Stunning End To May

A Different Direction

What a stunner of an end to May and start of June we had this past weekend! The sun was out and so we’re many of you, which meant that many of our stallholders sold out of their delicious fresh produce at the markets!

This here is my first entry as blogger for the Waikato Farmers Markets. Meg Daly, the original market blogger has set the bar high, and as such it's likely I'll head in a different direction rather than try to emulate her blog style. I've got a number of ideas for the blog including regular weekly topic entries, so here goes - please keep in mind that this will be a work in progress.  

Stallholder Visit- Celtic Cuisine

In my role as market manager, I've recently been fortunate to receive permission from the trust to visit each of the market stallholders throughout the year.  My first stop was with Meg Daly at Celtic Cusine. If I were to believe the google maps navigator I'd say she was based in 'TeKohe', which as I'm sure you can imagine made the street signs and my navigator at odds with one another as Meg is based in Te Kowhai. Note to self: to attempt updating my navigator to one with a Kiwi or as close to that as possible, accent, before my next trip!

Last Thursday was a dirty, damp, grey Waikato morning. Arriving at Meg's place, where the colour of her home offered a bright contrast to what Mother Nature had provided, was a welcome change, as was the fireplace, complete with curled up feline and the smell of Eccles Cake mixture.
Meg, despite having no running water that morning due to issues with her pump, was looking brilliant in her chefs whites (which she said she knew I'd be impressed by). We took off around her property where she described the work she had done over the eight years she's owned it.  This included filling one of the sides of her gully to create a huge area for her two purebred jersey cows - which she said have never given her a drip of milk - making her decision to become a vegan an easier one.

Meg tries earnestly to use organic principles on her property.  She described how she keeps the seeds from the produce she grows and then reuses them - working on the principle that after a seed has been used and grown three items it becomes organic. Meg's a great believer and user of compost; she has a huge pile which requires a bob cat to turn it once a year; this provides nutrients to her many trees and plants.

Tunnel Houses

Meg has multiple tunnel houses which in my estimation are enormous; they house her prolific passionfruit of which she has two varieties, the seedlings she and her assistant have been growing for Herbs Plus, her 50 chickens that unfortunately aren't that fond of laying in abundance!

Passionfruit last for eight years and one of Meg's varieties is due to be replaced; the other younger one is thriving in a tunnel house which provides a greater level of protection from the elements (as storms in the winter past ripped off several sections of the tunnel houses roofing). Meg uses some very creative ways to keep the tunnel houses warm such as the old tired pictured below, which store up heat which is slowly released thoughout the day.

Meg's property has so much variety between the plum trees, wetland, her vege garden, the space she's allocated to grow much needed winter vegetables for the market, the homestay aspect of her house, the Woofas she takes on and the commercial kitchen, there is a lot going on at Meg's!

Baking Creations

After our wander around the farm, the pump person arrived to give some much needed attention to the troublesome pump. I took the opportunity to pop back inside to where Teresa, Meg's baking assistant, was making Eccles Cakes. It was mesmerizing to watch her cut and fill each square of pastry with apple and sultanas which had been soaked overnight, then expertly wrap them up before they are scored, sprinkled with sugar and eventually baked.
When the water was back on line it was time to catch up on the baking. While I did some damage to a pile of dishes in a kitchen sink - which I could have bathed in - Meg set to work on her Bara Birth.  It was a pleasure to watch her at work creating tasty, traditional, nutritious morsels which bring pleasure to so many each weekend at the markets.

My trip to 'TeKohe' was a great one! It's given me a greater understanding of the projects Meg speaks about, and has given me plenty of new information to store away and share with you!

Something New

I'd like to feature something that's new in the markets each week, and this week it's Persimmons.

Michael Chu from Riverglade Persimmons in Tamahere joined us last Saturday and Sunday at the markets with his Fuyu Persimmons, which are sweet and crunchy. He will be at the markets until the short season is over in the next 2-3 weeks.

Recipe Of The Week

Here's something I quite literally threw in the crock pot Tuesday morning before heading out, and it had pretty favorable responses from men and children alike.  

Spicy Plainsview Tom Soup.
2-3 sandwich sized ziplock bags of tomatoes- I used frozen ones
1 cube of vege stock dissolved with a cup of boiling water
1 onion roughly diced- I used a mid sized red one
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 large chilli- de-seeded, sliced and diced
3 Kafia lime leaves
1/2-1 c of quinoa (optional)  
Season to taste

Put all the ingredients (of which all the produce is available at the markets) in the crock pot or soup pot, and let it cook, once quinoa has turned into coils, or the ingredients have softened it's ready.
Fish out the Kafia leaves then you can either blend it or just use a potato masher for a rustic soup.
This with some of Celtic Cuisines Irish Soda Bread, which Meg will have available as rolls this week, after what may prove to have been a stroke of genius on my part last week, would be superb, otherwise some crusty or multigrain toast would do the trick.

Enjoy with friends.

Whats Coming Up In The Markets This Weekend?

The kind folks at Tempo Magazine, which is a lift out section in the Waikato Times each Wednesday, are publishing an article each week about what's available in the markets in the weekend ahead.

So here I'll provide the link to the online version of Tempo so that with the click of your mouse or finger you can be informed about what to expect in the weekend.

Just click here to find out what's coming up!

That's All Folks

That’s all I've got for this week! By all means give me some feedback that I can use to inform how I proceed in the weeks ahead with the blog.

Thank for reading, and in the words of our previous blogger, which I'm going to borrow, see you at the markets.