The fudge-making began in her Suffolk kitchen, small packages to be gifted to friends and family during the holidays.

In several years’ time, Lily Turner’s sweet, creamy treats have grown into a family business that has reached the shelves of London’s upscale Harrod’s department store and lets her proudly proclaim on her Twitter page: “I make fudge for a living, how cool is that?”

Despite her unexpected success, Turner still sells small batches of fudge at local farmers markets, as she did in January at the farmers market in Lavenham, England, held every fourth Sunday of the month in one of England’s best-preserved medieval villages.

Milling around the sunshine-lit Lavenham Village Hall, curious customers stopped at Turner’s table to try bite-size samples of about a dozen fudge flavors, from the popular salted caramel to the unusual duo of Goji berry and white chocolate.

With Lavenham’s proximity to RAF Mildenhall, Alconbury and Lakenheath, Americans assigned to those bases can check out the village’s farmers market, and afterward, explore Lavenham’s historical streets and browse the quaint curio shops.

I visited the small but bustling market in late January. The vendors were chatty and friendly, happily sharing details about their goods.

Many merchants, like John Walters, offered free samples. Walters generously poured customers a small draught from his very own The English Spirit Distillery, where he makes gin, vodka and other spirits in small-batch copper pot stills in Cambridgeshire.

“That’s a very classic gin — really, really sunshiny; beautiful over cracked ice,” Walters told a man sampling gin.

Coffee bean vodka begged to be tried: “It tastes like coffee smells,” Walters said of the strong coffee flavor.

Across the room, no ordinary pork was for sale. Kevin Blundell described how he raises Gloucester Old Spots and Essex Saddleback pigs on his nearby Assington farm.

“They’re kept in the traditional way — outside and free to root around and do what pigs do, which is mostly escape and get in the next door’s garden,” he said with a chuckle. Blundell makes his own sausage, cures his own bacon, and sells his pork products at Lavenham’s market. His selection includes “ ‘everything off the pig except the oink,’ as they say,” he said.

A few tables away Will Shropshire and his mother-in-law, Carol Mallet, sold oven-ready pheasant and other packaged fresh game meat, including partridge, pigeon and duck.

“Game is so darn good for you,” Mallet said. “You can actually have a glass of wine since you’ve had a low-fat meal, and you can feel holier than thou.”

Other offerings were plentiful: coffee beans hand-roasted in the Suffolk countryside; piccalilli sauce made from the chef’s great-grandmother’s closely guarded recipe; and soap handmade in small batches in a hobbyist’s and working mother’s kitchen using natural products and scents. There were hand-sketched greeting cards, potted herbs, loose-leaf tea, pottery, and locally brewed wheat beers and ales.

An added bonus: Shoppers can grab some homemade soup, cake or coffee in the market’s small cafe. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., leaving plenty of time in the afternoon to explore Lavenham, a quaint village of timbered-framed homes built more than five centuries ago by wealthy wool merchants. Many of the buildings have been turned into shops and restaurants, their interiors offering a fascinating walk-through under low ceilings held up by crooked beams over slanted floors that seem less than sturdy.

Worth visiting is the Guildhall, overlooking the town’s old market square, with displays and exhibitions detailing the town’s storied past, when its famous blue cloth was exported across Europe and beyond, making it one of the wealthiest places in the country.

Another must is the 15th-century Swan Hotel. If I had more time, I would have partaken in the hotel’s afternoon tea. I ducked in for a few minutes and found many people who appeared to be doing just that. The place, with its oak beams and open fires, exuded coziness.

DIRECTIONS: Lavenham is about 11 miles south of Bury St. Edmunds, off the A1141, less than an hour from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, and just more than an hour from RAF Alconbury. The address for the village’s Guildhall is: Market Place, Sudbury, CO10 9QZ

TIMES: The farmers market is held the fourth Sunday of every month, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Lavenham Village Hall. Lavenham shops and restaurants also are open on Sundays.

COSTS: Admission is free.

FOOD: The market has a small cafe that sells warm beverages, homemade cake, pie and bread. Restaurants are located in the village, from traditional English pub fare to Indian curry. Afternoon tea provides a lighter fare.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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