Kentwell Hall, the moated Tudor mansion in Long Melford, is best known as an education and tourist attraction. It also has a Rare Breeds working Farm, using non-intensive systems and avoiding chemicals, which produces fine Rare Breed meat. Kentwell is now to host the first of what it is hoped will be a regular series of Farmers' Markets.
Farmers' Markets originated in the US and have only in the last 12 months or so crossed the Atlantic. There are now Markets to be found regularly in East Anglia and elsewhere. The purpose is to give small farmers an outlet direct to the public. There is now an association - the East Anglian Farmer's Market Association ("EAFMA") which is seeking to ensure that only persons really qualified sells at such markets. Equally importantly Farmers' Markets give customers a chance to buy direct from source and thus know where the produce has come from and how it has been produced.
"The idea of a Farmers' Market fits in so well with all the other things we do at Kentwell," says Judith Phillips of Kentwell, who will be running the Markets at Kentwell. "Small farmers are finding it particularly difficult at the moment and we are delighted we can help them find a market. What's more, markets here and elsewhere will give us an outlet for outlet for our own meat."
Live Mediaeval Markets
"The idea is to replicate what Markets always used to be, which was as an outlet for farmers to take fresh goods to sell locally without middle me," says Judith Phillips. "Nowadays most town markets are not like that in that the stall holders seldom produce what they sell. Come to a Farmers' Market and you will not only find the farmers who grew the produce but they will be able to tell you all about their products." Judith continued "the Farmers' market puts the fun back into shopping. Being able to buy different items from different producers and talk about the produce re-creates pre-supermarket shopping."
At Kentwell the Market will be located in some of Kentwell's fine farm buildings including the Overcroft, a large timber framed area 120 feet long by 20 feet wide - open to the oak roof. "All stalls will be under cover, and we shall be providing light refreshments and expect to have a hog roast."
Entry is entirly free. "We make no charge to the public whatsoever," says Judith Phillips. "At this time of year because of the wet ground we cannot open the Gardens or Farm and the House is closed for the Winter anyway. In the spring and summer we hope to have those open as an additional option for visitors."
The Market will be open from 9am to 2pm. Visitors are advised to come early, as producers' stock is necessarily limited.
For further information: contact Judith Phillips or Mary Fitzgerald at Kentwell on telephone number 01787 310 207.