First Farmers’ Market

First ever farmers’ market

The Warm weather attracted scores of eager shoppers to Horsmonden’s first ever farmers’ market on Friday helping to make the event a real runaway success.

A steady stream of expectant customers flocked to the village green from 9am, with the 17 stallholders reporting brisk business during the three hours and some even running out of produce midway through the morning.

Fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, bread, cheeses, plants, jams, fudge, pies, apple juice, teas and even chilli oils were snapped up by villagers and visitors alike, with many stopping to sit and bask in the sunshine after filling their shopping bags.

The idea for a market was dreamed up by a five-strong team of Horsmonden mothers back in November to encourage residents to support independent producers and give people access to fresh produce.

Among the many shoppers browsing and buying, the overall verdict seemed to be a firm thumbs up for the market which it is hoped will become a fortnightly Friday fixture in the village.

Brenchley Road resident Queenie Brett, 81, who bought a selection of vegetables, said she liked the market’s social feel and would welcome an even bigger variety of stalls. “I think it is a great idea, I have bumped into so many people I know this morning, some I haven’t seen for years. A fresh fish stall would be nice though,” she said.

Trawling the stalls for fresh ingredients, including game and pigeon, head chef at Goudhurst Road-based The Gun and Spitroast Richard Duckworth, 51, said: “If this grows it will be really fantastic for ourselves and gives us more choice.”

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark, who was also spotted doing some weekly shopping, said it was important the market supported the existing village economy and it seemed to have struck the right balance.

“It is a fantastic occasion with a wonderful atmosphere and several stallholders have told me they sold out in an hour-and-a-half.

“It is particularly important that it must generate interest for the village shops. It seems having spoken to the shops here that it seems to be attracting new customers rather than taking customers away.”

Speaking to the Kent and Sussex Courier on Friday, organiser Liz Taylor, 41, of Maidstone Road, said the team was “delighted” with the turnout and interest in the new market.

“It’s fantastic and I think the weather really helped. All the stallholders are thrilled, some underestimated how much they would sell, so there will be even more next time, she said.

The next market will be held on May 19 from 9am until 12noon. For more information call Mrs Taylor on 01892 725798.

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