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Here's what's in season at the farmers' market in September
As the nights start to draw in, the shorter days signal the changing season and with it comes the bounty of a good harvest. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can go wild this month with the wealth of produce on offer. Tomatoes, courgettes, sweetcorn, peas, cauliflowers, runner beans, cabbages and onions are all plentiful and cheap right now, making this the month to try making your own chutneys and pickles. Winter squashes and pumpkins are starting to arrive and come in an amazing array of shapes and sizes, all with different flavours and textures – try in soups, curries, gratins and risottos. It is also the season for local cobnuts and walnuts to use in cereals, salads, cakes and breads .
Raspberries and strawberries are still available but soft tree fruit are at their best and juiciest now so don’t miss plums, damsons and greengages.. They are wonderful for eating (not damsons, which need to be cooked with plenty of sugar !) and using in preserves, ice creams, pies. The blackberry season is also in full swing ideal for crumbles, jellies and jams and you will also find early apple varieties so you have both soft and hard fruit all this moth
Fish and seafood are plentiful this month and very reasonably priced. Mackerel, grey mullet, sea bass are plentiful. Wash down with a glass of award-winning local fizz – English wines, especially those of Kent and Sussex, are winning plaudits worldwide. Mussels are also wonderful now.
Make this the year to eat more local game, particularly venison. It’s the perfect free-range meat – minimum food miles, low in cholesterol and full of useful vitamins. Game is lean and tender and is best cooked for a short time either fried or grilled. Serve a venison steak flash fried with a thyme and mustard butter or marinade pheasant breasts in olive oil, lemon, garlic and chilli and cook on a griddle.
If watching budgets remember that cheaper cuts of meat such as belly pork, shin of beef and lamb shank all taste particularly good and tend to be easier to find at the market, where meat producers use their skills to ensure the entire animal is prepared for home cooks to enjoy at its best with no waste. For lighter meat, try guinea fowl. Cook in the same way as a small chicken roast, wrapped in streaky bacon, and enjoy the flavour, which is richer than chicken and subtly gamey.
Each month a different farmers' market is featured in Kent Life Magazine along with a seasonal recipe made with local produce HERE>
Why buy seasonal food?