Out and About

Keep It Local Food & Produce Market at Coolings Garden Centre

Keep It Local Food & Produce Market

It is thought that the first ‘Farmer’s Market’ took place in areas around Turkey and the Middle East approximately 10,000 years ago. With that in mind, I consider us so very lucky to be able to have markets of food and produce today. Not so very long ago, many markets began fading out due to the introduction of supermarkets and pre-packaged foods. Going to one shop which sold everything under one roof was considered far more convenient than going to a market.

They almost look alive!

They almost look alive!

 

Beautiful bright colour

Beautiful bright colour

 

Recent changes made by the Government and an increase in health awareness however, has meant that buying freshly grown produce is desirable once again. People are interested in the seasonal vegetables and are making the choice to buy organically.

Delicious puddings

Delicious puddings

 

Mouth watering and delicate

Mouth watering and delicate

 

It is very rare that I get to visit a market of any kind these days, and so I was delighted to find myself able to visit Keep It Local’s Food and Produce Market, held at Coolings Garden Centre. A food and produce market is a very traditional way of selling home-made, home-grown products, and for many people this is still a valuable source of income.

Soft and decadent marshmallows with a variety of flavours

Soft and decadent marshmallows with a variety of flavours – definitely Marshmallow Heaven!

 

Fluffy and pink

Fluffy and pink

 

Gazebos of varying size and colour greeted me in what was a very cold and blowy morning. What I liked instantly about the market was the variation in what was being sold. No two stalls sold exactly the same thing and it was clear to see that each product had been grown, made or cooked with care.

Warm browns with a tasty crunch. Cobnuts from Potash Farm

Warm browns with a tasty crunch. Cobnuts from Potash Farm in Sevenoaks.

 

Chocolate goodness

Chocolate goodness

 

My first circuit of the market allowed me to really study the products on offer, and of course, to sample lots of tasty treats. There is something special about eating a cake, pie, biscuit or whatever it may be that has been home-made. It is a taste unlike any other, which ready-made foods purchased at the supermarket cannot even begin to compete with.

A variety of tastes and colours

A variety of tastes and colours

 

Fabulous fudge in bite sized chunks

Fabulous fudge in bite sized chunks

 

With every stall visit, I met a variety of friendly, chatty (if a bit cold!) people.  In fact, I learnt lots as I walked round, from techniques, ingredients, where produce is grown and experimental ideas to name a few.

Spicing things up with some spirits

Spicing things up with some spirits by Howards of Kent

 

Not everything was edible but these gorgeous candles by the Sevenoaks Candle Company smelt divine

Not everything was edible but these gorgeous candles by the Sevenoaks Candle Company smell divine

 

My second circuit around the market was my opportunity to purchase some of the amazing food items sampled. In no time at all, I had three shopping bags full and a desire to go straight home and try them all!

Considering it was my first market visit in quite a while, I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time browsing and taking in all the wonderful food, drink and products that were on offer. I will also add that the friendliness of the stall holders enhanced my visit greatly and thank you for taking the time to tell me about your products.

pastel delights

pastel delights

 

I really do believe that markets such as this one are important to communities and are also an important reminder that not everything needs to be taken off a shelf in a supermarket. I know that I will continue to visit and support markets as much as I can because there really are differences in the taste and quality of food.

Bottled beers from Sussex's High Weald

Bottled beers from Sussex’s High Weald

 

So as I sit here after a delicious lunch of fresh vegetable soup, accompanied by a wonderful loaf of bread I am already looking forward to another market visit; this one has certainly whetted my market appetite!

rich and rosy full of flavour

bright and colourful full of flavour

 

I think I may go and have another cuppa to wash down the cobnut shortbread biscuits and the odd marshmallow or two!

See the gallery below for all photos taken during my visit

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