Thursday, April 28, 2011

Marlborough in the running for Taste of the Year


When Marlborough Farmers' Market started 10 years ago it was only the second such market in the country.

But despite the relatively small population of Blenheim and the surrounding areas, market president Chris Fortune says people have embraced the ethos of "authentic and transparent" food grown close to home.

Out of 43 eligible markets in the Taste Farmers' Markets Awards 2011, Marlborough is sitting in sixth place as customers' favourite, but there is still time to register a vote. Voting closes on Saturday.

"We're doing really well – it's a good sign of the strength of the base and support that we have in Marlborough," Chris said.

"But all the markets are reflective of their own regions – what works in Auckland doesn't necessarily work in Marlborough."

The markets gave food businesses the opportunity to have a retail outlet in their region, Chris said.

Although New Zealand was still relatively new at farmers' markets, it was catching up fast.

"Australia only had them one year before New Zealand so we're still the babies of the group, but we're looking at what's happening in farmers' markets around the world.

"(Marlborough) is certainly a growing market."

In the 2011 awards, Tauranga is leading the voting, with New Zealand's first farmers' market, Hawkes Bay, second.

Chris said rural people were generally more supportive of the markets and cities could struggle to become established. However, once they do they have the population to make them grow.

Those interested can vote at tastefarmersmarkets.org.nz and be entered into a competition to win a trip to Singapore.

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