Markets: Cambridge 13th & Hamilton 14th July

We’ve just had another astonishing mid winter market. Big ups to all those loyal customers and even some brand new ones who came to say hi and snap up some winter bargains. As well as top class Tamarillos at $8 per kilo, which lasted all of 30 minutes before they were sold out, we had a new stall selling Mandarin Oranges and I have it on good authority that they were the sweetest and tastiest Mandarins ever. At a bargain at $5 for 2 kilos, it seemed that just about everyone at the market was walking around carrying a colourful 2 kilo bag of these easy peel, seedless winter favourites under their arm.

You needed to be in early to grab freshly harvested winter greens, broccoli, silverbeet, spinach and bok choy. They were mostly sold out by 10.00 on Sunday. Lots of freshly dug potatoes, pumpkins, cavello nero kale, carrots, beetroot, baby fennel, turnips and salad greens were still available however. And we are very lucky indeed to still have, at the regular in season price, bags of capsicums from Southern Fresh for only $5. This is the first time we have had Tinneke and Frans de Jong selling their capsicums so late in the season and long may it last. It costs money to heat those greenhouses at this time of year but their regular market customers are important enough to continue to enjoy great value. Try getting capsicums for less than $2 each at the supermarket now. You might be lucky but they will be from Aussie. So why not keep your cash revolving in the local community? Talk to the de Jongs.
‘Locally Grown’ and ‘Freshly Harvested’ are among the many catch cries of the Farmers’ Market Movement worldwide. The Waikato Farmers’ Markets in Cambridge and Hamilton have developed steadily over the past 7 years to the point where some small businesses, which were scraping a living, are now making a living and that is something to crow about.

Just in case you have forgotten or are new to the concept of Farmers’ Markets, the principal behind the movement is that the market is a place where local produce can be sold directly to the public by the person/s who has farmed, grown, produced, baked, preserved or smoked it or who has been involved in its production and is knowledgeable about it. There is an emphasis on food production so you won’t find arts and crafts in an authentic Farmers’ Market. However you will find non-food items such as seedlings, flowers and plants and occasionally we get sheep or goat manure because of the connection with the land and growing food. The sheep or goat manure is usually a fund raising venture for a local school or community cause. On-selling or the practice of buying in produce from elsewhere and selling on is strictly forbidden. This rule assures the customers of the authentic origin of the food they are buying and in this day and age of increasing awareness about the background of and ingredients in the food we eat, the Farmers’ Market meets the expectations of people who take the quality of their food seriously

Now, if it ever occurred to you that you might like to join the market as a stallholder, the Market Trust welcomes applications but the priority is always given to local growers of primary produce i.e. fruit and veg. Each application is considered with regard to the number of similar stalls already operating. At the moment there are openings for organic and spray free vegetable and fruit growers, hummus and dip makers, Olive and ante-pasta pickle producers, yoghurt and cheese makers, tree nut producers, peanut butter makers, Tamarillo growers and growers of unusual heritage vegetables and fruits. Wine and beer makers would be most welcome and I am sure there are lots of other unique ideas which would be worth while considering. We would love some exotic foreign food stalls to reflect the growing diversity of our community. The main aim is to incorporate as much as possible local produce as possible.

Obviously with the hummus, pickles and other processed foods there are Food Safety regulations that must be followed and food that is processed for sale to the public must be done in accordance with local body regulations i.e. in a registered kitchen. But all of these hurdles can be overcome with a little determination. Café registered kitchens can be hired out for a few hours a week and new stallholders are often given a trial period at the market just to test the waters. If you have been thinking about doing this, now is the time to seize the day and plough up that spare acre ready for planting or bone up on how to pickle sauerkraut and lets get going!
And now to round off (literally); Volare have begun to sell some downright gorgeous sweet treats – I bought a Danish Pastry to die for, hand made flakey pastry, creamy custard with a big pear in the middle – mmmmm. It was enough for 2 people. And they are also planning to sell chocolate cherry cookie dough in frozen balls which you take out of your freezer when required, allow to thaw, flatten with a fork and bake at 180C to get the chocolatiest, cherriest cookie ever. Always fresh when you need it. Now you will no longer feel obliged to gorge down the fresh goodies on Sunday afternoon only. You can eke out the pleasure all week if required. Oh yeah…
Bella Pane also have, wait for it, gluten free donuts on sale for a limited time only and they have Turkish Pide bread folded over to make a panini like bread pocket. It has a very exotic name which I can’t spell so ask Mike at Bella Pane and he will give you the full low down. Mike is the main man for gluten free baking and any of his really nice GF breads go down really easily with a GF spread of Passionfruit and Limequat Curd available for a limited time only at the Celtic Cusine Stall. Yes I know, not very Celtic but handmade using my own home grown Passionfruit and free range eggs and limequats from Jillian at Fruition in Cambridge. What’s a limequat? A super juicy cross between a lime and a kumquat. Very fiddly to juice however as they are very small indeed!

That’s the round up for this week. Like us on Facebook and don’t forget to leave some comments be they bouquets or brickbats. How can we improve if we don’t get honest feedback??

See you at the market next weekend, hail, rain but preferably shine.

Celtic Cuisine