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Tomato Plants and Czech Rohliky

Jens' Plant Boutique- Your First Call For Tomato Plants

Jenny Cotterell lives in Te Awamutu and hidden on the ¼ acre steeply sloping section behind her suburban house, is a treasure trove of beautifully organised trays upon trays of ornamental plants and vegetable seedlings. You would never suspect when viewing from the road aspect, that a thriving home industry is afoot just metres away. Jenny was born with 8 green fingers and 2 green thumbs and 13 years working for a professional plant nursery where she excelled at plant propagation taught her all she needed to know about commercial plant growing. She brought to her hobby home business, the discipline of routine, daily care, immaculately tidy planting and propagation methods and knowledge of the ‘just right’ watering and feeding regimes.

Now, Jenny is lucky enough to have a Brian. Everyone needs a Brian. Jenny’s Brian is attuned to her needs and when she underwent repeated hip operations and couldn’t bend down too well or lift heavy trays, he built her little steps and hand rails to help her get from one terrace to the next. He built raised tables made out of old pallets covered with plastic and he organised an automatic watering system so sophisticated that you have to have a license to work it (or so Jenny says). Jenny believes in recycling and uses unwanted plastic crates from another industry to transport her plants. Her little polyhouses are made from old alcathene pipe and reused plastic – classic Kiwi Ingenuity.
Jenny grows plants because it is in her nature to be a grower and she can’t stop doing it. She has mother beds of daisies, irises, gazanias and lots of other flowering garden plants from which she propagates hundreds of daughter plants. This season she has been asked by the Market Trust to consider growing vegetable seedlings which are spray free so this has challenged her to expand her operation but the resulting healthy tomato plants are a credit to her dedication and skill and they will be on sale at all three markets over the next few months. Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Hamilton
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Jenny’s stall is at the back of the market beside the new Bangin Banger’s Truck and people who have not noticed her before are suddenly becoming aware, as they chomp down their posh hot dogs, of her little stall which overflows with very reasonably priced hand raised plants. This is the antithesis of the vast Auckland Nurseries, which churn out thousands of plants per day. Anyone who devotes their time to growing a small amount of top quality plants complete with handwritten labels and who can give you growing hints and tips deserves support.

Hooray for T A.

Te Awamutu started up again on Thursdays at 2.30ish, after a long winter hibernation the weather was fabulous for once and we had a reasonable crowd of people many of whom were return customers from last year who were delighted to be able to get their Thursday market fix again. Quite a few children were there, it being the school holidays and I heard that one little boy was good at home all week in return for a promise of a blueberry ice-cream from the Monovale Blueberry Truck. I hope he appreciated it.

Vegetable Shortage-Between Season Slow Down.

We are still a little early for the summer oriented vegetables such as tomatoes and zucchini and the winter stock of cabbages and green leaf vegetables are almost at an end so there will be a little bit of a vegetable shortage for the next three weeks. However we still have the Lettuce Man and the Carrots, Fennel, Turnips and other root vegetables from the Lovely Smiling Samoans and gourmet potatoes from Catos at Hamilton. Clif from Clif’s Gardens promises to be back in about 2 weeks with a fresh supply of vegetables from his acreage.

Celtic Cuisine and Czech Rohliky

The bakers at Celtic Cuisine are branching out and trialing some interesting European breads so get in there and give some feedback about what types of heavy breads might be of interest to you. At the moment you can get Czech Rohliky, which are caraway seed flavoured bread rolls that look like croissants but are in fact a delicious seed bread.

Of course Irish Soda Bread or Wheaten Bread if you are from Northern Ireland is a staple on this stall. This is a non-yeasted bread, which is made with wholemeal flour, sour milk or yoghurt and baking soda as the rising agent. This is a flavourful bread with a dense crumb and a crusty exterior. Like any good bread, it doesn’t last long and should be eaten within 2 days or you can freeze it in quarters. Irish Soda bread is excellent with strong accompaniments such as smoked salmon, pork liver pate or traditionally raw oysters on the shell. It is also delicious as toast with a boiled egg for a breakfast that will keep you going without snacking until lunchtime.

Okay – that’s it for this week

Fingers crossed that the changeable spring weather will behave itself for Thursday afternoon at Te Awamutu, Saturday morning at Cambridge and Sunday morning at Hamilton.

See you at the market!

Meg Daly
(Celtic Cuisine)