Thursday, 13 September 2012

Summer of sport and autumn of food and drink

Summer of Sport
Well it might have been a bumper summer for British sport but it has been a bumpy season for local independent traders at Whitstable Harbour Village.  The wettest summer on record, in the middle of a recession, with a series of high profile extravaganza keeping people glued to their TV sets, means that Season 6 is proving to be one of the toughest on record. Thank goodness that the weather held for the Whitstable Oyster Festival and for the determination and ingenuity of the Village traders all focused like Olympic athletes. Rest assured no world records will have been broken this summer in the local economy as we try to compete with the all powerful supermarket giants.

New traders to check out
With the recent arrival of at Waltshaws of Whitstable ,  the Kentish food quarter is now stronger than ever. Libby and Becca specialise in turning Kentish produce into very tasty food and you will not find anything like their feta & beetroot roll, smoked mackerel pate and homemade scotch eggs at Tesco. We just need a really talented baker for next season to offer cakes, pies, bread and pastries to complete the food quarter. Other new arrivals to check out at the village are local fashion entrepreneur Laura at Hot Rocking Belle , Christine McNicholas at Driftwood Design, and Steve Melrose our new photographer at the Picture Box . They are all open this week-end so why not pay a visit.

Autumn of Kentish Food and Booze
Keep an eye out on the website and Twitter for details of our Kentish ale, cider and wine promotions coming up over the autumn (hic!). We remain OPEN every week-end until Christmas.

2013 Recruitment
We are now accepting applications from local artists, craftspeople and food producers for the 2013 season commencing 2 March 2013. And please remember to NO GO TESCO.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Whitstable Harbour Village: Season 6

Last week-end marked the start of the sixth successful season of Whitstable Harbour Village.

It’s yesterday once more.

It seems only yesterday that those early pioneering traders were cowering under their gazebos and hiding in their converted portacabins trying to shelter from bitter gale force winds and driving hail. Since those early years the Village has been threatened with eviction, flooding, storms, economic recession, electrical disconnection and harbour redevelopment.

Most people in Whitstable thought we were all mad to try and run a local producers market in a harbour and at times we thought they might be right.

Those courageous local artists, artisans and entrepreneurs braved everything thrown at them by the worst elements of nature and bureaucracy. Now there are thirty smart fisherman’s huts and the village attracts visitors from all over the world. Many of our original traders have prospered, going on to set up smart shops and galleries in Whitstable, Canterbury and Faversham.

Let’s focus on food.

This year we have more of a Kentish food focus with an impressive local food and drink quarter with new additions like Gourmet Fishcakes who were talent spotted at last summer’s EPICENTRE food and drink event at the Whitstable Oyster Festival. Natasha joins us from The Shake Shed in Canterbury to offer their impressive menu of delicious milkshakes and Lewis at the Kentish Cheesecake Company is now offering a hot crepe service in the colder months. With this added to the Taste of Kent award winning Curry Hut, the fabulous South Quay Coffee hut run by Phil and Sarah’s recently revamped Cafe Quayside we have a strong offering of the best in local food and drink. Try an alternative lunch or snack with us this season.

Community Business
In the middle of a tough recession we have more local start up and small businesses on our waiting list than ever before but there is no more space in the harbour and enquiries with other local authorities in Kent have not led anywhere. Despite the struggles of the last five years, I still passionately believe that if you want to have a strong local economy you need to support local entrepreneurs who have a stake in the community and are willing to invest in it. The tragic story of Pfizer only reminds us that giant multinationals will always leave town when the figures don’t quite add up, taking their jobs with them.

Come the revolution all will be well but in the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a sunny and successful 2012 season.