Markets: TA 28th Feb,Cambridge 2nd & Hamilton 3rd of March

Hello all. This week must have broken a few records at the Farmers’ Markets in Cambridge and Hamilton. We had an official complaint that the market was far too busy and car parking was nigh on impossible to find. We have been racking our brains trying to think why it was such a doozy market and have decided that the advent of the Hamilton Gardens’ Festival must have been the underlying cause. The Shakespeare at Dawn’s Tempest was held at 4am in the Gardens that Sunday morning which explained the influx of sleepy looking customers gasping for a coffee and scone at 7am. Shame we don’t start until 8am. (Must remember to open the Market’s coffee carts early to cater for these dedicated cultural stalwarts next year.) Another reason could’ve been the consistently lovely weather which has encouraged market goers to get up early, get in early and get out early so that they can get on with enjoying Sunday at the beach or in the garden. The third reason could be the fabulous produce which is at peak of ripeness and freshness right now and the prices compare very favourably with the supermarkets. The fourth reason could be that this riveting blog has encouraged people to try out the markets again which is probably the most likely reason of all!

We do apologise for the squash at the parking area which is often the case at this time of year. Our suggestion is that you come a little LATER to the market. Things quieten down around 10.45 and after 11 there are usually plenty of spaces. And talking about parking, I overheard a customer being extremely cross about not being allowed to bring her dog into the market. We are obliged to keep dogs away from the market itself under the consent from the Hamilton District Council in the same way that dogs (except guide or helper dogs) are not allowed into supermarkets. To mitigate this rule we do provide a ‘Pooch Parking’ area where your dog can be tied up safely while you shop. We appreciate your understanding. We are a dedicated food market and health and safety rules apply.
Okay – housekeeping - Big Berry and Mel’s Preserves are off on holidays for a few weeks so you have been warned. You will have to wait 3 weeks for your next raspberry smoothie or egg plant chutney. Sorry about that but you can’t begrudge them a well earned summer break. Clif Fyers and his Melons will only be at the Hamilton Market this weekend so Cambridge and Te Awamutu miss out. As for the rest of us hard working stallholders we shall be there to hold the fort.
Corn, tomatoes, avocadoes, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, turnips, fennel, tomatoes, capsicums, tomatoes, wheat grass, microgreens, tomatoes, courgettes, garlic, lettuce, herbs, egg plants, rhubarb, plums, nashis apples and new this week- grapes, autumn raspberries, passionfruit and honeydew melons. Did I mention tomatoes?
Last week I said I was going to talk about the meat sellers at our market. Soggy Bottom’s Jono Walker told me I blathered too much in this blog so I won’t say too much about him….Briefly – he sells sausages (really good ones) and various cuts of pork. He rears his own saddleback and iron age pigs which have a short but happy free range life out the back of Ngaruawahia. Sometimes he has weird stuff like buffalo, goat and free range chickens. Check him out and while you are at it, check out his real pork pies made with hot water pastry using only the best ingredients and no fillers.(Was that okay Jono? Not too much blathering?
Wholly Cow and Lamb is our second major meat seller and Tom and Carrie also raise beef and lamb on their property which is biologically farmed. Buying from here ensures you know the provenance of your meat. Guaranteed Romanian horse free! They have a really extensive range of meat cuts including mince and patties, steaks and roasts, chops, fillets and variety meats (offal to you and me but the new P.C. word coined by Dame Alison Holst.) If you come to Wholly Cow on Sunday you might be lucky enough to meet Kay who is now the general factotum for Wholly Cow. She used to be a stressed out Aucklander wearing high heels and make up, slogging it out in a corporate office until she saw the light and moved, with her daughter Stephanie, to Cambridge. Now instead of being up to her elbows in paperwork, she is up to her elbows in meat! You never can tell a book by its cover….
Because of the looming of Easter which is only 4 weeks away at the end of April, Hot Cross Buns are now available from Bella Pane and Celtic Cuisine and possibly from Volare. At the risk of boring you with my astounding general knowledge about such things, the original buns were simply called Cross Buns because of the Christian symbol of the cross which decorated the top. It is said that they predate Christianity and Christianity merely absorbed them into the new religion. Nonetheless there is a lot of paganish superstition associated with them. Sailors given a Cross Bun on their ocean voyages were said to be immune from drowning. The bun mustn’t be eaten and therefore went hard. Perhaps it could have worked as a flotation device? Friends who share a single Cross Bun never fall out and a Cross Bun hung from the rafters ensures food all year. So if you want a Cross Bun hot you might like to take one home and put it in the oven for 5 minutes! Oh and find a friend or a sailor in need while you are at it.

Will talk next week about preserves and such. Granny Dunn will be in the limelight. In the meantime, get organised with your market bags and ready cash and we’ll see you at the market!

Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine.