Sheltering from the high winds, the stalls at Wednesday’s farmers market (from 10am until 1pm) in Rye, now based at the rear of the Cinque Port Arms by the cattle market, were nearly inside the pub, clustered in the passageway from the street.
The weather forecast had apparently discouraged some stallholders, but the old faithfuls were there.
However a slip of the tongue meant I got a disapproving look when I said at the French deli stall that I was going to have the (just bought) Ardennes pâté for lunch with some brown toast and white wine.
Silly me. Meat! Of course I meant a good red claret from Bordeaux.
Another familiar face was from Sussex Smokers and I swiftly bought some smoked (of course) salmon pâté.
My other choice had the unlikely name of “Grandad’s special Moroccan style sausages”. However, having had a Moroccan son-in-law (briefly) I was attracted to the ingredients which included potent wild boar balanced with apricots, sultanas, cumin, and chilli flakes – so they should keep the cold wind at bay.
Present at both markets was Philip Ashton-Cobb from local Hunts Hill Orchards and he persuaded me (as none of his wife’s alcoholic flavoured jams were present) to try some Seville orange marmalade enlivened with ginger.
He also had some very large eggs – from his geese, who apparently lay only between Valentine’s Day, February 14, and May as, unlike hens, they can not be tricked into laying all year round.
The Ashton-Cobb’s produce was also at last Friday’s re-opening of the Country Market, held in Rye’s Conduit Hill Community Centre from 10am to 11:30am every Friday – except Good Friday when it opens on the day before, Maundy Thursday.
Familiar faces could be found behind the stalls or waiting to get in – and there is always a queue to enter.
The usual stalls included the flowers in front of the stage, the cakes to the left, preserves at the back, and the famous curries from John Holbrook, as well as various craft offerings.
Coffee and cakes are also available to help the chat and Rye’s newest Freeman Priscilla Ryan was among the late arrivals while Colonel Anthony Kimber (taking a rest from the Neighbourhood Plan) was nearly at the front of the queue.
Home-made cakes, quiches and jams vanished extremely rapidly and the only thing lacking this early in the season was a great choice of vegetables – but in time they will arrive.
Image Credits: John Minter, Rye News library.