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A Marie Celeste Market

The Round the Bridges event last Sunday 17th November required the Hamilton Farmers’ Market to shift to Mill Street beside Rugby Park so many people who weren’t in the know turned up to an empty Marie Celeste type scenario with Sonning Carpark deserted except for a pipe band which was setting up presumably to jolly up the thousands of annual Round the Bridges walkers and runners. We apologise to those of you who didn’t know of the change and were disappointed that the market was not in its usual place but rest assured that all will be back to normal next Sunday 24th November.

For those of you who did make the trek across the bridge, the temporarily repositioned market was actually quite a pleasant experience. The weather was great and it was so nice to have freshly mown grass under our feet instead of the potholed asphalt we are used to. There was definitely a summery gala festival feel about the market and customers were remarking on the open feel and extra space which made getting around less frantic at the peak times. Also the new position attracted lots of new customers who had never been to our market before so that is always a good thing.

Ding Dong Dell For Southern Bell

Southern Bell has returned to the market with their divine thick walled Bell Peppers. This year there was only a 4 month gap between the end of last season and the start of this season. Thanks to the cleverness of the de Jong family, you will be able to enjoy sweet and juicy capsicums of all hues for the next 7 or so months. Frans de Jong introduced me to his son Talford who, with partner Emily, has recently moved back to the Waikato to work with in the family business much to the excitement of Frans and Tineke. To make enough money to support two families the enterprise is set to grow even bigger with capsicums and feijoas continuing to be the two main crops. We wish them all the very best with their growing (literally) enterprise.

Spring Treats- Strawbs, Jersey Bennes, Asparagus and Avos...

and the first of the Tomatoes and Beans….

The Strawberry Farm has also returned to the market so there are now three strawberry producers. All berries are absolutely top quality and so fresh and shiny that you will never be tempted to buy 3 day old, dull, mushy strawberries from the supermarkets ever again. Really, just compare to appreciate the freshness of FM produce.

Avocados and asparagus are also top quality and there are freshly dug Jersey Bennes from Clif and freshly dug gourmet potatoes from Richard at Cato’s potatoes.

Return of Pirongia Harvest

Henk and Pia from Pirongia Harvest have also returned with their beans, cucumbers and soon their tomatoes. Goody goody.

Garden Fever

If you need garden plants see Jenny Cotterall at Jen’s Plants. She and husband Brian had a bright and colourful stall at the Rugby Park market on the 17th. Jenny has several types of vegetable seedlings although her tomatoes are now sold out– She thought 2000 tomatoes would have been enough – wrong Jen. Your tomato plants were fab and just flew off the tables. Plant twice as many next year please!

Strawberries As Ground Cover

Customers have been regaling us with stories of what is growing apace in their gardens at home. One gentleman told me proudly that he uses strawberries as a ground cover in difficult places and it doubles as a prolific fruit producer. What better way to solve a weedy problem? He is also keen on raised gardens and finds them the very best for producing root vegetables as well as leafy greens. He takes his inspiration from the Sustainable Garden at the Hamilton Gardens and uses a ‘Chicken Tractor’ on his raised beds. The chickens scrabble up the weed seeds and slugs and fertilise the soil and then they are moved on to the next raised bed while the prepared soil is planted up! Brilliant and no digging either. Love it.

HerbsPlus Uses All Organic Methods

HerbsPlus is starting to have a reasonable amount of herbs on sale after a slow start. These include Coriander, Dill, Tarragon, Sage, Chives, Oregano, Marjoram, Summer Savoury, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Sorrel, Thyme and Mint. HerbsPlus uses all organic methods which includes not forcing the seeds to germinate before their natural time. Basil is a summer herb that everyone is looking for right now but it requires consistent heat to germinate and grow. Panic not. There is plenty of basil coming and those customers who complained that their early shop bought basil has died should not be that surprised. The nights and early mornings have been cold and the basil mightn’t have been properly hardened off. Replace those sad dead plants with proper ones.

Te Awamutu Rosetown- Movin' and Groovin'

Te Awamutu deserves special mention this week as the famous Rose Town shimmers in its colourful annual glory. November is of course, the magic month for Roses and everywhere you look in TA proud gardeners are showing off their prize blooms. I took the above photo on the way home.

Since being moved to a new position due to the Halloween Light Festival, we decided we liked it enough to stay. This more sheltered spot is beside the I-Site on the main road across from the historic Church of St John. We all love the new site and once Amanda, our manager, gets a few sun umbrellas sorted to give the a bit of shade, we reckon Thursday afternoon market goers will get hooked too. Amanda has put out a few picnic rugs for the littlies so that the older customers can rest their marrowbones on the proper chairs. Last week we were treated to an Elvis Tribute from ????? He sang all the old songs for 4 hours non stop! Thankyaverymuch.

Thomas the Elvis Tribute Performer

The Te Awamutu market is getting famous amongst TA schoolchildren as the best place to hassle Mum or Dad for a delicious after school fresh fruit icecreams: raspberry and strawberry from the Big Berry as well as blueberry from Monovale. Now that the school holidays are almost here, we suggest that Thursday afternoons could be for swimming at the pools, playing on the playground and buying yummy healthy treats at the Farmers’ Market! Perfect.

See you at the Markets!