Elm Court Farmers Market
Sunday 6th March and March is Marmalade Month
Being Produced in Kent Farmers Market of The Year 2013 & a finalist in 2015, Elm Court Farmers Market is now a regular shopping destination for fresh local produce in the Medway area. We have over 25 producers booked in this month.
March at Elm Court Farmers Market
Hurray for longer lighter days! As March progresses the daylight increases by a wonderful two hours so that, by the end of the month, we will once again be enjoying days that are longer than nights. Once the clocks go forward on 27th March, it really feels like spring is properly under way and we can hope for a summer of sunshine to make up a bit for the wet of the winter now past.
For market visitors this month, what’s on offer can seem rather restricted as we wait for kinder weather conditions for animals and crops, which will respond to the increasing light and warmth with bounty to come. That’s why March is traditionally known as the hunger gap or famine month. But it’s really a great opportunity to make the most of the last of the winter and enjoy all those wonderful comfort foods and warming treats before they disappear again till the last quarter of the year.
You can find all your favourite producers at our other markets in February.
Tonbridge Farmers Market – Sunday 13th &
Aylesford Farmers Market – Sunday 20th
What to buy in March.
Fruit and veg
As days lengthen Cabbages, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and kale are all good. They need little cooking and are really at their best simply shredded and steamed. Or try quickly stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chilli for an accompaniment to good local sausages. Cauliflower goes really well with curry spices so try it in vegetable curries, soups and fritters or in a puree as a base for scallops grilled with cubes of black pudding. And make the most of leeks, carrots, swede and Jerusalem artichokes before they disappear.
Beautiful pink forced rhubarb is really the only locally grown fruit around now but the season for the fine ‘champagne’ variety is short so make the most of it. Use in fools, ice creams and sauces – it goes particularly well with a large pinch or two of ginger. Or make up batches of rhubarb compote and freeze in pots for later in the year. And don’t forget it makes wonderful cakes – crumble topped, or upside down, with almonds or ginger. Serve as a pud with ice cream or keep for the tea tray. Don’t forget that local apples are still good as the storing varieties go on delivering flavour and texture until April.
to stock up on the jams, jellies and chutneys made using this winter’s produce to keep you going over the next few months – you will find old favourite flavours such as rhubarb and ginger and quince, with many hedgerow jams and jellies and many more unusual offerings to tempt you into buying. Why not try a locally baked cake or sweet tart this month when the range of seasonal fruit is limited? Cold weather, the arriving spring, the first daffodil – they all make a great excuse to celebrate with local produce, if you really need one! And don’t forget the first of this season’s Marmalades.
Meat and game
For meat eaters, pork is an excellent choice this month and it’s still ideal weather to enjoy a hearty roast on Sunday with all the family, after a (probably muddy) walk enjoying the spring flowers and increasing bird song as mating and nest building gets under way. Try a shoulder joint for the best combination of flavour and texture. The cheaper cuts are worth trying in slow cooked stews – pig’s cheeks and pork belly, breast of lamb, shin of beef – all great value and superb eating when the weather is still holding onto winter. Or what about that eternal family favourite – a roast chicken? A slow grown bird has more flavour and better texture and goes really well with roast wedges of sweet potato tossed in cold pressed rapeseed oil and a sprinkling of ground ginger before cooking. Serve with purple sprouting broccoli. Or try a chicken cooked in the pot with saffron shown below. Simple cooking works best with a really good bird as the flavour is enhanced rather than masked. And don’t waste the carcass once you eaten the meat off the bones. It will make great stock for using in soups, sauces and risottos. Put the carcass in a large pan with an onion, carrot, celery stick, bay leaf and bunch of herbs. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for an hour. Strain, pour into freezer bags sat in a bowl or jug then freeze. Remove from the bowl, tie up and put in to the freezer.
Rough shooting takes over as the end of the season has arrived for many game birds so rabbit and wood pigeon are both good eating now. And if you haven’t had venison this winter, try some now maybe in burgers or sausages, served with steamed kale and mashed root veg, or make the most of the game mixes that many dealers sell to use up the season’s bits and pieces for pies, braises and stews. Look out for locally made excellent game pies and pasties (and other meat or veggie fillings) on sale at many markets – made with local produce, they take the hard work out of cooking a really good pie. Put a few in the freezer to enjoy later in the year at picnics.
Fish and seafood
For fish lovers, sea bass is a good choice this month or try a wonderful warming fish stew as a superb way of enjoying wondeful local fish and seafood. Use a combination of cod, mussels and clams in a risotto or soup. Or spoil yourself a little with wonderful local lobsters and native oysters, clams, cockles and mussels. Storms permitting, Kent and Sussex scallops are at their finest now so enjoy one of the great pleasures of the season. Sardines are also good now with the cold waters around the coast producing sparkling fresh fish with bright eyes and firm flesh. Salmon is also an excellent choice in March and many markets offer good local smoked and cures that make a lovely light lunch dish or starter for a special meal.
