Just over two years ago, Transition in Kings (TiK), started the local food market on the High Street to increase the availability and awareness in Kings Langley of fresh, local produce. The aim is for villagers to be able to trace the provenance of the produce and meet the producers to learn more about their local products. Produce has to come from within 25 miles of Kings Langley and vegetables must be truly seasonal.
When the present owners bought Redbournbury Mill from the Crown, the mill had been unused since the 1950’s. At this stage the mill was well preserved, although it did need considerable repairs. It was almost unique as a historical record of an early Victorian water-mill. From crop to crust, Redbournbury Mill supplies the bread for the market. There is a fabulous selection of breads freshly baked on the morning of the market at the mill using their own stone-ground organic flour which is milled using French Burr stones. The mill bakery was built in 2005 within one of the barns in front of the mill. Bread baked at Redbournbury boasts the lowest possible “food-miles” with the grain grown, milled and baked all within two miles of the mill.
Hazeldene Native Rare Breeds Farm nestles in the folds of Asheridge Vale (Buckinghamshire) barely a mile from Chesham. The 70-acre farm has been run on traditional principles by Liz and Steve Bateman since 2006. All livestock is naturally reared and allowed to exhibit natural behaviour. Beef comes from English Traditional Hereford Cattle which is a very rare breed with only 1000 cows alive. Lamb comes from Oxford Down Sheep and pork comes from British Lop Pigs which are the rarest of native pigs with only 300 sows alive. Bred from a Cornwall and Devon pig in the 1880s, they are very docile, good mothers and produce excellent pork and bacon. At the market, as well as the meat for sale, you will often smell burgers and sausages cooking, all of which have been made on the farm. The giant Scotch eggs are a particular village favourite!
From Wobbly Bottom Farm deep in the Hertfordshire countryside comes a gourmet range of soft and hard goat’s cheeses made in small batches from milk produced fresh on the farm. The farm is run by Alan and Angela, who have been developing and perfecting their cheese-making craft since 2003. Today, Wobbly Bottom’s freshly-made products range from a simple, creamy soft goat’s cheese to cheddars infused with a delicious range of extras, including tangy root ginger, real ale and mustard, and cracked black peppercorns. What makes Wobbly Farm special is that the people who milk the goats are also the people who make the cheese.
Vegetables are picked fresh on the morning of the market from the TiK growing area at Rectory Farm. TiK volunteers tend the land according to organic principles with no artificial weed killers or fertilisers and plant and harvest the vegetables less than a mile from the market, so not even a food mile! What’s on offer depends on the season, but it will always be completely fresh. Our produce is supplemented with watercress from the River Chess in Sarratt and local eggs from Willowdene Farm.
Michael Youngman has been making honey for many years in Langley Hill and he sells his full range of local honey at the market. A special, and unusual, treat is the ivy honey which can only be made in certain years when there is sufficient ivy pollen in September. It has a very distinctive flavour and has a number of health benefits.
It’s a challenge to source fresh fish within 25 miles of Kings Langley! But while the fish comes from further away, we know that is it very fresh from the sea in Grimsby and tastes just how fish should. Derrick Cheers drives down early on market mornings to be with us with his wonderful fresh fish.
There are a number of other stalls that change from time to time and we are always delighted to welcome new stallholders so, if you would like to have a stall with local produce, please e-mail John Morrish, the Market Manager: email@example.com.
We hope that this brief article has enthused you about the benefits of local produce and that we will see you soon at the market. It’s the third Saturday of every month from 9am to 1pm on Kings Langley High Street outside where the Sorting Office used to be.