Food news across Kent
PUBLISHED: 07:34 09 August 2015 | UPDATED: 07:34 09 August 2015
From fruit research to Farmers Markets and top of the pubs, find out what's happening across Kent in the food and drink industry
“When we set up Kent Farmers’ Market Association in 2007, one of our first projects was research into what shoppers wanted to find at markets,” explains Bob Taylor, Vice-Chairman of the Association. “As expected, meat, bread, fruit and vegetables were top of the list. However, plants proved very popular too.”
There are 25 plant stallholders selling via Kent’s 50 markets. While some only attend their nearest market and are amateur, though knowledgeable, enthusiasts, others are running full-time businesses.
Typical of them are Andrew and Mary Lewill, a family run nursery in Bethersden. “We don’t sell from the nursery,” explains Andrew, “So for well over 10 years we’ve been going to Farmers’ Markets, and we now go to 11 across Kent.
“We use markets to distribute to trade customers, who are always looking for unusual, high-quality plants for clients and welcome the convenience and enjoyment of visiting their nearest market to collect them.”
Some stallholders also use markets to promote other aspects of their business, such as garden design and landscaping services More details at: www.kfma.org.uk Follow @KentFarmers on Twitter
Fruit growers striving to improve yields and quality enjoyed unrivalled access to the latest agronomy at Fruit Focus 2015.
Novel developments in pest and disease control, substrates, varieties and fertilisers were on show across the event, backed up by expert advice to help growers optimise margins while meeting demands of their most discerning customers.
Fruit Focus took place at East Malling Research and hosted more than 120 key suppliers to the fruit sector.
EMR itself focused on soil and the multiple roles it plays in sustainable food production and the ecosystem. EMR is advocating for sustainable soil management in this, the International Year of Soils.
Scientists at EMR estimate that soil expertise in the arable sector is a generation ahead of the perennial fruit industry, where replant disease, nutrient management and compaction all warrant urgent new research work.
EMR’s stand showcased some of the key elements that make up soil and what soil does for growers.
Top of the pubs
Shepherd Neame’s annual Pub Awards saw a number of Kent successes among 13 of the brewery’s pubs and hotels across London and the south east honoured at a ceremony held in Ashford.
Awards were given for various aspects of running a successful pub, such as pouring the perfect pint, serving consistently great food and being at the heart of the local community.
The Zetland Arms, Kingsdown was named Wine Pub of the Year for its development of wine in the pub, which has seen sales rocket to almost 8,500 bottles a year.
Brendan McBride at the Sun Inn, Faversham was awarded Manager of the Year. He was recognised for his excellent team-building skills, which have contributed to the continued double-digit growth in trade.
The Managed Business of the Year award went to the Botany Bay Hotel, Kingsgate, which has been completely transformed, while the New Licensee of the Year Award was presented to Peter and Gill Allen from the Mermaid Inn, Bishopsbourne.
The Tenanted Pub of the Year Award went to Alessandro Tinti from the Imperial, Southborough, who with his wife Barbara and sister Stephania have brought a distinctly Italian flavour to the pub, while maintaining the feel of a ‘local’.
Dawn and Tony James, licensees of the Telegraph, Deal, received the Heart of the Community Pub of the Year award for their tireless local fundraising which has seen them raise more than £20,000 for various local causes since 2012, as well as their support and care for longstanding elderly customers.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Les Koncsik of the Crown & Anchor, Faversham, who the judges described as ‘a Shepherd Neame institution’ after 45 years as a licensee.
Foodie events this month
29 August Pop-up cinema and mini trade show at Court Farm, Upper Halling,
Rochester, Medway Ramblers walk, picnic, barbecue, free parking, details at: www.courtfarm.org
29-30 August: Brogdale Artisan Cider Festival, local food and entertainment, tours of the orchards, local crafts and produce, details at: brogdalecollections.co.uk