The Market Eatery
We have a fabulous selection of food at the Market Eatery. You can sit in our covered area, have a chat, watch the band or the cooking demonstrations. Hot, cold and alcoholic drinks can also be purchased. Supplying us all these mouth watering treats include:-
The Eatery Food Stall. Burgers, Sausages, Bacon & Fish in a roll & more. Most of the produce is supplied from our producers, including: MB Farms, PJ’s Farm Shop, Pure Kent Oils, Stour Valley Game, Two Suns Quality Fish, Winterdale Cheesemakers.
Jo’s Cakes. Tea, coffee and of course, cakes, baked just down the road in Halling.
Pinetrees Farm. Award winning Cider & Apple Juice
The Cherryberry Co. Fresh fruit juice and in the colder months hot juice.
The Market Kitchen
As always we will have Matthew Kearsey-Lawson from Kent Fine Foods who will be showcasing some of his fabulous goodies in a variety of dishes.
Also becoming a regular at the kitchen is Paolo from Kent Collection. He is Michelin trained and does some wonderful stuff with the Charcuterie that his company makes. Call by his stall to see if he is doing a demo. It will be worth watching and tasting.
John the Baker will be baking something special. If you want him to show you anything in particular let him know and he will try and demo it next month.
He is still very busy doing group demonstrations in customer’s homes. If you like the idea
of this his contact details are-
All our demonstrations will be featuring local drinks this month.
Our monthly charity.
The market gives a free pitch to a charity each month, so please contact us if you would like to take advantage of this. These pitches are going quite quickly so do please get in touch if you are interested.
The market will run from 9.30am – 1.30pm at Elm Court (formerly Wyevale) Garden Centre, Capstone Road, Gillingham. ME7 3JQ
By supporting your local markets you are supporting small and micro businesses, the backbone of the economic recovery.
If you need a bigger fix of Farmers Markets and local produce please come and see us at –
Tonbridge Farmers Market, 13th March and the 2nd Sunday of every month.
Aylesford Farmers Market at the Priory, 20th March and the 3rd Sunday of every month.
Next month’s Elm Court Farmers’ Market is 6th March.
Future dates for the Elm Court market are
3rd April 2016…
1st May 2016…Real Bread Month
5th June 2016…Our 4th Birthday and it’s Kent Farmers Market Month
3rd July 2016… A Berry Bonanza
7th August 2016…The Chilli Circus
4th September 2016… A Jam Jamboree
2nd October 2016 …Pink Sunday
6th November 2016…Love Cheese
4th December 2016…Christmas Drinks Special
1st January 2017…No Market-It’s new years day.
5th February 2017….Scallop Sunday
6th March 2016…Month is Marmalade Month
Contact details are
Steve Wood 07876 685853
Elm Court Farmers Market
PO Box 325
Thanks to Mary Gwynn for her input in this news letter and other Kent Farmers Market Association literature. A recipe from Mary is below. http://trufflehound.wordpress.com
Braised chicken with saffron and garlic mayo
This chicken cooks in its own juices in a sealed pot so remains moist and full of flavour. The rich sauce is thickened at the end of cooking with the addition of garlicy mayonnaise. Serve with plenty of mashed potato to soak up the lovely sauce.
Serves 4/Prep 20 minutes/Cook 2 hours
1.3kg free-range chicken 300ml white wine 1 medium onion, peeled and halved 3 large leeks, thickly sliced 4 medium carrots, cut into chunks a bouquet garni of bay leaf, sprigs of fresh thyme, celery leaves, ¼ tsp saffron strands salt and freshly ground black pepper To finish 4 tbsp fresh egg mayonnaise, bought or home made 2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed 3 -4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley 1 Preheat the oven to 180C gas mark 4. Place the chicken in a casserole with the wine, onion, one carrot, one leek, bouquet garni, saffron, seasoning and add 300ml cold water. Bring to the boil on the hob then cover tightly and cook in the oven for 1¼ hours. 2 Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and return to the oven for a further 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. While the chicken is cooking mix the mayonnaise, garlic and parsley together. Remove the casserole from the oven and lift the chicken out. Carve the chicken meat into thick slices and place on a warm platter with the vegetables. 3 Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquor to the mayonnaise to thin then stir into the broth and heat very gently. Don’t allow to boil. Spoon some over the chicken and vegetables to moisten. Serve the rest of the cooking juices in a jug. Serve with lots of creamy mashed potato to sop up the juices.