The Kent Food App Blog

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Brand new Why Farming Matters in Kent site!

4th May by Gill Collins

The Why Farming Matters in Kent site is being given a new facelift by those whizz kids at Ether Creative. The site is a first stopping point for anyone interested in the farming industry in the Garden of England. It has up-to-date news and events from around the county to do with farming and plenty of articles and pages on everything from English dairy to the impact of climate change on food production and the advantages of renewables in farming.

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It’s a really eclectic mix of information and the organisation, which helped to fund our wonderful Kent Food App, does a large share of work in promoting great Kentish produce. The site itself includes some great pieces on the advantages of farmer’s markets and organic box schemes and meat producers within the county.

The new site has been developed to give it a simpler layout and new image and we’re pleased to bring you some sneak previews of how the new site is going to look! Its due to launch next week so make sure you keep a look out!

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Asparagus now in season

24th Apr by Suzie Kember

British Asparagus is now in season! And to celebrate this wonderful vegetable we have a list of some great facts compiled by our App’s very own Lower Ladysden Farm who specialise in seasonal asparagus:

  • Asparagus is a member of the Lily family.
  • Asparagus spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils.
  • Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period.
  • Each crown will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer.
  • The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking…early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours.
  • After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.
  • An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong fibrous root system.
  • A well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted.
  • The larger the diameter, the better the quality!
  • Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food which in high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
  • Asparagus has No Fat, contains No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium.


Importance of Farmers’ Markets

13th Apr by Gill Collins

The monopoly of supermarkets over people’s buying habits when it comes to food is clear to see, so why should anyone bother to attend farmers’ markets?

Well, there are a whole host of benefits that markets offer, and a whole range of things that they can deliver that a supermarket cannot. One important thing to mention is that most people claim supermarkets are more convenient because they have a whole host of different products in one place, but that argument can’t be used against local markets! Farmers’ markets vary in size but common to all will be stalls of fresh meat, fish, veg, fruit, confectionary and dairy.

Markets importantly create a direct link between producer and consumer. This allows you to know exactly where your food comes from, how its produced and crucially means that when you’re buying food you have an expert right in front of you who can inspire fresh ideas on how to use your ingredients.

The very nature of markets promotes seasonality and the science brainboxes have been pointing out the health benefits of eating seasonally. The Austrian Consumers Association state vegetables picked and frozen when in season have higher nutrient content than those flown in out of season from abroad, and the British Nutrition Federation’s spokeswoman Sarah Stanner actually stipulates “We recommend that people eat fruit and vegetables in season.”

Farmers’ markets are also key for stimulating local economies. They offer the opportunity for some small-scale growers to sell their products, and keep money within the local community. Some reports even suggest that it benefits other local businesses, in some areas shops around markets have claimed that sales have increased 30% on market days.

Community feeling is enhanced and local areas brought to life with the addition of markets. Environmentally they are far more positive – reducing food miles, cutting down on packaging, and they promote increased bio-diversity and organic farming methods.

Get down to your local markets! The app has a list of 50 in Kent, so you’ll be sure to find one close to you, perhaps even closer than the supermarket…Screen-shot-2010-11-14-at-11.41.43-300x229

Recipes – Keep Eating Local

23rd Mar by Gill Collins

Part of our project with the app is to list a great range of recipes that come from local producers and restaurants. The aim really is to complete our journey through the food chain from producer to supplier, supplier to restaurant, and restaurant to eater.

All our listed recipes come courtesy of people featured on the app and it brings together not only where you can buy great food but actually gives people an incentive to create great food themselves from local produce.

As the weeks go by we’ll be adding in where the restaurants actually source their ingredients from, so app users are linked in to where these establishments actually find their great food.

The recipes section helps make the app as comprehensive and useful as possible. Whether you want to go out and buy great food, eat out at a local restaurant or if you need inspiration for a great dish at home, the app can help out on all these fronts!


Young creative team build a first

9th Mar by Gill Collins

The Kent Food App was officially launched on the 5th March by Why Farming Matters in Kent.

The concept for this innovative scheme was developed to satisfy the needs of the increasing number of people enquiring about local food.  The app is available for iOS platforms; iphone, ipad and ipad mini.

Ether Creative Ltd has been involved with the wider Why Farming Matters in Kent campaign since June 2010.  The young team at the Maidstone based company built the campaign’s website, mobile optimised site and project managed their presence at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Kent County Show.

The Kent Food App is FREE to download and the well-designed interface makes using the app to find local food easy.  The producer research was completed by a part-time school student, the design by a 23 year old post graduate and actually built by James Edmonston aged 17 who started with Ether Creative as a trainee straight from school.

Gill Collins, Director said “building for new technologies is something that young people take in their stride, apps have really only become accessible in the past two years and the young team at Ether are completely at home with the concept and language to build apps for mobile devices.”

Ether Creative Ltd began in January 2010 and quickly started a training program for young people, which successfully employed a young person formally on Job Seekers, two school leavers and the latest employee joined as part of a Government apprenticeship scheme.

