The Low Down On The Lettuce Man

Entertaining Buskers At The Markets!

Those of you who attended the markets this past weekend would have heard the operatic talents of Katie Trigg in Cambridge and first timers to the Hamilton markets local duo 'Looking For Alaska' comprising of Amy and Aaron, we really were treated to a winning performance by them!

Stallholder Visit- The Lettuce Man

I'd heard through the inter-stall-holder chatter that Ian's place was something else! I'd even visited his website to check out what the fuss was about and the website did not disappoint.  However, visiting his place on Karapiro Road far exceeded my expectations – in fact – it was breath-taking.

Finding Ian's place was more difficult than expected as there is no sign post. His place is significantly secluded from the main road mayhem, and, not to mention, it's under lock and key. Ian drove out to punch in the key code for the gate then started to reverse up the driveway, attempting a nifty 180 in the process, alas the damp grass did not oblige.  I had visions of adding extra weight to the back of the van to enable it to move off the grass, but, fortunately, skilful driving prevailed and we headed up the driveway.

It was a crisp but bright morning last Thursday and by the time I arrived the mist had cleared providing a spectacular view from the main accommodation block and lettuce housing over the valley, where Ian spots deer roaming regularly.
After a cuppa with Ian's Melbourne Woofas we were off for the tour of the lettuce housing. As we stepped inside the stereo was playing - usually classical music according to Ian - as that's what the plants respond to, but this morning it was something the Woofas would respond to as they has the unenviable task of cleaning the poly sheets which enclose the lettuce housing.
On specifically built metal framed tray tables are thousands of lettuces each in their own circular cut-out sitting above troughs which provide a system for the water to run from the pump through the lettuces and back to the pump using gravity.

From seedlings to mature plants the whole process takes approximately two months so Ian's future-predicting-skills have to be on form to predict his customers buying habits.  He's had a lots of practice now and usually gets it right!

Because his lettuces are indoors no sprays are necessary, however, he does have to watch out for birds during the dry summer months as they are attracted to the moisture and try to get inside.
Along with thousands of lettuces, Ian has accommodation for up to 80 at a time, where multiple groups can use his venues without needing to share spaces. He often has cyclists and rowers stay and off road skills training groups use the property for its undulating terrain.

Ian took me on a bit of mild off-roading to show me the property. Along with a ford (which he dug himself), a waterfall, a natural amphitheatre and plenty of room for camping, there are also more kilometers of paths through the bush than Ian can keep track- these are ideal for mountain biking and orienteering which Ian would like to offer participants where they can use GPS and a mobile app to navigate his property.
After a cleaning spree to rid his stream - which is fed by the Waikato river and flows out to the sea - of willows which were clogging up the water ways, Ian ended up with several piles of trees which would make for a magnificent bonfire, so watch this space, because this blogger would like to organise a bonfire, soup, mulled wine and live music evening on Ian's piece of paradise on Karapiro Road.

Something New

The Woofas Now Have Hoofas

The crew at Hoofas, believe that good nutrition for pets is vital. They have been making healthy pet treats for over 20 years and are passionate about providing wholesome snacks for your beloved four-footed friends.  

Woofas started with tasty treats for canine companions and have recently started horsing around with some new snack ideas and from that – Hoofas evolved.  

Woofas come up with a variety of combinations and the recipes were taste-tested with help from equine friends. Horses have been kicking up their hooves in delight at Woofas delicious healthy treats.  

The finest ingredients are used to help maintain a smooth coat and healthy skin and by combining together seeds that are high in protein and omega. With oils and herbs with natural calming properties alongside fresh fruit and vegetables like apples and carrots, Woofas treats are packed full of vitamins and minerals.  

Hoofas by Woofas has a mission to provide great nutrition for your equine family members!

To win four bags of Gee gee bites with a value of $36 share this blog on your fb page, and answer the following question by posting the answer on our fb page:

Tell us two of the ingredients used in Hoofas by Woofas treats?

Winner announced on Saturday at 5pm on our facebook page.

Recipe Of The Week

Pumpkin Pie

The pastry:
1 cup all purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup (5½ tablespoons) cold butter *
about ¼ cup water, but possibly less

Chill the flour and baking power (and Xanthan gum if using) for 1/2 hour then place in a food processor using the pastry blade, add the butter gradually until you have a fine crumb, add the water slowly until the ingredients form a ball.
Remove and place in an air tight container and chill for 1/2 or until ready to use.
Roll out onto the baking paper you will line the pie dish with.
Brush with 1 egg yoke and bake at 180 Celsius for 10-12 minutes.

The Pie Filling:
Bake, at 180 Celsius, approximately 1 1/2 cups of peeled and chopped raw pumpkin in a dish with 1/4 of water- covered, for 30 min or until soft.
Once cooked, puree until just smooth.

Place in the food processor with mixing blade the following ingredients and blend until smooth:
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 cup milk*
¼ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon & ginger
½ teaspoon each of nutmeg & cloves
¼ teaspoon salt

Pour the filling into the warm crust and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the outer edge of the pie filling is set and the the top of the pie still looks moist. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve, or refrigerate for one day and serve with crème fraiche with a drizzle of runny honey.

*We made vegan gf pastry and filling by making a few tweaks to this recipe,  we used gf flour and added 1 tsp of Xanthan gum, and dairy free spread and milk in place of butter and milk.

What's Coming Up In The Markets This Weekend?

Click here to check out this weeks Tempo listing for the Waikato Farmers Markets and see what's coming up at the Markets this weekend.

That's All Folks

As I'm sure you're aware the Field Days are on this week -Wednesday through Saturday and as such its likely that the markets will be a buzz with out-of- town-ers, so don't leave it too late to head to the markets or you may miss out on your favourite produce!

Thanks for reading and come back next week to hear about Volare- I'm visiting them next.

See you at the markets.