Markets: TA 21st, Cambridge 23rd & Hamilton 24th February

Market Blog 18th February 2013
Well here we are again. Another busy week has flown by. The horticultural based stallholders are busy with trimming, feeding, watering and harvesting their vines / trees/ bushes / plants etc. It is such a pleasure to be able to sell directly to the customer when one is a grower. Until the resurgence of Farmers’ Markets produce was harvested and packed and sent off to the auction floors of Turner and Growers in Auckland and that was last the average grower saw of all his or her hard work. Now a large percentage of the produce grown by the Waikato Farmers’ Market stallholders is sold directly to the consumer cutting out the middle man and also cutting out days of cold storage time resulting in a fresher product which lasts far longer in your fridge. Gone are the days of throwing out the yellowing store bought Chinese broccoli and the tasteless cottony USA grown nectarines festering at the bottom of your veggie drawer. Fresh local fruit and veggies equals superior nutrition and keeping power.
But enough preaching to the converted. Here’s what to expect this 4th week of February.  – Kanes who are world famous for their strawberries are now harvesting their equally world famous Nashi Asian Pears. Sweet, juicy,crispy. If you buy them directly from Kanes you can get a generous bag for only $5. They sell for $5 each in Japan! Kanes’ Nashis are great for school lunches. Heather Kane tells me that Nashis are like a solid fruit drink bursting with natural vitamins. Better than an ice block anyday. Heather or Grant will give you a recipe sheet for Nashi muffins, chutney, cake and smoothies if you ask nicely. Kanes have Spray Free Vegetables including Eggs Plants, Capsicums and tomatoes too.

And hurray for Waikato apples. Gala – the early season sweet crispy apple is ready for you. Mike Rose from Divine Fruits wanted me to let you know that his apples are picked on Friday for Saturday’s Cambridge Market and Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s Hamilton market. Ridiculously fresh.  Jack and Cheryl from Jack’s Orchard have terrific apples too and a range of spray free veggies and rhubarb – now is that a veggie or a fruit???

Mike Roach famous for his Roses, is now growing a wide range of outdoor veges especially for the Markets. Eggs Plants, Plums, Courgettes, Gherkins (this is your opportunity for preserving those little beauts), Cucumbers and they have masses of outdoor Tomatoes and Spuds. Mike also has a range of plants for sale including citrus trees and Passionfruit.

Passionfruit – you thought you couldn’t afford it since it is selling in the supermarkets at 39.99 per kilo. Hah! – Roy has Passionfruit for $14 per kilo and the price will drop as the season progresses so get those cheesecakes ready. Meg from Celtic Cuisine will have Passionfruit too in about 2 more weeks.

Also available -going through the list – Courgettes, capsicums, cucumbers, Sweetcorn (get in early) tomatoes by the tonne, beans, potatoes, carrots, turnips, fennel, chillies, egg plants, avocados, garlic.
In the fruit line Blueberries continue to produce well. The Organic Blueberries from Monovales are incredibly good buying. Honeydew Melons are just starting. (Clif Fyers shared his precious first Honeydew melon with me last Sunday – thanks bro, I know what that first one meant to you.) Watermelons are in great supply already. Apples of course, Passionfruit, autumn Raspberries, Nashis, Plums. Strawberries are coming to a close – they don’t like the summer heat but frozen raspberries are available from the Big Berry and by the way their raspberry yoghurt icecream is out of this world.

One of the great things about coming Farmers’ Market Shopping is that you can find things that you simply can’t find in the supermarkets. Courgette Flowers for example. Fill with goat cheese and walnuts, dip in a tempura batter and lightly deep fry. Very gourmet! How about smokey egg plant chutney or coriander pesto with cashew nuts. You can get fiejoa and raspberry jam made with low GI wood sugar and you can get Scottish tattie scones for that big breakfast. Have you tried the manuka smoked salmon, the Authentic Cornish Pasties or English Pork Pies yet? How about the organic macademia nut spreads or the pullet eggs? The toffee flavoured honey or honey energy slabs? The sheep cheese or the goat brie? I’m not telling you where to find these because I want to send you on a treasure hunt. All I can promise is that you WILL find them at the Farmers’ Markets in Cambridge and Hamilton. 

I haven’t even begun to talk about the organically raised meat and sausages because I want to do Wholly Cow and Soggy Bottom justice. To those of you who have never been to the market – these are the names by which our resident butchers go. So watch this space. See you at the market!

PS Hot Cross buns – Real handmade one will be coming next week! Yummay.