Langley Rural Farmers' Market
by Cheryl Taylor-Maggio
(Langley, Maidstone, Kent ME17 3JY)
Langley's Rural Farmers’ Markets
Langley's Rural Farmers’ Markets, held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday’s of the month in Langley Village Hall and Car Park, in Langley, Maidstone, Kent ME17 3JY from 10am until 1pm, are fast becoming a focal point of village life.
Tea, coffee and homemade cakes and pastries are available, so it’s the ideal place to meet up with a friend, have a cuppa and do some shopping.
When the weather turns cold or wet, most of the stalls move inside the centrally heated Village hall.
During the summer, stallholders prefer display their wares outside in Langley’s Village Hall Car Park, enjoying a glorious rural location, backing onto apple and pear orchards.
What makes this market special are its stallholders, which include some great Kentish characters. Their produce is all grown or produced locally, the quality is high and, unlike some Farmers’ Markets, the prices are affordable. In fact, Langley’s Rural Farmer’s market is currently stealing a march on the local Morrisons, the nearest shop, two miles away.
Stallholders include a baker from Headcorn selling freshly baked bread and some amazing cakes.
Hot favorites include Gypsy Tart, a delicious Kentish treat for all the family, not to be missed! Homemade jam, marmalade, pickles and plants from St. Mary’s Church stall are quickly snapped up by devotees, as are the knitwear, embroidered linens, cuddly toys, delicious scones, flapjacks and fruit cakes for sale on the Hospice Stall.
Cheese buffs come from far afield to sample the mouth-watering hand-made products of The Traditional Cheese Dairy. All the award-winning cheeses are made from unpasteurized cow, ewes and goats milk. Free-range eggs are also available – at very reasonable prices! New for February 2010, a French delicatessen stall run by Eric Chauvel, offering charcuterie, saucisson and a large selection of olives.
There’s a huge following for the famous pork sausages from East Sutton Park Farm – my family are nuts about their pork and pops sausages, but you can choose from pure pork to Caribbean spiced! Not to mention the meaty spare ribs, which recently tickled the fancy of our Parish Clerk, Nicola Dawkins.
Probably the most popular stallholder, local farmer Dan Williams, with his fantastic, crispy-fresh fruit and veg stall, braves the elements year-round in the Village Hall Car Park.
Dan’s family has farmed the land for generations. He grows all his own seasonal produce on his sizeable acreage – a huge range from three kinds of broccoli to four varieties of squash, mountains of soft fruit, simply the best carrots and some beautiful cut flowers – as supplied to Waitrose.
We also have our own plant lady, who dispenses free horticultural advice!
Kentish crafts are gaining in popularity. There’s a lady selling handmade cards and another selling costume jewellery. They even have a lady selling her services – house cleaning and dog walking – whatever did you think I meant!
All are welcome, including children during the school holidays – small is beautiful, whether it’s just a few cards or works of art!
If you’re interested in bartering, Langley’s Market will provide the meeting ground and you set up the trades! Maybe you have a skill that you can put to good use in exchange for fresh eggs, plant cuttings or a jar of jam?
Local farmers who would like to join the market to sell their wares are welcomed, provided their product is made within a 20-mile radius of Langley, is of good quality and value for money. The volunteers from Langley’s Parish Council who run the market, want to offer real food for local people, thereby reducing food miles and supporting the local economy.
Their aim is to nurture a sustainable local food network that brings consumers and producers together, so everyone profits - including the environment! At the same time, the Parish Council want to promote Kentish crafts and support local artists, who are welcome to use the opportunity to display their works or skills.
Langley’s market has a very friendly atmosphere, so you can be sure of a good welcome!
Obviously the market has to cover its costs, but it is a ‘not-for-profit’ enterprise, run by volunteers. All the they ask is a modest fee of £2 per table top from villagers; £7 per market from commercial producers and stallholders (£10 for two markets), tables are provided. So, it’s even cheaper than a boot sale – and a lot more fun!
Further information: Cheryl Taylor-Maggio, Market Manager, on 01622 862962 email: [email protected] or call the Parish Clerk on 01622 842461.