Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making Headlines

 Farmers market under fire – Bay Chronicle - Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market 
·         Need for second farmers market questioned – Otago Daily times, Otago Farmers Market

·         Farmers Market moving to fresh fields – Otago Daily Times, Queenstown Farmers Market

·         Market day changes – Nelson Mail, Nelson Farmers’ Market

·         Stalls hit sticking point - Papakura Courier – Clevedon Farmers market

·         Easter blow for market - Waikato Times – Hamilton Farmers Market

·         Farmers market price fixing row settled – Gisborne Farmers market

·         Need for second farmers market questioned – Otago Daily times, Otago 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.  

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