A LUDLOW shop and café has closed after almost eight years of business.

Local to Ludlow, the company that organises the bi-monthly local produce market, has closed their ‘HQ’ outlet in Castle Square.

The shop first opened its doors in November 2016 with the aim of selling locally-produced food and drink and other goods as well as acting as an information hub for the local voluntary group Ludlow 21.

On February 9, however, the company announced that increasing financial difficulties have led to the Local to Ludlow team deciding to close the HQ so that funds can be allocated towards running educational activities such as ‘easy peasy cookery’, a project that provides educational cooking sessions at schools and local events.

The Ludlow local produce market will not be affected by this change and will continue to be held every second and third Thursday.

“It is with regret that Local to Ludlow is closing the HQ shop and café,” a spokesperson said.

“We are a not-for-profit community interest company established primarily to run the farmers market and have the obligation to use any surplus of funds for community education. 

“As costs have increased in recent years it has become more of a challenge for us to make this enterprise contribute to our core aims.

“We are so grateful to all our staff, loyal customers and local suppliers that have made this such a success over the past eight years.”

The company launched the produce market in 2000 with the primary aim of supporting the growth of sustainable local food production by enabling local producers to sell directly to consumers thereby cutting down on ʻfood milesʼ, unnecessary packaging and other environmental costs of modern food retailing, a spokesperson said.

They also work to promote high environmental and welfare standards of food production and to enable and encourage consumers to buy good quality, fresh, seasonal food and drink, both at the market and in local shops.

The market is now one of the longest continuously running farmers markets in the country, only being cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 and the covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.