Farmers' Market of the month: Penshurst
PUBLISHED: 15:28 20 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:50 20 February 2013
Benjamin Dent, chairman Kent Farmers' Market Association and manager of Penshurst Farmers' Market on its first five years
Farmers Market of the month: Penshurst
Benjamin Dent, chairman Kent Farmers Market Association and manager of Penshurst Farmers Market on its first five years
In the five years since Penshurst Farmers Market first opened its gates in the historic grounds of Penshurst Place, weve staged more than 60 markets and grown from just a dozen stallholders in the early days to a bustling 30 regulars in the peak summer season and Christmas markets.
As the manager, it has been a privilege to work alongside the tireless voluntary team and enthusiastic stallholders who are behind this success. It was a wonderful reward for their efforts and our shoppers loyalty that make it all worthwhile that, by co-incidence, on the day of our fifth birthday, we were named in The Times Top Ten Farmers Markets in the country.
From the beginning, we have incorporated the ethos of markets across the county in supporting local organisations and charities, raising more than 12,000 from running the refreshment stall. It has also been a delight to see how the market has become a social focus for local community, where people can look forward to chatting with friends.
This October were holding our very own Oktoberfest beer celebration, with a chance to meet brew master Andy Hepworth (pictured) and taste some of his distinctive beers which are sold at the market every month.
Hepworths Brewery, which was established in 2001, has attracted loyal fans by focusing on distinctive, quality beer. As Andy explains: Weve concentrated on creating a select collection of beers that our fans rave about, rather than numerous beers that a lot of people like, but only a little."
The brewery itself is situated at The Beer Station, alongside the main railway line through Horsham. Accordingly, some of the beers have railway themed names and labels, like the Sussex Pullman and Iron Horse, named after Richard Trevithicks first steam-powered engine on rails.
All the beers contain barley and hops grown locally. Tapping into the demand for organic produce, Hepworth also brews an organic lager, called Blonde, which uses a traditional Bavarian lager yeast culture. The range appeals successfully to different palates, too.
Pullman is a classic bitter; Iron Horse is a little sweeter, and the Sussex Bitter has a tangy and refreshing flavour to it and is brewed using Admiral and Goldings hops grown just over the border in Sussex.
With Christmas just around the corner, the company also produces a popular Christmas ale, which manages to be fruity, nutty and warming ideal for the festive season. Apparently it will last in the bottle for years, but never manages to in my house.
Penshurst Farmers Market is held on the first Saturday of every month from 9.30am-noon. Set in the grounds of beautiful Penshurst Place, theres lots of free parking and easy access for wheelchairs.
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