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Here's what's in season at the farmers' market in November
As we enter another lockdown, along with the short days and cold nights, we crave comfort from the kitchen more than ever. Slow-cooked casseroles, homely dishes such as the mashed topped pies, rich flavoured roasts and warming puds all fit the bill perfectly and will help to raise our spirits during this difficult time.
And where better to buy fresh, local ingredients than at your local farmers' market. Different markets will have their own arrangements during the lockdown for social distancing to keep both shoppers and stallholders safe so please check the market pages on this website before you set out.
So, what might you find at your local farmers' market this November?
Local game is the meat of choice this month as the season is well under way for birds such as pheasant, partridge and wild duck. Venison makes a healthy choice as most wild game has 15-20% content than red meat. The lower fat content means careful cooking to avoid letting the meat dry out consequently flash-frying or grilling are better suited to lean, tender cuts.
For easy comfort eating try pies full of ‘real’ meat, such Steak and Kidney, Beef Steak in red wine or ale and Venison pie. Remember that most stews, pies and casseroles actually improve in flavour from being cooked and stored for a day or two in the fridge before serving. It is always worthwhile buying a larger pie and putting the remainder in the freezer ready for another meal.
Colder coastal waters at this time of year make for the highest quality fish and as the temperature drops the range available just gets better. Dover sole, turbot and halibut are rightly considered the very finest eating by cooks and chefs. Omega 3 fish oils. Shellfish including oysters, scallops and mussels are also all good this month.
Root vegetables are at their tastiest now and perfect for mashes, gratins and roasts – they improve with the cold. Look out for parsnips, swede and turnips. Try cooking peeled with a couple of cloves of garlic in the cooking water then mash with a big dollop of butter to go with venison or roast beef.
Main crop potatoes are full of texture and flavour now and brassicas really come into their own this month – kale, spring greens, Brussels sprouts and all kinds of cabbages are wonderful in stir-fries, soups, and hashes or just steamed with grated nutmeg and more butter! Try red cabbage cooked with apple, spices and red wine is another seasonal treat to go with rich pork, or maybe a roasted wild duck.
Apples and pears are in abundance this year, all benefiting from the cool wet spring so try as many local varieties as possible – Bramleys are perfect for using in mincemeat and Christmas pudding so buy them ready for stir-up Sunday at the end of the month. Carry on making chutneys and pickles and remember the eating varieties can also be used in tarts, puddings and cakes.
Enjoy your local food this November, follow the lockdown rules and stay safe!
Each month a different farmers' market is featured in Kent Life Magazine along with a seasonal recipe made with local produce HERE>
Why buy seasonal food?