A look in the fridge tells me that I need to stock up on fresh fruit and veg and what better place to do that than at one on the Farmers’ Markets held every weekend here in the Bay. Now the decision is do I need supplies today or can it wait until tomorrow? Either way there is a Farmers’ Market held on Saturday in Napier and then tomorrow there’s the well-known market held at the A&P Showgrounds .
There are lots of good reasons to shop at Farmers’ Markets and these are what I think are six most important:
1. You Get to Know the Farmer, Grower or Producer
When you shop at a Farmers’ Market you have the opportunity to get to know the farmer, grower or producer – so introduce yourself and start developing a relationship with the people behind the stall and very soon, in many cases, you will find that you are getting the inside information about when produce is coming into season and what’s best this week on their stall.
The farmer, grower or producer is the expert on what they sell and if you ask they will tell you how to cook or use their goods and often they will even give you recipes – you don’t get that sort of service in a supermarket!
2. You Eat Seasonally so You Save Money
Shopping at your local market regularly means you get to know what’s in season when and who has the best tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, herbs or whatever.
Buying produce in season saves money – when tomatoes, capsicums, zucchini, eggplant, strawberries or asparagus are in season they taste fantastic (because it is the right time of year to be eating them) and they are inexpensive (because they are plentiful).
Farmers’ Markets are seasonal that’s why you can’t get everything all year round and that’s why at certain times of the year there are more or less stalls in the markets. So don’t except to be able to buy strawberries in the middle of winter at your local Farmers’ Market.
Have you heard of the word “scorpacciata” – it means consuming large amounts of a particular local food while it’s in season – that’s how I tend to eat!
3. You Help Support the Local Economy and Businesses
Every stallholder in your Farmers’ Market is a local so by buying from them you are helping to keep money in your local community and helping to support local farmers, growers and businesses and that’s got to be good for everyone.
4. The Produce is Fresher
Food at your local Farmers’ Market is fresher because it has been grown locally and hasn’t had to travel great distances to get to you. In many cases eggs will have been laid in the last day or so, fruit and vegetables picked yesterday or the day before and in many cases early that morning – that’s why everything looks and tastes so good.
5. It Gives You the Opportunity to Teach Your Kids Where Their Food Comes From
If you have kids take them along with you when you go your Farmers’ Market and they will start to learn where their food comes from and how it is produced, plus it is also a great opportunity to start teaching them life skills such as how to shop for food and when you get home how to prepare and cook it.
6. It’s Fun
Most importantly shopping at your local Farmers’ Market is fun – you don’t expect to be able to get everything at one stall so you have a wander around and check out what looks good and buy what takes you fancy which means you end up with a fabulous basket or bag of wonderful produce. Plus on the way you are bound to meet other likeminded people and there are always lots of samples to taste.
Napier Urban Food Market – every Saturday, 9am to 10pm in Clive Square, Napier
Held every Saturday, this street market is a smaller version of the well-known Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market held every Sunday at the A&P Showgrounds, Hastings. With over 20 stalls this is great place to stock up on fresh Hawke’s Bay produce, artisan products such as bread, preserves, olive oil, honey, cheese, yogurt and more. To sustain you while you browse the stalls there is freshly brewed coffee and a selection of breakfast fare.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market – every Sunday, 8.30am to 12.30pm at the A&P Showgrounds, Kenilworth Rd, Hastings
As the oldest Farmers’ Market in New Zealand this is a must-do if you are in Hawke’s Bay on a Sunday. During the summer this market operates in the historic Waikoko Gardens with over 60 stalls selling a huge variety of Hawke’s Bay seasonal produce and artisan products. There’s also coffee, juices, smoothies, ice-cream and breakfast fare to keep you going while browsing the market.
I am still undecided which market I am going to shop at this weekend – so I think I will go to both!
Happy cooking and eating.