Catalina Bay Farmers' Market

Last Sunday we headed for Catalina Bay Farmers' Market.  Housed in an old Airforce hangar at Hobsonville Point, it’s been three years since the last visit.  It may have moved hangars, changed its name and now operates Friday-Sunday, but it was disappointing to discover that the ferries still don’t operate on weekends.  Thankfully, with ample parking onsite, it’s less than 30 minutes’ drive (off-peak) from Auckland’s CBD.

Tackle the stairs or follow the path down the road; there is limited parking on the wharf

Tackle the stairs or follow the path down the road; there is limited parking on the wharf

Join the throngs of people enjoying the weekend market

Join the throngs of people enjoying the weekend market

Ready for a coffee we wandered towards the water and grabbed an outside table at Fabric. With views of the water, ferry wharf and soon to be opened coastal walkway, it was a pleasant way to kick things off and loved by locals and visitors alike.

Enjoying coffee outside at Fabric

Enjoying coffee outside at Fabric

Newly built boardwalk

Newly built boardwalk

Hobsonville Point ferry wharf

Hobsonville Point ferry wharf

It was then time to explore the farmers’ market. With a variety of stallholders from: fresh produce from Salty River Farm; an amazing array of Whitestone Cheese; delicious Lalele Organic gelato and freshly squeezed juices; rice, beans and grains; cakes, chocolate and coffee; to artisan breads – Gourmet Gannet are soon to start building an on site artisan bakery which opens in early 2019 – it would be easy to simply grab fresh meat or chicken, chorizo sausages and lunch would be ready in no time. But if you’d prefer something ready to eat think bagels, burgers, pastries, crepes, fritters and more.

Walking inside, it’s a hive of activity

Walking inside, it’s a hive of activity

Beautiful salad greens and herbs from Salty River Farms

Beautiful salad greens and herbs from Salty River Farms

A cabinet full of Whitestone Cheese

A cabinet full of Whitestone Cheese

Smiling faces at Lalele Organic, while Mulan (background) keeps the juice machine going

Smiling faces at Lalele Organic, while Mulan (background) keeps the juice machine going

Gourmet Gannet, artisan bakers

Gourmet Gannet, artisan bakers

Show your support and visit Catalina Bay Farmers' Market soon. You’ll find them on Hobsonville Point wharf: Friday 11am - 7pm and Saturday and Sunday 8:30am - 2pm.

With glimpses of blue skies, longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, that should be all the encouragement we need to explore further than our own backyards. 

Enjoy

Michelle

Wesley Market, a hidden gem

Most produce and farmers markets in Auckland run at weekends, but in a cosmopolitan city where not everyone works Monday to Friday, and sport and kids' activities bite into the weekend, it’s great to discover local markets open on weekdays.

A few weeks back, Wick Nixon from Wicked Wellbeing posted a video for Healthy Puketapapa Community Kai, cooking pad thai in the Wesley Market, using ingredients sourced from the market stallholders, which inspired an overdue visit to this long running – established 1994 – local produce market.

Friday morning – in between the showers and after the worst of rush hour traffic – it was a quick trip across town.  Finding a carpark in the surrounding residential streets was a breeze.

Stalls stretched lengthways along a paved enclave surrounded with trees.  Gazebos flapped in the gusty wind, tightly strapped to the trucks and vans to form a much needed wind break. 

Wandering up to the market entrance

Wandering up to the market entrance

Joining the crowds

Joining the crowds

Vegetables, salad greens, peppers, tomatoes and pungent bunches of herbs jostled for attention across a number of stalls.  Stone fruit, bananas, citrus, melons and cherries on offer; you had the perfect ingredients for a summer fruit salad right in front of you.  Wesley Market focuses on fresh produce, grown by the stallholders themselves, with only one food truck and one seafood vendor – selling an amazing array of whole fish – the only other vendors at the market this week.  The variety and number of stallholders varies from week to week; this week's weather having an impact on produce availability.   

A melting pot of cultures, it was interesting how many stallholders spoke limited English.  This was a real communication challenge when you wanted to know what an unusual vegetable was and how best to cook it.  Your sign language skills will come in handy!

These ladies spoke no English, which proved quite a challenge

These ladies spoke no English, which proved quite a challenge

A group of men seemed more intent on playing a board game than selling the produce on their table; their noisy banter attracting a curious onlooker.

More interested in their board game

More interested in their board game

On the way out stopped for a quick chat with Yael Shochat, who looked quite perplexed when it was mentioned this was The Foodie Inc’s first visit to Wesley Market.  Yael is a market regular and shops twice weekly at Wesley Market (and Sundays at Avondale Market), for fresh produce for her restaurant Ima Cuisine.  If you’ve eaten at Ima Cuisine, then you know how just good the local produce here must be.

Summer fruit bowl

Summer fruit bowl

The Wesley Market is working towards a bigger community zero waste initiative by reducing the use of plastic bags, encouraging people to buy local and recycling so don’t forget your recyclable shopping bag and say no if a plastic bag is offered (which seemed to happen a little too often).  Don’t forget to take cash, as stallholders didn’t appear to accept eftpos, and small cash transactions are so much quicker for everyone too.