The Kent Food App features four main headings; Find Food, Buy Food, Eat Food and Cook Food.  Within the four main functions, producers have been split into seven useful categories; Baked Goods, Condiments & Preserves, Confectionary, Dairy, Drinks, Fruit & Veg and Meat & Fish.  Each listing has an interactive map, email function, telephone prompt, view website within the app, description and image.  The app is also building a library of recipes using local produce.


Big thank you for some of the Producers

27th Feb by Gill Collins

We are putting the final touches to our Press Launch on Tuesday 5th March at the Kent Showground hosts of the Kent County Show.  We will be serving guests and members of the press a Kentish Ploughman’s thanks to

Kent Crisps -Ashmore Cheese and Onion, Oyster and Vinegar, Sea Salt and Biddenden Cider, Roast Beef and Spitfire Ale and Sea Salt.

Midkentgrowers – Growers of new varieties such as Cameo and Rubens

Biddenden Vineyards – Sparkling Wines, Wines, Ciders and Juices

Winterdale Cheese – Winterdale Shaw

Blackthorn Gardens – Artisan bread and wonderful cafe

The Happy Apple – Jams, Jellies, Chutneys and Curds

We will be showcasing the iphone version and the ipad version is now with Apple who will be putting it through its paces and we hope that this will be approved and on the app store for Tuesday.


Kent Farmers Markets

15th Feb by Gill Collins


Over the next few weeks we will be adding more of the producers who have stalls at some of the wonderful Farmers Markets that take place throughout Kent.  The ‘Garden of England’ provides residents and visitors with some really wonderful fresh seasonal produce. How better to enjoy the county’s larder than to pop along to your local market and actually talk to the people who grow the produce.  The best vegetables in season this month; Leeks and Savoy Cabbage. Other vegetables include carrots, brussels, kale, cauliflower and spring greens. One of the best websites can be accessed by clicking the link.

Eat Seasonably

Each Farmers Market has its own listing on the Kent Food App with opening times, location and a list of Kent Food stalls.  Bakery, confectionary, cheesemakers, meat producers and fruit and veg all have stands on a regular basis.  For details about all the Farmers Markets in Kent visit


4th Feb by Gill Collins

New this week to the app is a wonderful place to eat – Googies is an established Café Bar situated close to the Creative Quarter in the heart of Folkestone. Their extensive modern menu includes  delicious in house Gourmet Burgers, made using local Kent raised beef and special seasoning with chunky chips making Googies an essential stop when in Folkestone.  You can also take the opportunity to sample one of Craft Beers both local and International or relax with one of the local wines or Ciders.

The owners pride themselves on using the best quality local produce, in all their dishes, and the bread comes from famous Artisan Baker Paul Hollywood & local juices from Brogdale.


A focus on the Kent’s Butchers and Fishmongers

23rd Jan by Gill Collins

We have seven categories on the Kent Food App and the one we get asked about frequently is “where can I buy meat and fish from Kent?” well there are currently 120 producers listed under this category on the app.  There are directions, telephone numbers and the website address if they have one.  You can even email them from the app.  We will be adding a list of Kentish products they sell in the coming months, so why not treat yourself to something local for your next Sunday roast?

JC Rook & Sons are a household name in Kent with 13 branches and sell a huge selection of meat sourced locally.  Over the next few weeks we will be adding all these shops to the Kent Food App. Click here for details of all branches.

Dungeness Fish was established 150 years ago and is still a family run business. They hot and cold smoke their produce, and the smoked salmon and haddock is renowned throughout the local area and beyond.  The wet fish is inspected, cleaned and gutted at sea ensuring the highest quality produce. They can fillet, prepare and dress the fish and seafood to meet your requirements.

Fish can be bought from their retail unit, they also offer a delivery service throughout the local area.  The address is: Sealight, Battery Rd, Lydd On Sea, Romney Marsh, Kent, TN29 9NJ.


Why buy local?

by Gill Collins

There are many reasons to BUY LOCAL we have listed a few for you to think about.

  • Taste & freshness
  • Travels less miles
  • Uses less pacakaging
  • Traceable

Fruit & Veg

Most importantly local food tastes better!. This is generally because it doesn’t have to travel and in many cases has been freshly picked or produced.

Local food is greener!  Not just in colour… what it means is that with less distance to travel the product is better for the community by conserving energy that is usually used in transportation.

On the whole, local food uses less packaging. Buying produce from a farmers market or from a farm itself often means less packaging.

By buying local food you are supporting local farmers and producers.   Kent has a diverse range of products and produce and we have been known as ‘The Garden of England’ for a good reason – we have a wonderful natural larder and our farmers now how to produce some of the best tasting food in the world!

By buying local you actually get to meet the people who produce your food.  Buying in supermarkets is convenient but faceless.  You can ask questions, explore growing and producing methods and have an insight into the farm to fork process.

Local food is about the future. Supporting local farms today helps keep those farms in your community, ensuring that your children and grandchildren have access to nourishing, flavourful and abundant food.

There are many reasons why buying local is a good thing and the Kent Food App is completely FREE to download. this link will take you to the iphone app store.  The app lists in excess of 400 producers, markets and restaurants that have fresh, local products and produce.

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