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Farmers Market

TASTY FOR BOTH SIDES B Y M A I K E VA N D E R H E I D E P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y A N A G A L L O WAY

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hen Marlborough pine nut producer Pinoli harvested their first crop 10 years after planting, the Marlborough Farmers’ Market proved the perfect launch pad for their unique product. “We received lots of enthusiasm and encouragement,” says Pinoli sales manager Zoe Thompson. “We loved sharing our story. The locals embraced it as their own and helped to spread the word.” Such personal interaction between producer and customer is what keeps both sides coming back to the Nelson and Marlborough farmers’ markets, feeding a movement towards locally grown produce, freshness and quality – with pine nuts being a good example. This year, Pinoli won two of the 2017 Farmers’ Market NZ awards; Highly Commended in the summer awards category of Dirt Off The Roots, and the 2017 winter award winner for Tastiest Nut. Marlborough’s Nutt Ranch also scored at the awards, as joint winner of Tastiest Nut Products with their ‘hot ‘n’ spicy’ hazelnuts. Nelson Farmers’ Market manager Miriam Clark says, in total, five producers from local markets took out seven awards, an indication of the high quality of growers 36

who sell at the weekly event. “I think we’re achieving success well beyond our size.” Other successes were FRUT4U Lowes Orchard which was highly commended in the pip fruit category, Donna and Ian Theobald highly commended for their Brookfield hens eggs, Moutere Fruits highly commended for its Cherry Orange & Cinnamon Jam, and Louise Mason runner-up in the most delicious beverages category for her apple juice. Although both the Nelson and Marlborough markets have been around for many years now, Miriam says customer awareness is still growing. “More and more people become aware that it actually matters on lots of levels that you know what you’re buying, who’s growing it, in what soil, and it matters in terms of minimal food miles. You’re supporting local business, you can monitor the quality of a product and you can talk directly to the grower about it.” Although both markets operate throughout winter, there is a natural swell in stall and customer numbers in spring as more products come on-stream, including crowd-pleasers such as strawberries. In Marlborough, farmers’ market

stallholder attendance manager and Riverina Almonds grower Graham Farnell says last summer saw three records set at the Eftpos terminal. “The market has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. The winter market used to be dead and we used to support it to keep it going, but the last couple of years it’s gone ahead.” Graham knows first-hand the importance stallholders place on interacting with their customers, but also the education it provides for people about where their food comes from, how and when. “It makes people aware of seasonality, and the classic is tomatoes – there’s no comparison between hothouse and the real thing.” He also knows the effort stallholders – and volunteer market organisers – make in taking time out of their growing operations to personally sell their product, but the face-to-face relationship works for both sides because there’s ‘no middleman creaming off our hard work’ and quality is never compromised. “I always try to visualise myself on the other side of the counter and I don’t want to be sold shit. It’s unethical, apart from anything else. The best advertising is word-of-mouth, New Zealand is so small. “I strongly believe in the organisation. You put your money where your mouth is.” * The Nelson Farmers’ Market is on the move. From Wednesday, October 4, the market will be at a new location, which will be announced later this month. Refer to the market’s Facebook page or visit the website, nelsonfarmersmarket.org.nz.

FRESHEST PRODUCE FROM THE PADDOCK Pip Fruit – 5 entries Highly Commended FRUT4U Lowes Orchard (Andrew & Sue Lowe), Nelson - Comice Pear ----------------------------------------------Eggs - 4 entries Highly Commended Brookfield (Ian & Donna Theobald), Nelson Hen Eggs ----------------------------------------------Preserves - 32 entries Highly Commended Moutere Fruits (Colin Bott), Nelson Cherry Orange & Cinnamon Jam ----------------------------------------------Most Delicious Beverages  Runner Up Louise Mason, Nelson - Apple Juice

Wild Tomato October2017  

WildTomato is Nelson & Marlborough's magazine. We focus on inspiring journalism, stunning photography and beautiful design. www.wildtomato.c...

Wild Tomato October2017  

WildTomato is Nelson & Marlborough's magazine. We focus on inspiring journalism, stunning photography and beautiful design. www.wildtomato.c...