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Hold On To Your Hats And Your Tunnel House

Stormy Weather Wreaked Havoc With Producers

The stormy spring weather over the past week has wreaked havoc with some of the primary produce stallholder’s properties.

Clif Fyers of Fyer’s Gardens had his polytunnel plastic torn in half by the wild 140kmh gusts on the night of Friday 11th October. The loud flapping of the damaged plastic woke him up around 3am but because of the pitch dark, the winds and the rain he couldn’t figure out how bad it was until the sun came up. Luckily he was able to fold it back on itself and create two tunnels with a gap in the middle.

Not so lucky was Meg Daly. The aging plastic over her Passionfruit polyhouse finally gave way and the noise was deafening as the plastic snapped and flapped furiously all night long.

Bill and Riria from Big Berry lost a full day’s strawberry harvest as the pelting rain damaged their crop severely so the bruised and battered berries had to be picked before they rotted and discarded, as they were no good - even for jam – too watery.

Mike Roach from Roach’s Roses gave up trying to right his rows of potted roses, which had been blown over as they were just blown over again instantly. The trouble is that if plants are not righted the tips start to bend up towards the light. As Mike says ironically – “ Ah! The joys of horticulture – it’s not a bed of roses”.

Southern Fresh And The Smiling Samoans

The winds don’t affect roots veges thankfully. The Ah Tune family welcomes everyone to their Southern Fresh root vegetable stall with broad sunny Samoan smiles and warm good humour.

They don’t seem to have any name signs up but they don’t need to as their vegetables beckon irresistibly each and every week all through the year. Here you will find piles of freshly harvested colourful vegetables – red, white and orange carrots, orange and red beetroot, fennel, turnips as well as coriander and bags of ready to eat rocket, spinach and mesclun salad mix.

Uncle Reupena (Reuben) Petaia runs the stall with the help of his extended family. Southern Fresh has a dedicated block of land in Cambridge where they cultivate the above vegetables especially for the Cambridge and Hamilton Farmers’ Markets.

This is part of a much bigger operation, which cultivates gourmet baby vegetables for top class restaurants all over the North Island.

Run Down From Monavale Blueberries

MarijeBanks sent through a run down of what is happening on the Monavale Blueberries Farmers Market site this month so here it is in full…

‘We will be going to all of the Farmers Markets every weekend from now on (Te Awamutu, Cambridge & Hamilton). Our fresh organic blueberries are not quite ready yet but hopefully they will start to ripen by the end of this month or early next month. Not too long to go! Our frozen organic blueberries are still available from the markets.

Also new to the Te Awamutu Farmers Market, we will be selling our organic hot drinks range from this week. We have delicious organic coffee, tea & hot chocolate, all made by our fabulous Barista – and made with all organic ingredients.

At all the markets we have our yummy hot waffles, served with organic blueberry sauce and whipped cream; organic blueberry pies, smoothies and ice-creams; our fabulous range of organic blueberry products including jam, spread, chutney, salad dressing, sauce, chocolate coated; and of course our organic blueberry juices. Our juices are very high in antioxidants, taste great and are very healthy too!”

Blueberries are claimed to have many health benefits as well as being a top class antioxidant. Ask the chaps and chapesses on the Monovale Truck for more specifics about these health benefits. The organic coffee will be a fabulous additional for Te Awamutu which hasn’t had a regular coffee cart there ever.

Entertainment At The Market

You never know what is going to be there to entertain you to when you go to the markets. While we have a waiting list for buskers at Hamilton, Amanda Ratuki, our new market manager has advertised for buskers for the Te Awamutu Market and she has had some interesting applicants.

Home schooled children seem to excel at this sort of thing as learning to play a musical instrument is integral to their curriculum and they are often lucky enough to get a lot of one-to-one teaching by a musically talented home schooling mum.

We were treated to the wonderful No Name band at Hamilton again last Sunday. And music from the pair in the above photo whose names I didn’t catch but who sang and played lustily.

Sing-Along With Ray

We all know and love Ray who is a well known guitar man in the sombrero at all 3 of our markets. He astonishes by singing non-stop for 4 hours and never, ever repeats himself. You often see toddlers and young ones dancing delightedly when he sings favourite kiddies’ tunes such as “ I saw a mouse! Where? There on the stair!” The odd stallholder (ahem) gets carried away by the Hawaiian hip swaying numbers too.

Ray spent 20 years as a professional army band member traveling the world representing New Zealand. He spent a further 15 years as a teacher of music, kapahaka and Te Reo but now enjoys the independence of being self employed entertainer.

Music is Ray’s life blood. He says he was born with a guitar in his hand (although his mother wouldn’t agree) and singing for hours on end is his way to keep his vocal chords fit and in tune while raising money for a great cause.

He makes his living being the entertainment for private functions, weddings, birthday parties etc but all the money raised through busking goes to the Maori Battalion Fund for which he has raised many thousands of dollars over the past 10 or so years.

Say hello to this marvellous man and throw a gold coin in his box. He’ll sing a song for you.

Meet The Highway Man

The Highway Man a.k.a Craigie who is a recent addition to the busking fraternity at the Hamilton Market. For a coin thrown in his collection box this gold painted Highway Man will adopt a new position for your entertainment and will hold this unflinchingly until another coin is added.

Craigie takes this art form very seriously and is a member of the Jesters’ Guild of Street Entertainers many of whom specialise in being ‘human statues’. Not as easy as it seems. You try holding a sword outstretched for more than a minute – it hurts. Craigie has a few other incarnations.

You might have seen him on Hamilton’s Victoria Street as the silver painted rugby player and apparently he does a scuba diver too. Craigie makes his living from being a human statue so give him some support in way of the loose change in your pocket. He usually is around where the Lettuce Man is.

Well that is it for this week. Remember to ‘like’ us on Facebook (see right hand side on the Home Page of this website) and lets see if we can get as many likes as the Otago Farmers’ Market – there is a bit of friendly competition going on ther. Also fb is a good place to put your comments – both brickbats and bouquets. We are always pleased to get your feedback on how you think the market can improve.

See you at the markets on Thursday at Te Awamutu, Saturday at Cambridge and Sunday at Hamilton.

Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine.