West Malling Farmers Market was started in 2000 by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council who initially employed a member of staff to run the farmers market. The Farmers Market was then run for a period of time by Hughmark International until February 2009 when this company went in to Administration.
In March 2009 My Farmers Market put together a proposal to support the operation of West Malling Farmers Market to ensure that the market continued to take place. The proposal was put together as a number of the producers did not want to see the farmers market close. West Malling Parish Council secured a small amount of money to ensure that the initial costs of for the road closure was available to ensure the farmers market could operate for a period of 2 years by which time it had to be sustainable and be financially able to support itself. In April 2009 My Farmers Market Limited took over the management of running the farmers market
West Malling Farmers Market in July 2009
Gradually over the years the farmers market increased the number of stalls attending but continued to have a traditional farmers market feel – this continues in 2017 with a focus still being predominantly on food and drink with a small percentage of craft stalls. This fits with the original National Association of Farmers Markets criteria (which the farmers market had been an accredited member). The Farmers Market is currently a member of FARMA in it’s own right. The farmers market has supported a number of local events which has included the Christmas Light Switch On Events, Community Group Event Day, St Georges Day Parades and Farmers Market month activities. In 2017 the market regularly has over 35 different producers attending.
To attend the farmers market the stallholder has to be involved in the production of the item in some way. They should be involved either in the growing ,rearing, catching, brewing, baking or processing of the item. In addition the producer should be based within a 30 mile radius of West Malling or further for products that can’t be sourced as being made locally. Many of the producers supporting West Malling Farmers Market are based within 5 miles of West Malling. The farmers markets really help the local economy and support small businesses.
The farmers market gives an opportunity to talk directly with the producer and to ask them questions about the product they are selling, how it is grown or made or when the item was produced.
The farmers market also offers a pitch space for local charities and groups to promote any special event, service etc., which they would like local residents to hear about.
The farmers market operates an email reminder service on request which gives an update about the farmers market and is sent a couple of days prior to the farmers market taking place
West Malling Farmers Market runs from 9.30 to 1.30 on the 4th Sunday of the month (not the last Sunday of the month). The High street is closed to traffic during the farmers market and there is free parking nearby for those who visit West Malling.
West Malling Farmers Market in March 2017
A number of the stallholders have won Taste of Kent awards or are members of Produced in Kent. Some have also won regional and national awards for their products too. Some of the producers operate loyalty schemes and many producers take orders in advance for their product to ensure the customer gets exactly what they want.
In October 2016 West Malling Farmers Market was announced as the Best Farmers Market In Kent in the Kent Life/Kent on Sunday Food and Drink Awards. This really was a great achievement as the nominations are made by the public. In April 2017 the farmers market was also announced as a finalist in the Best Market category of the UK Farm Shops and Deli Awards.
If you’d like to find out more about what’s available at the farmers market each month you can find us on social media West Malling Farmers Market has it’s own facebook page or if you’re a twitter fan details about the market are tweeted from @mfarmersmarket.
We look forward to seeing you soon!