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Coronavirus Kent: Many Kent Farmers' Markets stay open, with visitors urged to pre-order or arrange deliveries

Farmers' markets across Kent are staying open to provide vital fresh food for people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Kent Farmers' Market Association confirmed many would continue in light of the Prime Minister's announcement, as food retailers were considered essential.

Farmers ' markets produce local produce Picture: Sean Aidan
Farmers ' markets produce local produce Picture: Sean Aidan

Though some across the county have chosen to close, many have vowed to continue, while asking customers to pre-order and then pick up from the market, or take advantage of delivery services.

Chairman of the Kent Farmers' Market Association, Bob Taylor said: "Being outside helps - even in Italy the markets were permitted to stay open.

At the weekend, the market in West Malling went ahead, while Bob, who is market manager in Shipbourne, said the Shipbourne market held on Thursday last week had been one of the busiest in the last year.

But he said it was vital that the producers attending were kept safe and therefore numbers of visitors needed to be reduced.

"We are trying to persuade most customers to pre order so they just pick up, plus we offer a free delivery service to those self-isolating and too infirm to get to the market."

The markets which will be closed until further notice are: Tunbridge Wells (Pantiles), East Farleigh, Chatham (Pentagon Centre), Charing, Whitstable, Crockenhill, Hildenborough and Bearsted.

But more are continuing currently, and to pre-order you can visit each market's page on the Kent Farmers' Market Association website.

Gary Curd of Oakapple Farm, Yalding sells Brenda Mullinger some of his inpressive parsnips at a previous Shipbourne market Picture: Chris Davey
Gary Curd of Oakapple Farm, Yalding sells Brenda Mullinger some of his inpressive parsnips at a previous Shipbourne market Picture: Chris Davey

On Tuesday markets planning to open were: Capel-le-Ferne; Folkestone (LEAF); while on Wednesday Rye farmers' market is due to open.

Thursday will see Rolvenden, Shipbourne and Whitfield near Dover on while on Friday Egerton and Maidstone will be open.

The market in East Farleigh will not be open for the time being Picture: Phil Lee
The market in East Farleigh will not be open for the time being Picture: Phil Lee

At the weekend, Saturday will be Bridge, Cranbrook, Gravesend, Hythe, Knockholt, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells Independent and on Sunday will be Cliftonville.

The situation is continually changing and visitors are urged to check the website before setting out, or to pre-order or arrange deliveries by visiting kfma.org.uk/Home

The association is looking at moving to on line ordering combined with volunteers delivering so producers do not need to be exposed and also means customers can stay at home.

For the latest news on events and venues across Kent, and ideas for things to do at home click here.

Jennie Creasy from Far Acre Farm, Marden selling her free range and organic eggs at a previous farmers' market in West Malling Picture: Sean Aidan
Jennie Creasy from Far Acre Farm, Marden selling her free range and organic eggs at a previous farmers' market in West Malling Picture: Sean Aidan

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