My local area is fabulous. The landscape is beautiful, the towns and villages are picturesque and we are surrounded by farms and small holdings which are rearing animals and growing food. Kent is known as the ‘Garden of England’ and there are farm shops and farmers markets in and around all the towns so it is easy to buy local produce. Local produce is fresh, seasonal, has not travelled very far and we should try to buy as much of it as we can.
This morning I was invited to Jane’s who was hosting a bring and buy local produce event, with all monies raised going to Biddenden church.
Some people made cakes while others took fruits and vegetables they had grown at home.
You don’t see cucumbers like that in the supermarket. And you don’t find cucumbers with that much flavour there either!
Jane provided hot beverages (percolated chocolate anyone?) and her usual energetic joie de vivre. One of Jane’s many talents is gardening. She has been growing her own vegetables for years at Pendy’s Patch and if any of you are beginners, she runs courses which start in October.
I haven’t been to Jane’s for a few years and really enjoyed looking round her lovely garden. She has an enviable asparagus bed.
I am trying to grow one of these artichokes, not for eating but because I think the flower is so stunning.
I also exchanged, for a cash donation, a melon, pears and a huge green pepper. And I had a piece of Jane’s Mum’s moist and delicious fruit cake as I had forgotten to eat breakfast before I left.
I went from Jane’s to the Rolvenden Farmer’s Market. I bought some locally pressed rapeseed oil which was handy as I had just finished a bottle. I also bought some cheese and cream from Silcocks Farm for Saturday when I have my sisters round for lunch. Silcocks ticks all the boxes for me. It is close to where I live, organic, and not only do they rear the meat at the farm where the farm shop is, they also butcher the meat there and make cheese and cream. If you live locally and have never been then go. The shop is excellent and as well as meat and dairy products, they sell local produce and have events such as BBQs. Check out their web site and go.
I had arranged to meet my dear friend Stella at the market and after buying our wares we went to her house in Tenterden for lunch. As well as sharing a very similar daft sense of humour we both love our food and Stella shared many cooking tips and recipe ideas. She showed me a cookbook I have never come across but which is now on my wish list; ‘Falling Cloudberries’ by Tessa Kiros which has recipes from Finland, Greece and South Africa. Truly.
We were so busy chatting I completely forgot to photograph either her beautiful new kitchen or the French onion soup with garlic and cheese toast we ate. But I did remember to take this picture of the homemade biscotti and coffee we had afterwards. Thank you Stella, it was fun and interesting, as always.
Supper tonight was dead easy. Leftover shepherd’s pie and lentil bobotie which I heated up while collecting Harvey.
I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful place and to know so many wonderful people who I can spend the day with. It is easy for me to make the time to go to the Farmer’s Markets and farm shops as I am not working at the moment. But to everyone who can, get out there and support your local producers. Buy local to keep it local.