We call our county the Garden of England - but we couldn’t do that if we couldn't showcase all of our locally-grown produce and fantastic food and drink, could we?
Kent is a foodie's paradise, famous for it's fresh oysters, succulent fruit and Michelin-star dining, and the first port of call for our county's top chefs and budding cooks is usually one of the county's bustling farmers’ markets. So if you fancy tucking into fish from our vast coastline to cherries from our rows of trees, our round up of fantastic farmers markets in Kent will help you put a little more flavour on your plate whatever the season.
What seasonal produce should you be buying right now? Well, as the one of Kent's leading food halls and with a butcher, baker, greengrocer and cheesemaker, Macknade Fine Foods ought be able to tell us a thing or two. Situated just outside Faversham, they are known for their quality of goods and being a community destination in their own right with flocks of people coming from the local area. If you can't get to their Faversham site, you can order online get the likes of seasonal fruit and veg boxes to hampers delivered to your door.
Starting off near the West Station, is The Goods Shed which is quite simply any foodie’s dream! As soon as you walk in you're greeted by smells and sights from cheeses of Canterbury, locally sourced fish, and fruit and veg from as a little as 12 miles away, plus enthusiastic owners of cafes and bars where you can get a breakfast to lunch. Up a couple of steps is the restaurant, which has a wholesome seasonal menu while you watch the bustle below.
Heading a little into Canterbury, look out for signs pointing to the periodic Markets. For local goods including produce to sweet treats, the Westgate Hall Market appears in spring, summer and winter all under one roof, with the added bonus of featuring handmade goods from local makers.
Just outside of town is Bridge Farmers Market who are purveyors of keeping things local. Each market has a variety of stalls, but expect to see the likes of honey products, plants, butchers, chutneys and teas!
Overlooking the sea, Cliftonville Farmer’s Market is an open air farmers market that makes the ideal setting for pondering what to cook up that evening from local goods. Occurring on the last Sunday of each month, 10am till 1pm, you can visit stalls such as a vegan bakery to those loose leaf teas and infusions from small producers and a classic fruit and veg seller! Once you've sampled all the Kentish goods, go for a walk along the cliff tops, head into Margate and find even more local producers...
The quintessential countryside town of Tenterden of course has to have a full farmers market! Situated along the town's main thoroughfare street, Tenterden High Street Market comprises a selection of small independent retailers who sell a plethora of quality produce to suit every taste and budget, and is held on the second and fourth Fridays each month. When you visit expect to take home the likes of local honey, pastries alongside handmade goods such as planet friendly household items to jewelry and even bird boxes!
Another farmers market in a Kentish idyll, and where could we be talking about other than Wye! A community staple for more than 20 years, this local market has stalls full of local bread and cakes organic meat and fresh fish, plus treats such as chutneys and local cheese. To visit the market and do more than a little browsing, head to The Green every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Once you've stocked up, consider heading for a walk along the nearby Wye Downs!
The mission of Quex Barn is to bring fresh local produce to local people. Open every day from 9am to 5pm, this Thanet staple has everything you need to have a Kentish feast - including a butchery, a delicatessen, a fish stall, bakers, fruit, veg and floristry, coffee shop and a restaurant - all under cover too!
Within minutes of a visit to Rochester Farmers’ Market, you’ll be laden with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheeses and chutneys, all local, delicious and seasonal. Held every third Sunday of the month from 9am to 1pm, it'll remind you that one of the benefits of farmers’ markets over supermarkets is you can chat away to the cheese-maker, discuss the best marinades for the meat you’ve bought and hear all about the perfect way to cook those very fresh, seasonal vegetables. Perfect.
We couldn’t list some of Kent’s favourite farmers’ markets without mentioning the historic market town of Faversham now, could we? Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Faversham's Charter Market is bursting with local gifts, household items, plants and trinkets. Plus, if you feel like you always miss the markets, luckily Faversham's is there on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week!
Set a stone's skim from water, the Whitstable Harbour Market is exactly what you'd expect from the town - beach huts playing host to a thorough lineup of traders who create locally sourced, premium and hand-crafted goods from food and drink, art and home goods. Being in the centre of the harbour, you can head into Whitstable town for even more of a mooch around - think independent stores, oysters and bakeries!
To discover more about Kent's fantastic farmers' markets, visit Kent Farmers Market Association.