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Farmers' Market of the month

PUBLISHED: 11:06 21 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 20 February 2013

Farmers' Market of the month

Farmers' Market of the month

Egerton market has been running since 2003, and its continuing strength is typical of a village renowned for its community spirit, but which also reflects the wonderful stallholders we met when Kent Life visited.

Farmers Market of the month: Egerton


Egerton market has been running since 2003, and its continuing strength is typical of a village renowned for its community spirit, but which also reflects the wonderful stallholders I met when I visited.


Andrew Smith lives in the farmhouse near Frittenden that his grandfather built in the 1880s, and where his family have been market gardeners ever since. He sells on the stall with his wife, Joy, and explained how he practices sustainable farming by keeping hens in his barn, so he can use their manure for his fruit and vegetables.


Mike Loseby used to manage a shopping centre in London. On one of his frequent escapes to Dymchurch eight years ago, he saw that the bakery was up for sale. Its only bread and water, he thought, so he bought it and was delighted to move permanently to Romney Marsh. Clearly, he has found his vocation, because he has been experimenting with flour and water ever since, as the wonderful variety of breads on his stall attests.


Alistair Byford-Bates bought the 82-acre Redlays Farm in the 1990s with his wife Lesley, where they keep Ayrshire and Guernsey cows. Finding dairy farmers at Farmers Markets is rare, so it was a joy to see the full range of dairy products on sale, including yogurts, soft curd cheese, crme fraiche and milk which is not homogenised, so that it retains a fuller flavour.


Egerton is one of those Kent villages that is hidden away, and so such a delight to find - and I particularly recommend a visit on a Friday afternoon to take in the market.


Food file


Egerton is half way between Ashford and Maidstone. The Market is held every Friday from 2pm to 4.30pm in the Millennium Hall.


Marshmallow Bakery can also be found at Meopham, Warehorne and Rolvenden Farmers Markets. Andrew and Joy Smith also sell at Rolvenden.


Next month: Vigo Farmers' Market


Shopping tip


Parsnips should only be eaten after the first frost unlikely to be a problem by January. Avoid any with whiskers, knobbles, brown spots or dry patches. Ready-washed and packaged do not last as long as loose ones and with tops on. So, if packaged, remove as soon as possible. Store in vegetable rack away from sunlight for up to three days.


Seasonal recipe Curried parsnip soup


January is surely the time for nourishing soup. After the richness of Christmas, we crave something wholesome to get through the most miserable of months. So, heres a seasonal soup ideal with a dollop of Alistairs crme fraiche and a wedge one of Mikes freshly baked bread.


Serves 4


2 tsp vegetable oil


3 garlic cloves


1 onion


2 green chillis


1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander


tsp each ground ginger and turmeric


5 parsnips, peeled and chopped


2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock


Juice of lemon


4 tblsps of natural yogurt or crme frache


Bread


Heat the oil in a large pot, and then gentle cook the garlic, onion and chilli for four minutes. Sir in the spices and parsnips, then add the stock. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Process soup in blender. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste, spoon into bowls, finishing off with a tablespoon of yogurt/ crme frache.


Serve with bread.


Pick of the months produce


Brussels sprouts


Cabbages


Carrots


Celeriac


Kale


Leeks


Parsnips


Turnips


Pears


Oysters


Partridge


Pheasant


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