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What to try at Wye Farmers' Market

PUBLISHED: 16:56 01 July 2019

Family business VJ Game's meat stall is always popular and there are gluten-free choices too (photo: Severien Vits)

Family business VJ Game's meat stall is always popular and there are gluten-free choices too (photo: Severien Vits)

Severien Vits

Working with Kent Farmers' Market Assoication, we put a different market in the spotlight. This time, Wye Farmers' Market

Winding its way around the village green, you will find the bustling Wye Farmers' Market on the first and third Saturday morning of each month. Almost in the shadows of St Gregory and St Martins church, the stalls are a mix of fresh produce and crafts, some raising funds for local community charities.

First stop is Botterells fishmongers. Glistening whiting, gurnard and mackerel alongside lobster and mussels nestled among beds of shiny kelp are being packaged up and served with some cooking tips from Frankie Botterell. This Rye-based, family run fishing business has been attending the market at Wye since 2003.

Frankie explains how her regulars know what they like but how food fashions and tastes change over time. "We've seen an increase in the amount of people wanting kelp to cook with" says Frankie, perhaps due to its sustainability and the deep umami flavour it can offer. Botterells owns two boats which fish along the Kent and Sussex coasts, bringing in a great selection of seafood from local waters.

Honey from Brays Bees (photo: Severien Vits)Honey from Brays Bees (photo: Severien Vits)

Abbey from VJ Game has been selling out of their meats and delicious sausages, with flavours that include wild boar and venison, many gluten free. Mum Julia makes all the pâtés and stepdad Vincent, a registered game keeper, ensures there are ample supplies both for selling fresh or cured in their own smokehouse.

Valentino is running the stall from Enzo's bakery and is doing a roaring trade in calzone, spinach and ricotta pies and doughnuts. A selection of Neapolitan specialities is being snapped up by some younger customers. "We are being asked for more vegan products lately, so myself and owner Vincenzo are looking at what new treats we can bring to the market".

Regulars Ripple Farm Organics bring in a range of vegetables, fruits and salads grown by owners Martin and Sarah Makey. They also offer a box scheme which is becoming increasingly popular, especially as public awareness of plastic packaging increases.

Pretty, hand-tied bouquets, wrapped in biodegradable papers, catch your eye on Flora's Garden stall run by Sarah Mattocks. A Wye resident, Sarah attended Wye College and in 2011 she and her husband were offered a small plot by Wye Community Farm, where they now grow their selection of blooms and foliage, including tulips, cornflowers, sweet williams and larkspur.

Woodpecker Farm are boxing up eggs from their 300 hens. Cheesemakers of Canterbury are weighing up best-selling Ashmore Farmhouse and Wooden Spoon from Chilham are piling high their hand-made jams and chutneys. Pear juice from Perry Court makes a refreshing pitstop and the steaks from Homestead Beef are calling out to be thrown on the barbecue.

The honey from Brays Bees is fragrant, deep in flavour and sold in reusable beeswax wraps. A pretty apple 'rose' tart tempts on the stall of first-timers Claire and Martin, owners of Farm Cottage produce. From the look of the lemon tarts and black pudding scotch eggs, they should do well.

Chris Newman from Ulley Vineyard, Kennington, has been making wine from his 3,000 vines since 2009 and is bucking the trend of traditional French grape combinations by instead working with varieties such as Reichensteiner and Pinot Gris. His Pinkerton Fizz, made from Pinot Noir, has a strong local following.

Ed Smith, the Rebel Farmer, is selling his seedlings and plants. He moved down from London four years ago and decided he wanted to grow as much of his food as possible, with the rest being from local, sustainable sources and not packed in plastic. He is working with Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary school on a gardening project in the village where the children can be involved, understanding where food comes from and being part of the growing process.

Find out more

The market is held on The Green by the Post Office in Wye on the first and third Saturday of the month, from 9am to noon. Visit the Kent Farmers' Market Association website for more.

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