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Thu 24/11/2016
Shipbourne
Christmas at Shipbourne Farmers MarketMORE

Sat 03/12/2016
Rochester
Dickensian Christmas weekendMORE

Sat 03/12/2016
Penshurst
Christmas Farmers' MarketMORE

Sat 10/12/2016
Rochester
Christmas MarketMORE

Sat 10/12/2016
Tunbridge Wells (Town Hall)
CHRISTMAS MARKETMORE

Sun 11/12/2016
Thanet
Christmas MarketMORE

Thu 15/12/2016
Bridge
Candlelit Christmas MarketMORE

Sun 18/12/2016
Cliftonville
Clifonville Christmas marketMORE

Tue 20/12/2016
Capel-le-Ferne
Capel Christmas MarketMORE

Thu 22/12/2016
Ashford
EVENING CHRISTMAS MARKETMORE

Thu 22/12/2016
Penshurst
Christmas Order CollectionMORE

Thu 22/12/2016
Tunbridge Wells (Town Hall)
CHRISTMAS SPECIALMORE

Sat 24/12/2016
Wye
CHRISTMAS MARKETMORE

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What's in season?
What's in Season








Food writer, Mary Gwynn's December

Just like stir-up Sunday and opening the first door on the advent calendar, a visit to your local Farmersí market is the perfect way to get into the true spirit of Christmas.. Whether itís 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 Ė itís all a world away from pushing an overloaded trolley round an overcrowded supermarket.

Plan ahead to get the most from your trip
Make sure you get the best from your visit and spend your budget wisely by planning ahead and do a bit of research. Make lists of the essentials plus a few treats and surprises to help take the hard work out of all the cooking. Check our individual market pages for times and dates, which suppliers you will find where, and whatís at its best to buy. If youíve forgotten to order items ahead such as the turkey or maybe a goose, phone or email individual suppliers to see if they can fulfil your order ready to pick up at the market.

Whatever you are planning for the big event Ė maybe a succulent goose or magnificent roast of rare breed beef or pork, or just going with tradition and sticking with turkey check what size you will need. 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. Youíll also be supporting vital regional industry and have the satisfaction of caring for the environment too.

Itís a good idea to make a few simple preparations for your trip. If you havenít ordered ahead and there is something you canít manage without then aim to get there early so you donít miss that special purchase. Make a trip to the cash machine ahead of your visit. Some producers do accept cards but many smaller ones donít have the facilities so be prepared. Itís intensely frustrating to run out of money before youíve bought all your essentials. Come with plenty of bags to carry away your goodies, and a freezer bag is always a good idea. And before you leave home itís a great idea to check you have enough fridge and freezer space for your purchases Ė storing them properly is vital to maintain flavour and quality.

What to choose this monthÖ
The wet June, followed by a warm late summer sunny autumn have been good for many growers and producers which means there is a wealth of great produce out there from which to choose. 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 feasting menus for centuries. Cranberries, turkey and pumpkins may have come to us from the new world but we can more than match these imports with celeriac, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, goose, pheasant, partridge, venison, wild duck, oyster, mussels and sea bass. Plan your menu around these and you wonít go far wrong. Donít forget the extras such as sausagemeat and bacon for the trimmings, maybe a chicken liver pate or local hot smoked salmon to serve as a starter, and to round up, traditional Christmas pudding served with thick cream or ice cream, warmed mince pies and a platter of carefully selected local cheeses.

As well as all the traditional festive produce, there are plenty of speciality foods and dishes at the market to help save time and feed crowds over the holiday. A cooked 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 donít forget to stock up on chutneys, preserves and relishes to go with your cold cuts. 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 come in handy.

When it comes Christmas presents itís a great idea to stock up on local produce as gifts for families and friends.. If you are going to others for the big day.offer to bring the Christmas pud, put together a locally sourced cheese board, speciality oils or choose a beautiful savoury pie with pickles for Boxing Day. The changing climate and fashion for micro-production has seen a growth in local wines, spirits and beers, many of them award winning.  And they make a great talking point so why not match your food gifts with a special chosen tipple.


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?