Friday, February 19, 2010

Food for thought Fridays - Farmers' markets

One of the best ways to eat fresh, locally-produced food is to buy it from a farmers' market. I know this in theory, but the Hamilton one runs on a Sunday which is my one sleep-in day when Paul does the morning feeds, so I admit I don't make it as often as I'd like to.

Last Sunday I did make the effort, leaving the house at 8.30am so I'd catch all the good stuff. On  the drive I decided that I won't go to the supermarket this week, just get whatever I can at the Farmers' market and make do.

Well, I rock up to the Wintec carpark, where I think the farmers' market is, and there's nothing there. Eek! Has it shut down? I don't see any signs telling me where it has moved to so I head 500 metres down the road and go to Pak 'N' Save instead. So much for that resolution.

When I get home I go online and look up the Hamilton Farmers' Market. It moved to a carpark on River Road last August - seven months ago! - and I hadn't even realised. Shows how often I've been going! 

I look at the clock and realise I've got 45 minutes before it shuts, so jump back in the car and head off to the new location.

Upon arriving I feel so glad that it did  move. The new spot is nestled under huge trees and looks like a farmers' market should. I'm sure it's also a lot more pleasant for stallholders being in the shade of trees instead of out in the open.
I don't have much of a plan, just wander around to see what's available. That's one of the fun things about farmers' markets - anticipating what goodies will be on sale. I find sweetcorn and avocados that look a lot nicer than those I had passed over at the supermarket. 
I also taste test an organic blueberry yoghurt and buy it on the spot, before passing a stall selling the most divine smelling garlic flat bread. I taste test that too with some preservative-free coriander hummus. Paul loves coriander, and it is Valentines' Day after all, so I buy him a loaf of the bread and a pottle of the hummus to serve him in bed when I get home. 

I like that you can ask the stallholders anything you want about their products, and they can answer in intimate detail because they make or grow them. Don't expect checkout staff at your supermarket to know much about what they're selling.
Walking a bit further I see a cute stall selling plants and have to take a photo just because it looks so great.
And then I head home. Here's a look at my spoils:
If I return the yoghurt jar I will get a dollar back. That's a good incentive to go back again soon.

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