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.
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!
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.
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.
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.