Bargains To Be Had At All Three Markets

The Farmers’ Markets in Hamilton, Cambridge and Te Awamutu have come into their own now that the weather is warmer and the early summer produce is starting to come in.
For a few weeks now, freshly picked spring vegetables have been available direct from the growers Green Fern (asparagus) and Royackers and Avoglade (avocados) and there is a good crop of strawberries from both Kane’s and Big Berry. Both berry growers sell seconds which are excellent value and the only reason they are called seconds is that they are a slightly wonky shape! Some would find that very appealing in a strawberry. For around $6 you can get a 2 litre ice-cream container of wonky strawberries but these are the first to sell out as the bargain hunters scoop them up.

Avocados are at all three markets. Once again you can get what the growers call ‘seconds’. These tend to be smaller but you get 5 or 6 in a bag and sometimes the riper ones are sold off cheaply too. The top quality Hass avos are best purchased when green and allowed to ripen up on your windowsill. They only take 2 or 3 days, as they are mature when picked.

Wet Market Equals Reduced Prices At Some Sralls

If the weather turns nasty at the market you can be certain of amazing bargains at the end of a wet market as produce doesn’t sell quite so well and the stallholders need to shift it. So on the next wet Sunday, don’t skip the market. It is in fact a great time to scoop some brilliant cheapies and half price specials.

Bust Out The Broccoli

Broccoli from Richard Cato is brilliant value right now. He had truckloads of the freshest and finest broccoli. Broccoli is just about the most nutritious vegetable out there and, at this time of year, is very nice when lightly blanched in boiling water, refreshed immediately under the cold tap so it retains its bright green colour and then used in pasta salads along with bright red radishes, Lebanese cucumbers and red onions. – Attractive to look at and attractive to eat.

The Return Of The Tomato Man- The Harbinger of Summer

The Tomato Man, Johan is back after his long winter break. It is always depressing to say goodbye to Johan at the end of May when he has finished his summer vegetable crop because that signals the beginning of the frugal winter months, but then, when he returns, like the first swallow, our hearts are gladdened at the prospect of luscious and flavoursome tomatoes which will be available for months and months – November through to May to be precise. He was selling his sweet little Lebanese Cucumbers over the last 2 weeks but the first of his tomatoes should be here next weekend. Catch “The Tomato Man” in Cambridge and Hamilton.

Fresh Scallops- Get Them While You Can

Fresh scallops are another spring and summer treat which are usually available from Raglan Fish, Rakaia and The Salmon Man until Christmas. Like Oysters there is a strict season for Scallops to preserve the stock, which is very sensible. I rather like that. Everything has its own season and that is how it should be. Going without for a while makes one better appreciate the return.

Order Your Christmas Cakes Now!

I hate to mention it with Guy Fawkes still to come, but Christmas is only 7 weeks away so it would be prudent to put in your orders for Christmas Cakes from Celtic Cuisine. As usual Gluten Free Christmas Cakes can be ordered and also the South Pacific Golden Christmas Cake which is a lighter cake filled with more tropical style fruit – apricots, mango, pineapple and papayas. The dried fruit for the cakes will be steeped in alcohol for at least 6 weeks before being sozzled enough for use in the cakes. Please note, you must place an order for these cakes with Meg from Celtic Cuisine to be sure to get one in time for Christmas.

New & Biologically Friendly- HerbsPlus

HerbsPlus have arrived at the market with their small but perfect range of herbs including coriander, dill, summer savoury, parsley, sage and thyme. The mission of HerbsPlus is to grow healthy herbs in a completely biologically friendly way – using organic methods. Recycling is the story here and customers are encouraged to return their plastic pots for reuse and to drop off their kitchen scraps for composting in HerbsPlus worm farms. The plants are grown on tables made from unwanted plastic pallets and all shade cloth is recycled. Fresh Seed is to be saved from mother plants each year to ensure the integrity of the seeds and all liquid fertilising is from home made seaweed, comfrey and animal manure tea.

Opera At The Market

Young Katie Trigg has been singing Opera at our markets since she was 11 years old. Her voice has matured and now at 14 years of age she is singing with the voice of an adult. She told me that following a performance at a Rotary Club Function where, unbeknownst to her Dame Malvina Major was a guest, she was offered some lessons from the great Diva herself. What a wonderful opportunity for such a young lass! With an ambition to be a professional singer one day, Katie knows the road is a long, hard and expensive one so if you are passing though the market and hear the voice of an angel, it’ll be Katie, singing for her supper, or at least her singing lessons. Throw in a few coins. You may be helping out the next ‘big voice’ to hit the NZ Opera scene.

Strawberry Recipe Competition

Don’t forget, send us your Groovy Recipe for Strawberries and you could win a $50 voucher for the Market and lots and lots of strawberries. We are looking for something slightly unusual so if you think you have an off the wall recipe to share, send it to meg.daly@xtra.co.nz We aim to publish the recipes on a link to this blog.

Gosh, this blog writing makes me soooo hungry. – I’m off to kitchen to fix myself a Volare Bread Sammie filled with market avocado ‘mole and cuc topped off with a beetroot relish from Mel’s preserves.

See you at the markets.