Unlike last year where the season for soft fruit was two weeks late, this year the season is at least 3 weeks earlier than normal!! We have had strawberries since late May and raspberries made their appearance early June! However, following the ten or so weeks of dry weather we seemed to be heading for a drought but hopefully the ‘Wimbledon’ rains will be sufficient to ensure the ‘full on’ vegetable and fruit season keeps on track. Vegetables in season: Beetroot, kohlrhabi, carrots, peas, radishes, spring onions, spinach, new potatoes and broad beans have been with us since late May and now french beans, runner beans and courgettes have arrived. Salads: All sorts of interesting salads leaves, spinach, cucumber are now in season as are some late ‘ready to plant’ herbs, parsley and bedding plants. Soft Fruit: - Strawberries and raspberries have been available for some time now but CHERRIES, gooseberries and red/white currants will be in abundance Meat: The news from Padfield’s farm (Annabelle) is that spring lamb is now at its finest. She also has all sorts of meats ready for the BBQ. Venison is also excellent on the barbeque; try Keiron’s venison burgers and venison sausages. Wendy continues to raise her ‘giant’ chickens. She has an excellent range of game pies and, of course, makes jams and preserves. The Weald Smokery, our smoked fish and meat stall offers an excellent range of smoked meats and fish. Try their hot smoked salmon, a specialty. Fish: At this time of year Max recommends scallops, herring and mackerel all of which are in abundance and are excellent on the barbeque. The Bakery: The Rusbridges have been supplying the market with bread since the market first started (over eight years ago) and they have an amazing variety of breads and confectionery. Try the rye and spelt breads for something different. Cut Flowers: We now have a new stallholder who specialises in growing all sorts of flowers in his 2 acre smallholding and creates table decorations. MARKET RESEARCH: ‘CUSTOMER CHURN’ !!! We continually take a count of the number of visitors as this is the only way which we can gauge the effectiveness of the market. Over the past three years these numbers by and large are very similar every month with exceptions caused by the weather. However, we do notice that we are able to continually attract new visitors. So the key question is ‘Why do we loose previous customers? ’ Maybe it is simply explained by people moving away, or are otherwise engaged on a Thursday morning But perhaps there are other reasons which we should be addressing. If you used to go to the market but now no longer do so we would like your help. We have set up a very short questionnaire on our web site. Go to www.kfma.org.uk then click on Shipbourne. You will find a link to Market Research or contact Bob Taylor on 01732 833976 (firstname.lastname@example.org).