WATERCRESS is one of those rare foods that tastes fantastic and is extremely good for you!|It’s also unusual in that it has its own festival, right here in Hampshire.

The seventh annual watercress festival takes place this weekend in Alresford.

Alresford and the surrounding area is well known for its watercress – The Watercress Line, also known as the Mid-Hants Railway, was, famous for taking local watercress up to London to be sold.

The event offers the chance to celebrate the start of the watercress season in the home of watercress farming.

There will be plenty of attractions, including family entertainment, cookery demonstrations and farm tours.

Hampshire Farmers’ Market will be there, giving you the chance to pick up some fantastic local produce.

And there will be a wide range of watercress treats on offer, including watercress scones, watercress pesto and watercress chocolates!

The ‘World Watercress Eating Championships’ return for those who like to add a competitive element to their eating – competitors race to be the fastest to eat two bags of watercress.

There will also be live music, street entertainment, face painting, a mobile farm, circus skills workshops, a climbing wall, children’s cookery workshops and more.

A highlight of the event will be the festival Cavalcade. A horse and cart, followed by a procession of Morris dancers, musicians and children will bring the first leaves of the season to the town, to be distributed to festival-goers by the Watercress King and Queen.

Award-winning Andy MacKenzie, executive chef at Winchester’s Lainston House Hotel and Jennifer Laing, owner of Cresson Creative, will be among those doing watercress cookery demonstrations.

• The Watercress Festival is free. It runs from 10am-4pm. Most of the action will take place in Broad Street in the centre of Alresford. For more information, visit watercressfestival.org.uk.