I love markets. One of my favourite things about Europe is wandering around these places which are full of energy. We don’t seem to match the scale or style of those markets here in New Zealand, but in the last decade I have seen more Farmers’ Markets take off. Canterbury, I felt was always a little like the poor cousin. Wellington has Markets in the city and a huge weekend one in Lower Hutt and Dunedin has the fabulous Otago Farmers’ Market in the glorious setting of the historic railway station. Auckland has numerous markets and around the country smaller scale rural markets have taken off.
Locally we have had the Lyttelton market and the Riccarton Farmers’ market (set in the grounds of Riccarton House). Lyttelton was a bit of a pain to get to for me personally and I found the Riccarton one a bit pricey, precious and small until the earthquakes. After this with a lack of places to spend money buy food, eat out, the markets grew. A market popped up in Opawa and other small areas began having regular pop ups. Lyttelton moved its market to the Main Street and Riccarton grew in size and in variety and became a broader market, with an Artisans’ market held on a the Sunday to compliment the Saturday market. It has been my market of choice since.
So imagine my delight to discover that just up the road, in Ohoka, on a Friday, there is a superb farmers’ market, incorporating both produce and wares in a great setting. The problem is it’s held on a Friday and I work Fridays. I was introduced to this market by a friend and we went last week on Jan 2nd which is a public holiday in New Zealand. Because I worked last Saturday I had a day in lieu to take, so I had arranged to have today off and give myself a three day weekend. After last week’s jaunt I wanted to return with my camera and a bit more money… So I headed back there today, particularly when their Facebook page said that some Central Otago stone fruit would be there.
Alas! The apricots were sold out by 10.15 when I got there. So I had to make do with cherries instead, which incidentally I bought from another provider who gets a plug firstly because she was very cheerful and friendly (even held the box of cherries for my photo) – “Cherries of Swannanoa” and secondly, because the cherries were HUGE!
Ohoka has something for everyone. It’s a lovely setting, in the local domain, completely sheltered from the easterly that was blowing. As I live on the northwest side of town, it’s easier to get to than Lyttelton. So I’ll be returning any Friday I get a chance to – and hey, Waitangi Day is a Friday this year, so I’ll be back next month! Their list of regular suppliers is fabulous – check out their website for more details.