Cookies. This site uses only very limited cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are opting-in to have cookies. To see what we use or to opt out, visit our cookies page

Sat 02/07/2016
Penshurst
July guest stall & refreshment stallMORE

Fri 09/09/2016
Tunbridge Wells (Pantiles)
Food festivalMORE

Fri 30/09/2016
Broadstairs
October Food FestivalMORE

Sun 30/10/2016
Thanet
Christmas Craft MarketMORE

Sat 24/12/2016
Wye
CHRISTMAS MARKETMORE

Show 2 more events
What's in season?
What's in Season








Food writer, Mary Gwynn's June

After a slow start from the cool spring, growers and producers are now at full stretch as we lead up to the summer solstice in the latter half of June. June is Kent Farmers Market Month and many of the county’s will be holding special events – tastings, cookery demonstrations, local craft displays an'd much more - so that you can sample the very best that the Garden of England has to offer. As regulars know well, the county’s markets have far more to offer than just traditional fruit, vegetables and meat. Many sell everything from fresh fish and game to a wide range of ready prepared dishes and ingredients such as pasta sauces, handmade chocolates, vegetarian dishes and wonderful cakes and breads.

And the benefits of buying locally at a market are wide ranging. Not only will you get the chance to taste before you buy so you know exactly what you are getting but by going directly to the source, you can find out at first hand how the produce was grown or made. And most will be able to give you storing and cooking tips so you can really make the most of your purchase. Remember that because you are buying locally and seasonally, pricing is likely to be competitive with the supermarkets and often cheaper so don’t fall for the idea that markets are an expensive luxury.

The vagaries of the weather are nowhere more in evidence than with the asparagus crop at this time of year. A cold start meant the season didn’t get going till mid May and growers will be stopping the picking by the end of the month to allow the plants to generate growth for next year so make the most of the green spears while they are around now. Eat your local asparagus traditionally, steamed and served with melted butter, or brush with olive oil and griddle the spears on the barbecue until tender then scattered with shavings of a sharp hard cheese such as Lord of the Hundreds, or maybe Kentish Bluebell or tart fresh goat’s cheese crumbled over.

Try the spears in soups, vegetable gratins or make into a perfect risotto paired with the first tender broad beans (freshly picked little pods can be enjoyed whole) and fresh green peas. I like to stir in a herb butter at the end of cooking once the grains are tender (just whiz butter up in a blender with a handful of mint, parsley, basil and chives). Other veg to look out for are crisp radishes, spring onions, spinach, and of course new potatoes. There are also early cucumbers, runner beans, spinach and courgettes, alongside all kinds of salad leaves now in season. It’s also the ideal time to plant out ‘ready to plant’ herbs and summer bedding plants.

The long days and the warmth also herald the start of the great English soft fruit season with strawberries now appearing as the month progresses – one of the great advantages of local markets is the chance to try some of the finer flavoured varieties, rather than the more robust berries grown to withstand the rigours of the supermarket supply chain that may not have the same flavour. A cool start to the year has meant early strawberries might be slower to appear than last year but they will have benefited from a slower growing period for flavour. Ditto the finest local cherries (Kentish cherries are justifiably world famous), gooseberries and early raspberries.  A favourite way to serve raspberries, cherries and strawberries is to crush them slightly, sprinkle with a little Kentish cherry brandy or Italian vin santo and sugar then leave to macerate for an hour. Serve spooned over vanilla ice cream.

Spring lamb is now at its very finest now and a boned-out shoulder or leg is perfect on the barbecue or simply roasted and served with baby new potatoes and minted broad beans and peas. Look out for salt marsh lamb this month – perfect with buttered samphire. On the fish front it’s really has to be mackerel – bought silvery fresh from the market and cooked the same day to enjoy at its very best. Try it the traditional way for the month – grilled and served with a tart gooseberry sauce. Also good this month are lobster, plaice, sardines and clams.

If your visit to the market coincides with a sunny weekend, plan the perfect picnic. Fill your basket with locally made cheeses, pates, maybe a raised pie or Scotch egg. Then just add a loaf of artisan bread baked that day, some chutney or relish, a bag of cherries and maybe a punnet of strawberries and you are all set. A bottle or two of a local beer or chilled white wine and you have the makings of a feast….

What's Cookin'


Order Mary's latest book, commissioned especially to celebrate the centenary of the WI.
WI Cookbook

celebrate the centenary of the WI
celebrate the centenary of the WI
celebrate the centenary of the WI
celebrate the centenary of the WI
celebrate the centenary of the WI



Read more from Mary Gwynn at:

http://saffronmagazine.co.uk
http://trufflehound.wordpress.com
http://twinseverest.wordpress.com

Why buy seasonal food?