Tonbridge Farmers Market
8th December & it’s our Christmas Drinks Special
Second Sunday of every month
Sovereign Way, Tonbridge TN9 1RG
9.30am – 1.30pm
With over 65 stalls booked in already this month, it is going to be the biggest market in Kent.
We are very happy to announce we won the Kent Life Awards, Farmers Market of the Year.
This is a very prestigious award so a big thank you to all of those that voted for us.
We would still like you to vote for us in the Taste of Kent Awards. Click on the green thumb to the right.
December is our Christmas Drinks Special you should be able to stock up on you favourite Tipple for Christmas, and this is the last market before Christmas so don’t forget to all your other goodies you need for the festive season.
The Christmas Drinks Special is at our market this month and also at
Aylesford Farmers Market – Sunday 15th.
December at the Farmers’ Market
Just like stir-up Sunday and opening the first door on the advent calendar, a visit to Tonbridge Farmers’ market is the perfect way to get into the true spirit of Christmas this year.
The sights, scents and sounds of the season are all present as you mingle with other food enthusiasts, intent on selecting the best produce to enjoy at this special time of year, or simply there to soak up the atmosphere.
Whether it’s shopping for tried and trusted old favourites, getting advice on the best way to cook your carefully selected produce from those most qualified to offer it, maybe trying something new for the first time – it’s all a world away from pushing a frenzied trolley round the supermarket.
Plan ahead to get the most from your trip
To make sure you get the best from your visit and spend your budget wisely, be sure to plan ahead and do a bit of research. Sit down a few days before the market and make lists of what you want from your trip.
Are you planning to try a new approach this year – maybe a succulent goose or magnificent roast of rare breed beef or pork? Or just going with tradition and sticking with turkey? You might be catering for smaller numbers so a pheasant or wild duck could be the best choice. And wonderful sea-fresh turbot or halibut are both very special for all kinds of celebrations. Whichever you choose, buying locally makes sense on every level. Smaller producers can select the best breeds for flavour and respond to local conditions to ensure the very finest results. You’ll also be supporting vital regional industry and have the satisfaction of caring for the environment too.
Carrier bags and cash
Once you’ve made your list of what you intend to buy at the market (and don’t forget it’s also the ideal place to pick up all kinds of special foodie gifts too), it’s a good idea to make a few simple preparations for your trip. If you haven’t ordered ahead and there is something you can’t manage without then aim to get there early so you don’t miss that special purchase. Make a trip to the cash machine ahead of your visit, there are plenty within a few yards walk of the market. Some producers do accept cards but many smaller ones don’t have the facilities so be prepared. It’s intensely frustrating to run out of money before you’ve bought all your essentials. Come with plenty of bags to carry away your goodies, and a freezer bag is always a good idea if you want to leave perishable goods in the car. And before you leave home it’s a great idea to check you have enough fridge and freezer space for your purchases – storing them properly is vital to maintain flavour and quality.
-What to choose this month…
The colder weather following on from a warm and settled summer and autumn means there is a real bounty of local produce available in perfect condition for celebrating. So why not make a feature of foods from the area for your Christmas entertaining this year?
The whole gamut from great meat, fish and vegetables are all wonderfully complemented by local wines and beers both benefiting from the marvelous growing season of 2013. Set these alongside award-winning cheeses, jams and chutneys, puddings and pies, and you have the basis of a real feast.
If you are a from scratch cook then all the ingredients are there but if shortage of time (or maybe a “skill gap”!) keeps you out of the kitchen, then a plethora of ready-made goods are all available to ease the worry and stress that sadly often goes with entertaining at Christmas.
Whether it’s turkey, goose, beef, pork, lamb or game, we really are spoilt for choice here in Kent when it comes to truly superb meat. And at the close of the year every option is eating at or near its best. Locally produced meat from a known and trusted supplier is likely to have a finer flavour whatever you decide on this year – and you will be able to choose exactly what and how much you want and ask for advice on the best way to prepare and cook it straight from the horse’s mouth! (And after the recent food scares, you will be quite sure that that is one option on you won’t be dining!)
All the special things
Celebrating the winter solstice with feasts, frolics and fun goes back way beyond Christian traditions. With the harvest all in and a long dark winter to face, folk needed a lift and many of the foods we associate with the season have been featuring on menus for centuries. Cranberries, turkey and pumpkins may have come to us from the new world but we can counter with chestnuts, celeriac, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, goose, pheasant, partridge, venison, wild duck, oyster, mussels and sea bass. Plan your menu around these and you won’t go far wrong. Don’t forget the extras such as sausagemeat and bacon for the trimmings, maybe a chicken liver pate or local smoked salmon to serve as a starter, and to round up, traditional Christmas pudding served with thick cream or ice cream, and a platter of local cheeses.
As well as all the traditional festive produce, there are plenty of specialty foods and dishes at the market to help save time and feed crowds over the holiday. A gammon or ham, pates and terrines, soups and curries, all are worth finding a space for in the fridge or freezer to bring out for unexpected guests or when you are just too overwhelmed to prepare yet another meal. Also don’t forget to stock up on chutneys, preserves and relishes to go with your cold cuts. In fact why not go the whole way and serve a special local market spread on Boxing Day or for a party – platters of local meats, cheeses, with a couple of salads and the trimmings are excellent grazing food. And a few extra loaves of good bread tucked in the freezer for turkey sandwiches or to go with a bowl of soup will always be popular.
And if you have time to think ahead, it’s a great idea to stock up on local produce as gifts for families and friends. A hamper of goodies is a wonderful way to say thank you to a special friend for help during the year, and an over-worked host or hostess will welcome a carefully selected basket of treats, if you are going to others for the big day.
There’s a recipe for Roast pork with apple mint sauce and ginger sweet potatoes Dauphinois at the end of this article.
The Market Kitchen
Lots going on at the Kitchen this month.
Matthew Kearsey-Lawson from Kent Fine Foods is doing some wonderful stuff with his own and other products.
We will also have John the Baker giving us an insight into baking.
This month he will be making “Old School Beer & Mustard Bread”. The recipe is also at the end of this article.
Need a private baking lesson? …just pick up one of his business cards.
Our monthly charity stall
The Lions will be at the market with their Barrel Organ raising money for various local causes.
Tonbridge Lions are the oldest club in the UK.
Please support them.
To find out more about them www.tonbridgelions.co.uk or you can follow them on twitter @Tonbridgelions
The market gives a free pitch to a charity each month, so please contact us if you would like to take advantage of this. These pitches are going quite quickly so do please get in touch if you are interested.
Future markets and events at the market will include.
- 12th January 2014 Farmhouse Breakfast Market
- 9th February 2014 Scallop Sunday
- 9th March 2014 Seedy Sunday
- 13th April 2014 The Big Curry. With the help of our customers some of the producers are raising money for the Big Curry which is part of the Soldiers Benevolent Fund.
- 11th May 2014 Love your Local Market
- 8th June 2014 Our 3rd Birthday
- 13th July 2014 A Berry Bonanza
- 10th August 2014
- 14th September 2014 A Jam Jamboree – Summer on a Spoon
- 12th October 2014 Pink Sunday. Raising money for Breast Cancer Care. Customers dressed in something pink will have 10% of all the money they spend today donated to this cause. And lots more pink stuff.
- 9th November 2014 Love Cheese. A celebration of local cheese.
14th December 2014 Christmas Drinks Special. Local drinks to make your Christmas go off with a bang
You can now follow what the market is up to on Twitter @TonbridgeFmMrkt , Facebook and Flickr. Follow the links from our website.
Customers wishing to get a reminder for the market can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and just put “reminder” in the subject box or for a text reminder, text “Tonbridge” to 07557739903.
Photos. We now have a good selection. You can view these on our flickr page,
Contact details are
Steve Wood 07876 685853
December Tonbridge Recipe
Roast pork with apple mint sauce and ginger sweet potatoes Dauphinois
It’s when you try a classic roast joint that the difference in flavour and texture of really good local pork more than comes into its own. The aroma of the meat cooking will tell you that this is something special; served with my take on apple sauce and a ginger infused sweet potato Dauphinois, there is nothing better for a Christmas meal with a difference. The potato dish also goes really well with any rich meat such as goose or duck, and makes a good main dish for vegetarians with the addition of some goat’s cheese scattered through the potato layers
Serves 8/Prep 15 mins/Cook (see recipe) 2 – 3 hours
2 – 3 kg joint of locally produced free-range pork (shoulder, leg or loin)
coarse sea salt
2 tbsp plain flour
large splash white wine (about a small glass full)
600 – 800 ml vegetable cooking water or chicken stock
1 tsp English mustard
freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
3 medium cooking apples (Bramley or I use James Grieve from my garden), peeled, cored and sliced
2 – 3 tbsp sugar to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 Remove the pork joint from the fridge an hour in advance to let the meat come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220C gas 7. Pat the skin of the pork dry with kitchen paper then rub well with salt. Place in a roasting tin, skin side up.
2 Roast for 30 minutes then turn down the oven to 170C gas 3 and cook for 25 minutes per 500g until the meat juices run clear when the joint is pierced with a skewer. While the meat is cooking, make the apple sauce. Place the apple slices in a small pan with the sugar and cook gently until the apples break down. Stir in the mint and add more sugar to taste.
3 Remove the meat from the oven, place on a warm dish and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for at least 15 minutes but longer if possible (up to 45 minutes in a warm place). While the meat is resting make the gravy. Pour off most of the fat from the tin and place back on the hob. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in the wine then gradually add the water or stock. Bring back to the boil stirring, simmer for a couple of minutes then stir in the mustard and season to taste. Strain if you want a smoother gravy. Serve with the sliced pork and apple mint sauce
For the ginger sweet potato Dauphinois:
300ml double cream
225ml full fat milk
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1.5kg sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
225ml white wine
225ml chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6. Put the cream, milk, garlic, ginger and seasoning together in a large pan. Bring to the boil then add the sliced sweet potato a few at a time so each slice is coated in the liquid. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the potato is starting to soften.
2 Spoon the potatoes and their liquid into a buttered 2 litre shallow ovenproof dish, arranging the top layer overlapping neatly. Cook alongside the pork for the last 25 – 30 minutes until the top is golden. Serve with the pork.
Thanks to Mary Gwynn for the content of “this month at the Farmers Market”.
See her blog at http://trufflehound.wordpress.com/
You can buy her fantastic books here
Baker Johns Old School Beer & Mustard Bread
1lb 2oz (510g) white bread flour
7oz (200g) wholemeal bread four
12 floz (350ml) beer or cider
1½ oz (40g) yeast, fresh or dried.
¾ oz (20g) salt
2 oz (60g) butter
4 oz (110g) wholegrain mustard
In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients with the butter and mustard. Then mix in the beer or cider. Johns bread will have Dudas Tun Cider in it.
Leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough doubles in size.
Take out bowl and knock back the dough and shape into a loaf. Stand for another hour or until it doubles again.
Put in a pre heated oven 350°F (180°C) for about 35 minutes. To check loaf is cooked tap the bottom and it should sound hollow.
Leave to cool.