Live in Kent? You've got to read this...
A lot of our team live far from London and commute. When Dan Minett, our outgoing Area Support Manager mentioned he originally moved to Kent for foodie reasons, I was keen to know more and got him to write some tips for us!
Almost two years ago, I made the rather significant decision to move from Central London to the far South East of England, in Kent.
It was a tough decision to make, as I considered what I would be paying in rail fares and what I might be giving up in terms of multi-culture – especially around food! But one of the things that really helped me deal with this was knowing that aside from the bigger house and garden for a lot less money, was that I would be moving to a county famous for its local produce (Kent is known as the Garden of England), which is something I have always been very passionate about.
My wife had been threatening (although thankfully, failing) to become vegetarian for some time because she was concerned about what was going into our meat - along the ethical impact of meat production on the world’s resources, including global warming. One of the first things I did to ensure a compromise was to switch from buying meat from the supermarket to buying it from local butchers when we moved. I am not implying there is anything wrong with meat from the supermarket, but I wanted to know where our meat was coming from – was it ethically sourced and what exactly was going into it?
Where we live, we are lucky to have a few options but we tend to go to a local butcher - Macknadewithin a pretty fancy farm shop. Though fancy looking, the meat is well-priced and it is the only certified butcher of pasture-fed meat in East Kent, working with farms across the South-East that are certified by Pasture Fed Livestock Association- an organisation that supports famers to feed their livestock on a natural diet (herbs, wildflowers, grasses, etc).
Providing animals with a natural diet is quite rare, but it has become important to us because it is good for your health, it ensures good animal welfare, is better for our environment – and produces better quality meat (and milk).
Kent is also becoming known for its quality wines! I have always been a fan of English wines and I would almost always choose a glass of English sparkling wine over Champagne but I had always gone for a Nyetimber (from a neighbouring county), before realising there was some good stuff right on my doorstep.
There are over 50 vineyards in Kent, but my favourite Kentish wines so far are from Chapel Down. I discovered this wine by pure chance on a visit to a small but fantastic Ale House about 5 minutes’ walk from my house, which serves only local beers and wines to a small but enthusiastic local clientele. The sparkling English rose is hand-harvested about an hour down the road and become a family favourite tipple because of its palate of Kent’s finest fruits such as strawberries and blackcurrants – and a touch of lemon sherbet!
There is plenty more to learn and love about Kent’s local produce and there are amazing events on all year round that I plan to attend to find out more!
Did you enjoy Dan’s tips for Kentish produce? Got more Kent food tips? Tweet to us at @JustHospitality