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Kent Farmers' Market of the month: Hempstead Valley

PUBLISHED: 11:10 19 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 February 2013

Kent Farmers’ Market of the month: Hempstead Valley

Kent Farmers’ Market of the month: Hempstead Valley

Try home-made, hand-iced gingerbread at this vibrant Market offering lots of fun family events

Kent Farmers Market of the month: Hempstead Valley



Try home-made, hand-iced gingerbread at this vibrant Market offering lots of fun family events



The vibrant and bustling Hempstead Valley Farmers Market started in September 2006, with the support and backing of Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre. Over the past four years the Farmers Market has grown into a key monthly calendar event for consumers in search of fresh and locally-made produce.


It has also built up something of a reputation for its fun events which are weaved into the calendar - from Easter Egg hunts through to the Fattest Pumpkin competition, Hempstead Valley has become a great monthly focal point for all the family, with both educational and fun activities running at the Market.


Alongside these key calendar events, the Farmers Market also plays host to some exciting and original producers in the area, and Sallys Ginger Dainties is just one shining example.


Many of us dream of changing our busy lifestyles to pursue a dream, but the Rochester-based couple has done just that. Sally, a former cardiac physiologist at the Royal Brompton hospital, and Andrew, a former freelance project manager, have been running their micro-business since 2005 selling home-made gingerbread at Farmers Markets across Kent.


Andrew explains: We had just started a family and were keen that the children enjoyed as much of our time as we were committing to our demanding jobs at the time. We knew it was time for a new direction.


Sally had an excellent role model in her father, a chef, whom she remembers making fancy pastries at home and taking them to Saturday markets in London to sell. This gave her the inspiration for Sallys Ginger Dainties. We hoped it would offer us a better quality of life by re-ordering our schedules and therefore free up time for our children. Our philosophy was to focus on producing traditional gingerbread using high quality, locally sourced ingredients where possible, while keeping overheads to a minimum. Most importantly, we wanted to enjoy it!


The couple specialises exclusively in home-made, hand-iced gingerbread novelties for happy occasions using traditional recipes and all made in the Garden of England. They also produce some spectacular custom-made centre pieces, from fast cars to surprise cakes and sports scenes, as well as wedding favours and party bags. Their favourite is an Anglo-Saxon style gingerbread church for christenings.


The rich and spicy aroma of baking gingerbread is irresistible. Sally says: We are very proud of the quality of our gingerbread and find that other stallholders share the same pride in their produce. Farmers Markets are a completely different shopping experience from the rather isolated and sterile environment of the supermarket.


Here all the producers are keen to chat to customers, it is very sociable and fun all round, with plenty of opportunities to taste and try before buying. We are committed to bringing excellent local produce to local communities at a fair price.


Sallys Ginger Dainties can be contacted on: 07789 484152


Find us


Hempstead Valley Farmers Market is held in the Green Car Park, at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham ME7 3PD on the second Sunday of the month from 10am to 2pm.


The market features a wide variety of produce including seasonal fruit and vegetables, award-winning meats, preserves and plants and the market also has a rolling programme of special events from competitions to seasonal events.


Pick of the months produce



Artichoke


Asparagus


Broad beans


Fennel


Cherries


Gooseberries


Raspberries


Strawberries


NEXT MONTH: Sissinghurst

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