Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
· Farmers Market moving to fresh fields – Otago Daily Times, Queenstown Farmers Market
· Market day changes – Nelson Mail, Nelson Farmers’ Market
· Farmers market price fixing row settled – Gisborne Farmers market
One could be forgiven for thinking that it is only in Marlborough that the local Farmers Market is making the headlines, but if you have a look around NZ you will notice that every single market is making changes in the way people not only eat but how they think – when the pick up that asparagus or apricot they are asking themselves, where did that come from? how did that get to me ? how fresh is it really ?
So what’s up with all of the headlines and attention grabbing details of so called rifts and rivalry, the blurring of lines of local vs imported and grown by the producer or sold by middlemen. It is really very simple - the real food producers of New Zealand are standing up and claiming what belongs to them, the name Farmers Market. A Farmers’ Market is a venue for the sale of regional produce, just like when you go to a rugby game you expect to see a group of people running with a oval ball and passing it between themselves using their hands. When I go to and see a game of soccer I expect to see a group of people with a round ball passing it between themselves using their feet. I am yet to see a successful game or Rugosoccer where you can do both. This is why we have umpires that define the rules of the games and ensures that everybody respects each others codes of practise. As a consumer or a producer you get to choose which code of practise you want to either participate in or support
A real Farmers’ Market does not allow onsellers or resellers to sell goods that that have not been involved in . A real Farmers’ Market does not allow non-edible goods (there are a couple of exceptions like worm farms and flowers). A real farmers market is all about local and regional food, not imported food
While Marlborough is leading New Zealand Farmers Markets as one of the oldest and most established behind Hawkes Bay we are certainly not alone in changing the way we look at the food on our dinner table, or how we debate about how the food got to our table, this food is either tasteless and wrapped in plastic and full of life giving preservatives or it is fresh and regional. I know what I would prefer on my Christmas table this year and judging by the amount of headlines around NZ I would say that Farmers Markets are the flavour of the year. I am so excited about being involved in the changes we are making at the dinner tables and in the kitchens of NZ, these changes will influence all generations and communities to ask questions and celebrate our regional differences. The only real headline story is the fact that the real food producers are standing up for the one thing that they themselves can really own, the two words Farmers Markets
Marlborough Plum Salsa Recipe, great with Christmas ham or left over cold cuts
6 fresh Marlborough Plums, diced – firm and not to soft, but not to firm, freshly picked
1/2 Red onion thinly Sliced
1 tablespoon sliced green garlic or 2 spring onions
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice or lemon juice and zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 finely chopped small seeded jalapeno pepper (optional)
2 T Marlborough Olive oil
Marlborough Flaky Sea Salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and serve to the table.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Need for second farmers market questioned (page 1) | Otago Daily Times Online News Keep Up to Date Local, National New Zealand & International News
concern the proposed Wednesday farmers market could take customers away from Saturday's established railway station market has been raised by vendors.
The Otago Farmers Market Trust wants to establish a market in the car park of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, in South Dunedin, operating on a Wednesday between 3pm and 7pm, initially during the summer months, although consent was sought for a year-round operation if needed.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
According to Potato New Zealand, 2.85 billion were grown in New Zealand last year and more than 7 million serves of hot chips were handed across the counter each week, which easily puts the humble potato right at the top of the food chain.
In November we are able to purchase potatoes freshly dug in Marlborough, although it pays to know your ilam hardy's from your moonlights and red rascals.
You need to be prepared to change your cooking method to match the type of potato you have at any particular time of the year. No matter how clever you are as a chef or cook, if you have a floury potato it will not hold together when boiled and will not give you a good salad. Similarly, if you try and mash a waxy potato your mash will be gluey.
Obviously personal preferences come into play. For example, if you prefer your mash to be less fluffy, just select a potato that is less floury. But the key is to use the right potato for the right job.
My favourite way of using potatoes is to keep it simple, purchase direct from the grower or plant some in the backyard. Even the most novice gardeners can reap the rewards of just a few plants. Know what you are buying, as there are many different varieties, so it pays to ask the best cooking method, and at this time of the year the little earth gems are best just boiled or steamed with the skin on, a little salt, olive oil or butter to glaze and served hot.
While potatoes are best eaten fresh in New Zealand, the locals in South America produce "chuo" as they have done since the time of the Incas. The potatoes are spread on the ground on frosty nights. During the day they are covered with straw to protect against the sun. This way the potatoes go completely white.
After exposure to several nights of frost, women and children trample on the potatoes to get rid of moisture and wear away the peel. The potatoes are then put in a stream with running water for a few weeks in order to wash out the bitter taste. Finally they're dried for about 14 days and can be stored without problems for up to four years.
While this may not catch on here, is was essential for the Incas to preserve the harvest so it could sustain the villagers through the harsh winters and hot summers.
FOUR EASY NEW SEASON POTATO VARIATIONS
Remember to salt your potato boiling water well (the water should taste pleasantly salty) – this a necessary step on the path to tasty taters!
