Tonbridge Farmers Market
Sunday 13th March and March is Marmalade Month.
Kent’s Largest Farmers Market.
Second Sunday of every month
Sovereign Way, Tonbridge TN9 1RG
9.30am – 1.30pm
With over 70 stalls booked in already this month, Tonbridge is by far the biggest market in Kent. It has also been judged Britain’s best food market.
February at Tonbridge Farmers Market
Hurray for longer lighter days! As March progresses the daylight increases by a wonderful two hours so that, by the end of the month, we will once again be enjoying days that are longer than nights. Once the clocks go forward on 27th March, it really feels like spring is properly under way and we can hope for a summer of sunshine to make up a bit for the wet of the winter now past.
For market visitors this month, what’s on offer can seem rather restricted as we wait for kinder weather conditions for animals and crops, which will respond to the increasing light and warmth with bounty to come. That’s why March is traditionally known as the hunger gap or famine month. But it’s really a great opportunity to make the most of the last of the winter and enjoy all those wonderful comfort foods and warming treats before they disappear again till the last quarter of the year.
You can find some of your favourite producers at our other markets in February & March.
Aylesford Farmers Market – Sunday 20th March
Elm Court Farmers Market – Sunday 3rd April
It’s also Seedy Sunday at Tonbridge Farmers Market.
At this months market we are holding a Seedy Sunday in conjunction with HadLOW Carbon Community. http://hadlowcc.wordpress.com/
This is the fourth year of the seed swap at the market. Seed swapping is immensely popular in other parts of the country. Oh yes, forgot to say “you don’t have to swap you can always make a donation”.
WHY A SEED SWAP?
For generations gardeners have saved seed to use for the next year’s crop. It is only in recent years that gardeners are annually seduced into buying glossy packets of seed which promise bigger and better crops or blooms.
EU legislation prohibits the sale of many old commercial vegetable strains which means that these are no longer available to gardeners. A variety which may suit your particular local soil or conditions may have been dropped from the list so it can no longer be sold in this country. For example, dwarf peas are ideal for the mechanised commercial market, but many gardeners prefer the 6 foot varieties which taste better, crop for longer and look attractive in the garden. Tomatoes which have great flavour may not be suitable for commercial production if they have thin skins and get damaged easily or perhaps they ripen a few at a time rather than all together. These are the ones that gardeners want to grow but they have been outlawed by the EU.
Old and unusual varieties serve as a reservoir of genetic diversity and may provide genes for disease resistance or drought tolerance which could become invaluable in the future. These seeds may not be sold but they can be swapped!
Schools and community groups can use saved and swapped seed as a low-cost way of growing vegetables and flowers.
We don’t just swap outlawed varieties. You may have a bean which has been passed down your family for generations or a favourite potato which is well suited to Kent’s varied soils and you can pass it on with your cultivation and culinary tips. But seed saving isn’t just for vegetable growers. Flower seeds, bulbs or whole plants can be swapped. Especially easy for seed saving are the cottage garden annuals and biennials; love-in-a-mist; marigold; poppy and hollyhock. Maybe you just have some left over seed packets from last year – bring them along to Seedy Sunday, meet other Kent gardeners, learn how to save your own seed and go home with something new for the garden.
West Kent Young Enterprise
West Kent Young Enterprise are with us this month.
Young Enterprise is a charity to get young people experienced in running their own business.
They will be running about 10 stalls. This is part of their end of year judging so please do support them. They do make and sell some great products and they are here for one month only.
What to buy in March.
Fruit and veg
As days lengthen Cabbages, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and kale are all good. They need little cooking and are really at their best simply shredded and steamed. Or try quickly stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chilli for an accompaniment to good local sausages. Cauliflower goes really well with curry spices so try it in vegetable curries, soups and fritters or in a puree as a base for scallops grilled with cubes of black pudding. And make the most of leeks, carrots, swede and Jerusalem artichokes before they disappear.