Wesley Market – 740 Sandringham Road Extension, Mt Roskill, Auckland

Open Tuesdays and Fridays 7:30am – 1pm

If you take a visit, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Michelle

Farmers Markets – what’s the attraction?

Local food and produce markets are a way of life all over the world – often a social ritual where the stallholders know your name, your favourite ingredients and when to tempt you to try something new.  With food and produce markets throughout the country, thousands of us descend upon local farmers markets each week so what’s the real attraction here in New Zealand?

Driven by purchasing the freshest produce, supporting local producers, looking to purchase artisan products or simply escaping for an hour or so, many people are regulars at farmers markets.  On Saturday mornings at Tauranga Farmers Market (and others too) people patiently queue at the entrance waiting for 7:45am to tick over.  Early birds get the ever so popular fresh blueberries and free range eggs; sold out signs greet those who arrive mid-morning, while stallholders sit and chat in the sunshine, patiently waiting for 12 noon packdown to roll around.

Authorised people only before 7:45am

Authorised people only before 7:45am

Join the queue on a Saturday morning at Tauranga School

Join the queue on a Saturday morning at Tauranga School

Friendly vibe at Tauranga Farmers Market

Friendly vibe at Tauranga Farmers Market

For others, even ardent fans of farmers markets it’s a morning out driven by a need for truly fresh produce, a particular ingredient, meeting a coffee for a friend or simply that it’s been too long since the last visit.  Sometimes planned, sometimes impromptu we’re not what could be defined as regular market goers even if we love local farmers markets.

Out of town on holiday it’s the perfect opportunity to sample local artisan products.  A recent long weekend staying on a friends’ avocado orchard near Te Puke, we were spoilt for choice with Te Puke, Tauranga and Mt Mauganui farmers markets all within driving distance.  At Tauranga Farmers Market we were lucky to grab some local award winning cheese, Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza Cheese (Katikati based raw milk cheese makers), Small Batch hazelnut butter and loads of fabulous fresh produce.     

Award winning cheese - Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza

Award winning cheese - Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza

Small Batch Nut Butters

Small Batch Nut Butters

Local avocados of course

Local avocados of course

Peaches galore...

Peaches galore...

Weather dependent (it’s drizzly and grey here on the Coromandel today) we hope to head to Thames Market (facebook) Saturday morning.  For information on just a few of the farmers markets visited by The Foodie Inc click on links below:

If you have a favourite local food and produce market you wish to share, feel free to comment below.

Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle

 

 

Explore Wellington Markets

Every weekend, up and down the country thousands of people flock to farmers market.  For many it’s simply a weekly ritual – fresh local produce straight from the growers and the opportunity to meet the food producers themselves. For others it’s more of a social outing – meeting friends, exploring a market for the first time or simply getting out and about on the weekend.

If you’re in Wellington over the summer holiday make time to explore the local markets.  City Market in the Chaffers Dock Building Sundays 8:30am – 12:30pm provides a line-up of local food and beverage producers, from whitebait fritters (highly recommended) and savoury crepes, to macarons, cheese, nut butters and more.  Your taste buds won’t go home disappointed.

Enjoying a whitebait fritter dockside

Enjoying a whitebait fritter dockside

The perfect brunch - tomato, basil and cheese crepes

The perfect brunch - tomato, basil and cheese crepes

Then take a walk over the bridge towards Te Papa.  We were delighted to discover a line-up of food trucks and stalls from the infamous House of Dumplings to paella, Greek savouries and bacon butties to real berry ice cream packed full of berries, plenty of choice for Sunday lunch.

Food stall alley

Food stall alley

Queues at House of Dumplings

Queues at House of Dumplings

Dumplings hot off the grill

Dumplings hot off the grill

Waiting in anticipation of tasty Greek street food

Waiting in anticipation of tasty Greek street food

Enjoying a real fruit berry icecream

Enjoying a real fruit berry icecream

And while you’re there, don’t forget to grab everything you need for a picnic, BBQ or simply your weekly provisions from Wellington’s oldest market – Harbourside Market, open every Sunday 7:30am – 2pm in the carpark next to Te Papa.  From fresh fruit and vegetables to breads, cheese and deli meats; you can even grab fish fresh from the back of Nino’s fishing boat.

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Harbourside Market

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Harbourside Market

Fresh fish from Nino's fishing boat

Fresh fish from Nino's fishing boat

Look forward to exploring more Wellington markets in January.  For more information on other Wellington markets visit WellingtonNZ

Michelle

A Smorgasbord of Stalls

Parking in Auckland’s CBD can be touch and go, especially when time is tight.  Taking public transport, when the City Farmers' Market – Britomart is only open until 12:30pm was way too risky.  Delighted to discover $2 in the parking meter goes a whole lot further on a Saturday morning. And even better, a parking spot just around the corner.

