markets been set up separately? Farmers should use empty stalls on existing markets." More than 200 of the new markets started last year, boosting numbers from an estimated 100 at the end of 1999. A NAFM series of booklets will be released in March with case studies and advice for farmers planning to jump on the bandwagon. {{NEWS }}