Beautiful pink forced rhubarb is really the only locally grown fruit around now but the season for the fine ‘champagne’ variety is short so make the most of it. Use in fools, ice creams and sauces – it goes particularly well with a large pinch or two of ginger. Or make up batches of rhubarb compote and freeze in pots for later in the year. And don’t forget it makes wonderful cakes – crumble topped, or upside down, with almonds or ginger. Serve as a pud with ice cream or keep for the tea tray. Don’t forget that local apples are still good as the storing varieties go on delivering flavour and texture until April.
to stock up on the jams, jellies and chutneys made using this winter’s produce to keep you going over the next few months – you will find old favourite flavours such as rhubarb and ginger and quince, with many hedgerow jams and jellies and many more unusual offerings to tempt you into buying. Why not try a locally baked cake or sweet tart this month when the range of seasonal fruit is limited? Cold weather, the arriving spring, the first daffodil – they all make a great excuse to celebrate with local produce, if you really need one! And don’t forget the first of this season’s Marmalades.
Meat and game
For meat eaters, pork is an excellent choice this month and it’s still ideal weather to enjoy a hearty roast on Sunday with all the family, after a (probably muddy) walk enjoying the spring flowers and increasing bird song as mating and nest building gets under way. Try a shoulder joint for the best combination of flavour and texture. The cheaper cuts are worth trying in slow cooked stews – pig’s cheeks and pork belly, breast of lamb, shin of beef – all great value and superb eating when the weather is still holding onto winter. Or what about that eternal family favourite – a roast chicken? A slow grown bird has more flavour and better texture and goes really well with roast wedges of sweet potato tossed in cold pressed rapeseed oil and a sprinkling of ground ginger before cooking. Serve with purple sprouting broccoli. Or try a chicken cooked in the pot with saffron shown below. Simple cooking works best with a really good bird as the flavour is enhanced rather than masked. And don’t waste the carcass once you eaten the meat off the bones. It will make great stock for using in soups, sauces and risottos. Put the carcass in a large pan with an onion, carrot, celery stick, bay leaf and bunch of herbs. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for an hour. Strain, pour into freezer bags sat in a bowl or jug then freeze. Remove from the bowl, tie up and put in to the freezer.
Rough shooting takes over as the end of the season has arrived for many game birds so rabbit and wood pigeon are both good eating now. And if you haven’t had venison this winter, try some now maybe in burgers or sausages, served with steamed kale and mashed root veg, or make the most of the game mixes that many dealers sell to use up the season’s bits and pieces for pies, braises and stews. Look out for locally made excellent game pies and pasties (and other meat or veggie fillings) on sale at many markets – made with local produce, they take the hard work out of cooking a really good pie. Put a few in the freezer to enjoy later in the year at picnics.
Fish and seafood
For fish lovers, sea bass is a good choice this month or try a wonderful warming fish stew as a superb way of enjoying wondeeful local fish and seafood. Use a combination of cod, mussels and clams in a risotto or soup. Or spoil yourself a little with wonderful local lobsters and native oysters, clams, cockles and mussels. Storms permitting, Kent and Sussex scallops are at their finest now so enjoy one of the great pleasures of the season. Sardines are also good now with the cold waters around the coast producing sparkling fresh fish with bright eyes and firm flesh. Salmon is also an excellent choice in March and many markets offer good local smoked and cures that make a lovely light lunch dish or starter for a special meal.
The Market Eatery
We have a fabulous selection of food at the Market Eatery. You can sit in our covered area, have a chat, watch the band or the cooking demo’s. Hot, cold and alcoholic drinks can also be purchased. Supplying us all these mouth watering treats include:-
Balm’s Noddle Stall. Tasty authentic Thai noddles
The Cherry Berry Co. Freshly squeezed juice.
Eastcourt Manor. Toasted sandwiches made with their own bread.
Jo’s Cakes. Tea, coffee and of course, cakes, baked just down the road in Halling.