Heartmarks in Takutai Square

Heartmarks in Takutai Square

In a grassy square, surrounded by high rise office buildings every Saturday morning you’ll find a smorgasbord of stalls.  From fresh produce: artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery, Blue Frog Breakfast muesli, fresh honey, Clevedon Herbs & Produce, flowers and eggs to meat from The Butcher Provenance and fabulous tea from Storm and India too.

Artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery

Artisan bread from Pukeko Bakery

Blue Frog Muesli - nice to try before you buy

Blue Frog Muesli - nice to try before you buy

Grabbed some herb seedlings from Clevedon herbs and produce

Grabbed some herb seedlings from Clevedon herbs and produce

Morning detox teas being delivered to the Lululemon store

Morning detox teas being delivered to the Lululemon store

The location and the blend of inner city dwellers and tourists see a lot more ‘ready to eat’ food than at a traditional farmers’ market.  And more international flavours from French crepes to Argentinean empanadas, Hungarian bread puffs and Latin American arepas too.  But let’s not forget old fashioned Kiwi mussel fritters, local juices and Aotea organic coffee too.

Arepas from Latin American

Arepas from Latin American

Hungarian bread puffs topped with feta and tomatoes

Hungarian bread puffs topped with feta and tomatoes

The Kiwi mussel fritter sandwich

The Kiwi mussel fritter sandwich

Grab a coffee or a bite to eat and make the most of sitting on the grass in Takutai Square listening to the resident Britomart DJ – it’s quite a contrast to week day mornings, with city workers and shoppers rushing from one place to the next.

Aotea organic coffee

Aotea organic coffee

City Farmers' Market – Britomart - Saturdays: 8am – 12:30pm, Takutai Square, 44 Galway Street, Auckland

Time to get those herb plants into pots.

Michelle

Meat Free Meals

Wrapped up warm, a glass of red wine in hand with eyes glued to the Netball World Cup finals – let’s not dwell on the disappointing result for the Silver Ferns, they played three awesome quarters, the first one their undoing – roasted vegetables fresh from the local farmers’ market make an easy mid-winter meat free dish on Sunday night, with leftovers perfect for Monday lunch.  

So Sunday morning awake very early, I headed for my first visit to Grey Lynn Farmers' Market – compact and noisy in the local community centre, it bustled with locals. The queue for vegetables from ‘George's Garden’ was out the door. The baby carrots still speckled with wet dirt, the greens glistening with moisture were freshly picked. 

Fresh farmers' market produce

Fresh farmers' market produce

Of course Bread & Butter Bakery's sweet brioche rolls and Il Casaro’s award winning handmade Italian style cheeses caught my eye too.

Handmade Italian style cheeses from Il Casaro

Handmade Italian style cheeses from Il Casaro

Off home with a bag stuffed with fresh produce, including some chubby stalks of ruby red rhubarb but more on those another day.

Fresh produce needs little embellishment.  A drizzle of olive oil, stalks of fresh rosemary, a sprinkle of pink salt and freshly cracked black pepper – toss to coat vegetables with the oil and seasoning then into the oven.

Fresh rosemary from the garden

Fresh rosemary from the garden

Lots of colourful winter vegetables

Lots of colourful winter vegetables

Bake for 40 minutes in a hot-ish oven, turning half way through but don’t get distracted with the final quarter of the netball or they will be a little more roasted than usual. Serve warm with crumbled feta, a satisfying Sunday night dish.

A little more roasted than usual...

A little more roasted than usual...

Delicious!

Michelle

Fabulous Fresh Food

Boric – it’s a name synonymous with fresh produce, with three generations of family at the heart of West Auckland’s fruit and vegetables supply. Under the guiding hands of brothers Franco and Stefan Boric, the business includes an amazing artisan food store crammed full of a stunning array of locally sourced products and handpicked imported products.

Once an old packing shed, Franco explained that last year’s renovations saw the building double in size.  It reopened in November 2014, with a large shaded deck overlooking orchards and picnic tables positioned with a bird’s eye view of the children’s playground – a mini Boric Market playhouse and old tractors to keep the kids entertained.

Shady covered deck over-looking playground and orchards

Shady covered deck over-looking playground and orchards

Boric Mini-Market - fun for the kids

Boric Mini-Market - fun for the kids

Nothing like a tractor for kids to play on

Nothing like a tractor for kids to play on

Back inside the extensive range of fresh fruit and vegetables is complemented with: fresh seafood, meat and poultry; a delicatessen with a huge array of local and imported cheese, salami and antipasti treats; home-grown honey and free range eggs; and a huge range of artisan products, local wines and boutique craft beers too.

Fresh produce galore

Fresh produce galore

Cheese & antipasto delights

Cheese & antipasto delights

Local honey too

Local honey too

Open 7 days, it’s worth the drive down the North Western motorway from Auckland’s CBD. Whether you’re looking for picnic staples, a mid-season feast, a coffee stop or simply somewhere to do you weekly shop Boric Food Market at 1404 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Kumeu won’t disappoint. 

Happy shopping foodlovers!

Michelle