On 4th June 2005 Penshurst launched its monthly farmers’ market and has since run on the first Saturday of each month, from 9.30am-12 noon. It is an outdoor market set up in Penshurst Place car park, with the kind permission of Lord De L’Isle, and is held whatever the weather!
At the end of 2015 it was awarded ‘Kent Life’ and ‘Kent on Sunday’s prestigious Kent Food and Drink Award’s Best Farmers’ Market in 2015, and named by The Times in its Top Ten markets in the UK (considering there are over 40 just in Kent, that is quite an accolade).
Penshurst Farmers’ market is run by a small team of volunteers who ensure that it is set up by 8.30am each market day, and dismantled soon after 12 noon. In addition they regularly market and advertise the market and handle queries from stallholders.
The market consists of over 30 regular stallholders, largely from Kent and in any case from within a 30 mile radius of Penshurst, offering the best local produce in the area. It attracts a loyal following, as well as appealing to day trippers. The stalls provide a huge variety of fresh, local and healthy produce to cater for everyday needs as well as for treats, for a picnic or as a gift. Particularly popular are fresh fish from Hastings and seafood from Rye (and queues start forming sometimes before the official opening time); free-range meats and game; bread; deli products; cheese; beer and fruit juices. You’ll also find fruit and vegetables, chutneys and jams, cakes, eggs, honey, plants and flowers.
Special events such as ‘Game Day’ and ‘Fish Day’ run during the year, whilst at the December market, freshly cooked turkey and duck can be tasted and ordered in time for Christmas, accompanied by carol singers and other festive activities.
Children are catered for with regular drawing activities and ‘bunny hunts’.
Are farmers’ markets expensive?
There is a misconception that farmers’ market produce is more expensive than shop-bought, but all the goods are sold direct from the stallholder which allows them to keep the cost down and the goods fresh!
One or two guest stallholders are invited each month to supplement our regular stalls – we also have a waiting list of would-be stallholders.
Each month a different charity runs the refreshment stall, bringing their own home-made cakes and biscuits – and with outdoor seating this is a perfect place to sit and relax over elevenses (if you haven’t already enjoyed a hot BBQ sausage for breakfast!). The charities regularly take over £200 to boost their funds.