Markets: Cambridge 15th & Hamilton 16th June

Our stalls may be diminished in number but there are still plenty of winter specials and bargains to be had and of course the hot food on offer does help warm the heart cockles. Here is a photo of a happy family group (hello the Russell girls) munching on Mavis & Co’s bacon and scrambled egg breakfast specials washed down with a few lattes from Fleur at Expresso Coffee. When asked why they come to the market Holly Russell said – ‘We come to soak up the atmosphere and my daughter Ruby (17 months) loves dancing to the buskers’ music. Keeps her occupied for hours!’
LASCO (the Lean Artisan Salami Company) opened their brand new beef salami stall at Hamilton Farmers’ Market on Sunday 2nd June. Jeff Ryan and partner Trudi Peet started their Mount Maunganui based business 8 months ago and are already supplying some New World and Countdown stores with their NZ hand made salamis. LASCO make healthier salamis with a twist. They are hot smoked rather than fermented which makes them quicker to produce and easier to digest for some people. They are lower in fat and sodium than other salamis and are gluten free. Jeff has a farming background and so knows his beef. He has spent years researching this product and only after extensive experimentation and trialling has he been satisfied enough to offer it to the public with great results. Offered in pre-sliced, cubed or half salamis, there is sure to be a size that suits all.
2013 been a bumper year for Living Gold Waikato olive oil due to the summer drought, which olive trees love, which was followed by lots of rain to plump up the fruit. Wayne has been busy pressing the fruit and bottling his new season’s oil for over a month now, sometimes working up until 2.00am.

There have been some new additions his oil range range which are worth having a quick squiz at . Besides his lovely NEW SEASON Koroneiki, Frantoio and Pendalino oils he also has 3 infused Frantoio oils – Garlic, Lemon and Lime. Now he has added an edible lavender-infused olive oil which can be used both in baking (try it in shortbread or scones) or as a relaxing massage oil. Not only that but Wayne now offers a cheaper Pet Oil, which is totally cool. For this oil he has used the bottom of the barrel sediment oil which is less clear than the oil used for human consumption. He clarifies and strains this and bottles it in cheaper plastic bottles so that for a mere $5 you can give your pet the benefits of virgin olive oil without having to share yours. That’s a saving right away and your pets will benefit in the same way as you do!
Clif’s Garden is overloaded with crown and buttercup pumpkins right now and he is selling 2 big crown pumpkins for only $5. These represent great value for money as pumpkins can last you all winter if stored properly.

To store pumpkins
- If you have a chlorinated swimming pool or spa throw your pumpkins in for 5 minutes. Let them air dry. The Chorine kills any bacteria on the skin.

-Once dry, store the pumpkins in a cool dark place ON THEIR SIDES not on their bottoms. This prevents condensation gathering in the depression around the stem where rot could start. Stored this way you could keep a supply of pumpkins in your shed right up until Christmas.

-Another method is to freeze them. Wipe the pumpkin clean. Put in microwave to soften the outside enough to cut easily. Dice up the pumpkin flesh, skin and all and freeze as free flow cubes. When required just grab a handful or two to put into your roasting tin and roast from frozen. Keeping the skin intact makes life a lot easier when preparing and it is quite edible once cooked. Even in soup, once the skin is pureed up no one would notice and extra goodies from the skin are included in the nutrition value of the soup.
Now’s the time plant garlic – get your cloves from Richard and Judy Cato and they will give you a few hints and tips.
This is the best Turkish bread I have eaten in a long time. Sam from Volare tells me that this is a slow rise bread using the Poolish Method which gives a much more open crumb than the sourdough. It is then flattened and flavoured with a topping and cooked at a fierce heat for only 10 minutes resulting in a flat bread that is nonetheless light and flavoursome. Of the varieties on offer, which include black olive, rosemary and parmesan, I tried the Nigella Seed topping. Never heard of it before but I really enjoyed the flavour. This is not black sesame, although it is sometimes mistaken for that, but the true seed of the Love in a Mist flower. It has a mild curry flavour and is indeed used in some Indian raitas and sambals. Turkish Pide bread is best served in roughly torn pieces dipped in Wayne’s Living Gold olive oil and eaten as is. Dukkeh is nice with this too but good bread and good oil and good wine are all you really need as a starter or accompaniment for any meal.
Finally, a big shout out for those of you who braved the truly awful wet weather last Sunday. We were a bit miserable but at least it wasn’t too cold or windy. We had kind and lovely customer – Hello Pip Oxendale– who dressed up in a pink cowboy hat and a purple jacket just to cheer us stallholders up (it worked) and another brave soul – Hello Val Sandford – who had an intriguing umbrella hat strapped to her head, which allowed her to have her hands free when dealing with her purse and her purchases. Perhaps we should have those umbrella hats on sale at the Information Tent with the Farmers’ Market Logo on them. Now that could start a trend…
On the next fine Sunday we shall be running a Quick Fire Raffle to raise some extra funds for Luca Cittidini the 8 year local boy with cancer whose home needs some serious work to make it warm for winter. You might just be lucky and get your whole market grocery shop for $2.
Talk to you with more gossip and tips next week.
Meg Daly
Celtic Cuisine