Kay’s Kitchen. Breakfast Baps and much more.
Little Brittany. French Crepes with a local twist.
Pinetrees Farm. Award winning Cider & Apple Juice
Sukoo Sukoo. Traditional Indian food. To eat at the market or to take home.
Sussex Wild Food. Burgers & sausages in rolls. Wild boar, venison, pork & beef,
& as a special treat The Thomas Cookie Co will heat up one of their great cookies for you.
The Market Kitchen
As always we will have Matthew Kearsey-Lawson from Kent Fine Foods
will be show casing some of his fabulous goodies in a variety of dishes.
John the Baker will be baking something special. If you want him to show you anything in particular let him know and he will try and demo it next month.
He is still very busy doing group demonstrations in customer’s homes. If you like the idea
of this his contact details are-
Also becoming a regular at the kitchen is Paolo from Kent Collection. He is Michelin trained and does some wonderful stuff with the Charcuterie that his company makes. Call by his stall to see if he is doing a demo. It will be worth watching and tasting.
Our monthly charity stall
This month we have Demelza Hopice Care for Children. Demelza is a children’s hospice charity in the south east of the UK, providing vital care to families across East Sussex,
Kent and South East London
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.
By supporting your local markets you are supporting small and micro businesses, the backbone of the economic recovery.
If you need a bigger fix of Farmers Markets and local produce please come and see us at
Aylesford Farmers Market at the Priory, 20th March and the 3rd Sunday of every month.
Or at Elm Court Farmers Market, 3rd April and the 1st Sunday of every month.
Future markets and events at the market will include.
- 10th April 2016
- 8th May 2016 Real Bread Month
- 12th June 2016 Our 5th Birthday & it’s Kent Farmers Market Month.
- 10th July 2016 A Berry Bonanza & Hartley Morris Men
- 14th August 2016 The Chilli Circus
- 11th September 2016 A Jam Jamboree – Summer on a Spoon
- 9th October 2016 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.
- 13th November 2016 Love Cheese. A celebration of local cheese.
- 11th December 2016 Christmas Drinks Special. Local drinks to make your Christmas go off with a bang
- 8th January 2017 Farmhouse Breakfast Market
- 12th February 2017 Scallop Sunday
- 12th March 2017 Seedy Sunday and Marmalade Month
You can now follow what the market is up to on Twitter @TonbridgeFmMrkt & Facebook. 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.
Contact details are
Steve Wood 07876 685853
Tonbridge Farmers Market
PO Box 325
Thanks to Mary Gwynn for her input in this news letter and other Kent Farmers Market Association literature.
Braised chicken with saffron and garlic mayo
This chicken cooks in its own juices in a sealed pot so remains moist and full of flavour. The rich sauce is thickened at the end of cooking with the addition of garlicy mayonnaise. Serve with plenty of mashed potato to soak up the lovely sauce.
Serves 4/Prep 20 minutes/Cook 2 hours
1.3kg free-range chicken
300ml white wine
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
3 large leeks, thickly sliced
4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
a bouquet garni of bay leaf, sprigs of fresh thyme, celery leaves,
¼ tsp saffron strands
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp fresh egg mayonnaise, bought or home made
2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 -4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Preheat the oven to 180C gas mark 4. Place the chicken in a casserole with the wine, onion, one carrot, one leek, bouquet garni, saffron, seasoning and add 300ml cold water. Bring to the boil on the hob then cover tightly and cook in the oven for 1¼ hours.
2 Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and return to the oven for a further 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. While the chicken is cooking mix the mayonnaise, garlic and parsley together. Remove the casserole from the oven and lift the chicken out. Carve the chicken meat into thick slices and place on a warm platter with the vegetables.
3 Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquor to the mayonnaise to thin then stir into the broth and heat very gently. Don’t allow to boil. Spoon some over the chicken and vegetables to moisten. Serve the rest of the cooking juices in a jug. Serve with lots of creamy mashed potato to sop up the juices.