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Here's what's in season at the farmers' market in March
For market visitors, what’s on offer in March 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 a great opportunity to make most of the last treats of the winter and enjoy some wonderful comfort foods and warming treats before they disappear again till the last quarter of the year.
As days lengthen cabbages, cauliflower, spring greens, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and kale are all good. They need little cooking and are at their best simply shredded and steamed. Or try quickly stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chili for an accompaniment to good local sausages. Beautiful pink forced rhubarb is the only locally grown fruit around now but the season for the fine ‘champagne’ season 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
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 daffodils in the garden – they all make a great excuse to celebrate with local produce, if you really need one!
For meat eaters, pork is an excellent choice (local spring lamb won’t be around for a few months) 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. Try a shoulder joint for the best combination of flavour and texture. 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.
For fish lovers, sea bass is a good choice. Storms permitting, scallops are at their finest now so enjoy one of the great pleasures of the season. Sardines are also good with the cold waters around the coast producing sparkling fresh fish with bright eyes and firm flesh. Salmon is also an excellent choice and smoked salmon makes a lovely light lunch dish or starter for a special meal.
Each month a different farmers' market is featured in Kent Life Magazine along with a seasonal recipe made with local produce HERE>
Why buy seasonal food?