Dill or wild fennel new potatoes: (Gather the herbs from the roadsides around Marlborough.) Boil up some new potatoes and then toss with freshly chopped dill or fennel and butter, and salt to taste.
New potatoes with rocket or basil pesto: Toss boiled potatoes with a few spoonfuls of pesto and a little salt to taste.
Olive oil potatoes: Dress boiled potatoes with a little Marlborough extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, garlic and fresh herbs of your choice.
Stock potatoes: Potatoes boiled in a light chicken or vegetable stock instead of water gives them a less-ordinary and great flavour.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
There could hardly be a loftier culinary class than that of the locavore, a movement whose members eschew food grown outside a 100-mile radius of their homes. With copious outputs of money and labor, locavores earn bragging rights (we put up 50 jars of beets!), complaining rights (we went without wheat all winter!) and the right to believe they are doing their part to save the planet (we support local farms by paying $10 a pound for cherries!).
But James Lucal in Seattle has them all beat. He not only brings home the local produce, he got a local to grow it for him directly outside his home. And yet he spent almost nothing for this luxury, and lifted not so much as a trowel to make it happen.
Welcome to "urban sharecropping," the hippest, most hardcore new way to eat local. In the latest twist in the farm-to-table movement, homeowners who lack free time or gardening skills are teaming up with would-be farmers who lack backyards. Around the country, a new crop of match-makers are helping the two groups find each other and make arrangements that enable both sides to share resources and grow their own food.
Mr. Lucal's tenant farmer Michaelynn Ryan is a mother of two and homeowner in the charming Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford. Though Ms. Ryan is a certified master gardener, the yard of her Craftsman house isn't up to farming—it's too small and shaded, Ms. Ryan says. So, the summer before last, she posted a want ad for a garden plot on Urban Garden Share, a website started by a professional gardener as a good-karma producing hobby.
That's how Ms. Ryan found Mr. Lucal, a builder who had terraced a steep slope next to his house, but discovered through frustrating failure he lacked the patience and expertise to make it bloom. Finding they lived within five minutes of each other, they agreed Ms. Ryan would farm the lot and Mr. Lucal would harvest his family's supply.
The season was a bounty of candy-sweet strawberries and tart, pie-ready rhubarb. Carrots emerged from the ground in a rainbow of orange, yellow and red hues, and crookneck squash grew giant-sized under fuzzy elephant-ear leaves. The juicy tomatillos and pungent cilantro were so abundant, Ms. Ryan made 24 jars of Mexican salsa verde. Her 3-year-old daughter Fiona ran between the raised beds, popping brilliant green sugar snap peas into her mouth.
But even the most utopian and cost-saving of food systems has its price to pay. Ms. Ryan, like generations of tenant farmers before her, had to hand over half her hard-won crop to Mr. Lucal. Some in the movement might label him a "lazy locavore," a new designation indicating one whose diet is beyond reproach, but who has found a way around the hard work. Mr. Lucal says he's more "ignorant locavore" than lazy: After all, he watered.
The beauty of urban sharecropping is how neatly it halves the commitment required by local eating, providing honored roles for both the landless and the lazy. Homeowners look out on to their backyards—in many cases, under-used, water-sucking lawns or weed-chocked lots—and see lovely kitchen gardens that can often feed not only their own families but several neighbors', too. The farmer drops by, weeds, sows or harvests, then often leaves a basket of perfectly ripe produce on the owner's back porch. Gardeners get to skirt the notoriously clogged community-garden system in cities, where long waitlists and vegetable poachers are a looming threat.
Of course, the ultimate satisfaction for both sides is in the eating. No other local food can compete with the taste of fruits and vegetables harvested only minutes before. And there's the unique joy, hard-wired into the human psyche, of growing one's own food. A growing number of services helps landowners and gardeners connect. Sharing Backyards, which launched in British Columbia in 2004, has programs in Portland, Ore., Duluth, Minn., Washington, Berkeley, Calif., Boise, Idaho, Houston, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Missoula, Mont., as well as international locations. The website currently contains over 1,000 listings from landowners and potential farmers. In the near future, the volunteers behind the program plan to post a sample contract that sharecroppers can use to iron out arrangements.
In Brooklyn, BK Farmyards secured its first farmland last year when founder Stacey Murphy, a former architect, stood on a street corner shouting she wanted to farm someone's yard. Adrienne Fisher, a foundation grant manager and mother of three with a three-story Victorian and large backyard in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, took her up on her offer to share costs and plant a large garden. The harvest was divided among six neighbors, who each paid up front.
Some urban sharecroppers are finding another outlet for their wares: restaurants. In Los Angeles, the restaurant Forage opened nine months ago with a unique concept: Chef Jason Kim barters dining credits at the restaurant with people who hand him food grown in their gardens. In April, the health department stepped in, telling Mr. Kim he couldn't serve food that didn't come from certified farms. So Mr. Kim helped five of his best urban farmers get licensed, and now they provide him with a bounty including blood oranges, heirloom Italian chicory and a fruit called black sapote."I realized there are so many people doing this and they just don't want it to go to waste," Mr. Kim says.