OUR FARMERS MARKETS April to June 2020 and onwards

As people are aware we took the difficult decision to postpone the farmers markets we operate when the Lockdown was announced on 23 March. It was a hard decision to make however we wanted to honour the Stay At Home message and ensure the health and safety of our customers and stallholders.

Between the end of March and in to June 2020 as a small business we have tried to support many of the stallholders who continued to provide the products which would normally be available from our Farmers Markets. 

A number of the businesses changed to providing home delivery of their products on a very regular basis around the areas of the farmers markets we operated. We’ve helped promote the services they offered, helped set up delivery services, updated the website when we could and used social media to promote items available too.

Following the announcement that Open Air Markets could reopen on 1st June we have spent time looking at how social distancing can be put in place at the farmers markets whilst looking at all the other items like hand sanitizing, gating market areas, stewards, risk assessments etc., that will need to be in place before we can reopen.

Each of our farmers markets has it’s own individual issues relating to social distancing – some of the markets are held in High Streets where we will have to work alongside the shops that surround the market area and ensure queues don’t impact the market – with these markets we will be waiting until mid June with the reopening of more shops to see the impact this has. 

Hall Place Farmers Market  is in a location which is still behind locked gates with no access to the public – when the site reopens here it is likely that a one way system will be introduced, so the farmers market will have to work alongside the measures in place there too. 

Our aim will be to ensure that the farmers markets are as safe for customers and stallholders to attend as possible. We’re busy talking to the different Partnerships that we liaise with to be able to re open the markets with their support

Once we know the re opening dates for our markets we’ll post this on the website

Summer Evening Farmers Market Updated 1st June 2020

We have been running the farmers markets for a long time now but we haven’t organised an evening farmers market so far.

We got the idea for Summer Evening Farmers Market about 10 years ago whilst holidaying in France where they run additional evening markets during the Summer which are very popular. It’s an idea we have been working on for a number of years but we have been looking to find the right venue to run them.

We believe we have found the right venue in Danson House. It’s set overlooking the award winning Danson Park, and is a Grade 1 listed Palladian villa which was officially re opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in July 2005. The Summer Evening Farmers Market will be held in the surroundings of Danson House.

We are looking forward to offering our first Summer Evening Farmers Market on Thursday 14 May and then the 2nd Thursday of the month up to September.

Update: 1st June 2020. We postponed the May Summer Evening Farmers Market in response to the COVID 19 situation. Subsequently we received notification from Danson House staff that no events would take place at Danson House until at least October. This is to allow their staff to focus entirely on the day to day function of the building which is as a Register Office. We’ll continue discussions with Danson House staff later in the year.

17 years old – West Malling Farmers Market

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!