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Curious About Farmers' Markets?

You'll Find Something Interesting

Well now, with the closing down of the upmarket Nosh and the recent furor over the alleged shoddy treatment of New Zealand food producers by a certain Australian supermarket chain, we noticed an increase in new customers last weekend. . If you are just curious about what a Farmers’ Market is all about, we warmly invite you to give us a try. If you came to the markets ages ago and weren't very impressed because we started off so small, please try us again. We now have an average 50 market stalls selling locally grown and produced food at the Hamilton market and around 30 stalls at Cambridge. You really will find something interesting to buy and the free entertainment (people watching) is good too.

Hot Bread & Hot Bakers!

My, but hasn’t it been roasting recently? This is the hottest time for us bakers especially in the afternoons when the sun is belting down on our aluminium clad kitchens, the oven is going full blast while we are stirring, kneading, rolling out, cutting, shaping and generally doing all the physically strenuous work associated with getting those breads and biscuits and cakes all mixed, cooked wrapped and labeled ready for next weekend’s market. Phew! The good people of Volare, Bella Pane, Te Pateka, Mavis and Co and Celtic Cuisine create a wide range of baking some of which is gluten free. From Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns, (Bella Pane) to Cronuts (Mavis) and from Walnut and Fig Bread (Volare) to Onion Bagels (Te Pateka) and not forgetting Irish Soda Bread (Celtic Cuisine) check us all out. You are sure to find something that pleases and the quality far outstrips that pre-mixed mass produced supermarket baking.

Alcoholic Jam

Ian Dunn doesn’t imbibe that much but anything he does have in his liquor cupboard seems to end up in his jams! A few years ago his Raspberry and Cointreau preserve had a great write up in Tempo and this is still available. However he has added a Boysenberry and Port and a couple of whiskey enhanced marmalades. He gave me a mini pot of the Boysenberry and Port to try. I reckon it would be perfect with a fresh scone and a dollop of whipped cream.

Yellow Melons

I talked about yellow fleshed watermelons last week but this week both the Kanes and Clifs Gardens have plenty of these unusual but delicious fruit. Does anyone remember melon balls with toothpicks? I guess that was a polite way to eat melon but hey, nothing compares with tucking into great big slabs of cool watermelon and allowing the sticky juice to run down your hands and neck. My Dad used to say that the only sensible way to eat watermelons and mangoes was when sitting a bath!

Wonderland Cupcakes

When Maree Body showed some flair with creating cute cupcakes her niece Rachel van’t Wout saw the business potential and encouraged Maree to go into partnership with her. Their Wonderland Cupcakes stall at the market is always a very special place to go. The amount of detail that goes into creating the perfect cupcake results in a premium price but what a terrific little treat for an appreciative child, a loved one or as a gift for an older person who already has everything. You can get single cupcakes for around $5 or a gift-box set of 4 for $15. The girls even have mini cupcakes complete with icing swirl and glitter for tiny mouths.

Tomato Avalanche

Tomatoes are everywhere at the market right now. You can pick up some amazing bargains at this time of year. Preserve those beauties as a chunky sauce or a smoother passata (that’s where you ‘pass’ the chunky sauce through a sieve to get rid of the seeds). You could slow roast them with garlic and herbs and olive oil and then preserve them in jars topped up with olive oil or you could just chop them up and put them directly into the fridge in plastic zip lock bags. Freeze them flat so they can be stacked and they don’t take up too much room. Use whenever tomatoes are called for throughout the winter. Easy as.

Sweetcorn Galore

We still have plenty of Sweetcorn available from Linehans and Fresh Pickin’s and that is a great thing to have in your freezer as well. To reduce the amount of space the corn cobs take up in your freezer have you thought about investing in a Kernal Kutter? This makes short work of detaching the kernals from the cob and keeps them whole. Of course you can always just cut them off with a sharp knife but they don’t look quite so good. Check out Kernal Kutter on line.

Passion fruit Galore Too!

Yes this photo has a pair of duck eggs in it – random. But what a fabulous harvest it is turning out to be for Passionfruit this year. You can indulge your passion for this normally ridiculously overpriced fruit by buying directly and very cheaply straight from the growers – Gillian from Fruition in Cambridge, Meg from HerbsPlus Cambridge and Hamilton and Roy from The Front Gate also at Cambridge and Hamilton. We only sell at the markets and have no interest in trying to get inflated prices via the Turners Growers auctions in Auckland. The customers win out and that is how it should be.

Raspberries

Who can resist this gorgeous aggregate drupe? Yes that’s the technical name for bunches of fruits made up of a single pip or stone surrounded by flesh and covered with skin – but enough of the learning – just serve ‘em up with lashing of cream. Available from Jenny or Bob at Bruntwood Gardens and Roy at Front Gate.

Nashis

Just have these in the fridge – perfect for hot humid days when nothing else works as well to cool you down and slake your thirst.

So much good stuff – we are at peak production right now. Come and visit!