We are fortunate to live in a particularly beautiful, unspoilt part of rural Kent. Designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Surrounded by picturesque Wealden villages, and nearby market towns, with their timbered and weatherboarded houses, some in parts dating back as far as the 14th/15th Century.
Photo: Sophia Home
One such village is the nearby village of Rolvenden. Originating in Saxon times, it was first mentioned in the Domesday book. For the full history of this historical village, which is well worth a read for those of you who are interested, visit here.
The village church was built by monks from Canterbury in around 1220, and has remained largely unchanged since 1480. With a 14th century font with the arms of the Culpeper family on it, and a war memorial in the churchyard, designed by Edward Lutyens, it is a beautiful and interesting local historical landmark.
Within this ancient church, is a charming farmer's market which is held every Thursday morning. With make shift stalls arranged up the aisle and also overflowing in to the church hall across the lane, it is a sweet arrangement and a happy place to visit. In my bid to shun the supermarket as often as I can, this is not only my favourite place to buy beautifully fresh and lovingly produced food products, but an enjoyable and satisfying way to do much of my food shopping.
The market also has its characters! The vendors form an enthusiastic array of local farmers and small producers. With quite a number of stalls to choose from, selling vegetables, local organic meat, artisan breads, cheeses and preserves, these are a few of my favourites.....
There is the egg man who is always smiling, and quick with the witty comments. There is the plump and jolly woman (reminds me so much of the lovely Ma Larkin from 'Darling Buds of May'), who sells fantastic fresh game and is always eager to share stories and a recipe or two. There is the helpful and polite young man who sells fish, freshly caught that morning by his family's fishing business based in the nearby coastal town of Rye. But my favourite has to be an old chap called Charlie, who has a bit of a twinkle in his eye and calls me 'Duck'. He sells an abundance of the freshest, most perfect vegetables which his friend Trevor grows with love and care on his allotment in the village.......in my foodie book, it doesn't get much better than that.