What’s in season at the Farmers Market: May
Bob Taylor is Vice Chairman of Kent Farmers’ Market Association, manager of Shipbourne Farmers’ Market, a board member of the National Association of Farm Shops and Farmers’ Markets and a member of the Tonbridge Town Team
May brings the first shoots of one of our seasonal treats – asparagus, so if you do find the first pale green spears at the market, buy them! Asparagus is at its best when picked and cooked within hours. Make the most of the distinctive flavour by serving simply steamed with melted butter, griddled with shaved Parmesan or toss with crumbled local goat’s cheese and a vinaigrette. Look out for tender little early English new potatoes and early summer leaves such as spinach, watercress and lettuces. Make the most of green outdoor rhubarb this month in crumbles, pies and fools. By the end of the month the earliest gooseberries should be available, ready to pair up with their perfect partner, fragrant elderflower. Add a head or two of the flowers to the gooseberries for a few minutes as they cook, then lift out and discard. Lemon sole, cod, halibut and sea bass are all good at this time of year and shellfish fans should keep an eye out for razor clams and cockles. For meat eaters, spring lamb will start to appear this month, while local reared beef and pork will be at its most succulent as the grazing starts to green up. Splash out on steaks, chops and fillets and use them simply cooked – grilled, stir fried or griddle cooked for lighter meals.
Inside St Mary’s Church, Elham
A treat for May: the first asparagus