Posted by: Joan Spiller | April 20, 2011

Farmers Markets – Fad or Fab?

I used to wonder at people who went to the Farmers market, always thought they were being pretentious and elitist. With their floppy sun hats, 4WD vehicles (or top down convertibles in Summer) the kiddies in their fancy strollers.

The Nouveau riche shopping there because it was trendy .. the place to be seen .. the thing to do on a Sunday in the provinces, dahlink..

Have you ever been to one? I have.. It took me awhile to muster up the courage but as a self-confessed foodie I felt I needed to man up and give it a go .. And so one morning, shortly after moving to HB, I wandered into the market all alone and took a peek.

Walking past a man playing the fiddle at the entrance, I realised it was an old teacher of mine from Steiner school, so I stopped and we had a natter – remembering ‘the olden days’.

Smiling to myself, I walked into what vaguely reminded me of an ancient centurion camp .. tents in a circle with a big green area in the centre where people lounged, drinking juice or coffee.

A musician played soft guitar entertaining the crowds – as they took a break from the toils of choosing between frantoio and barnea.

1 hour & 43 minutes later, I left the market laden with olive oil, avocados, lime oil, boozy marmalade, wagyu beef, coffee, bread and some very snazzy purple potatoes.

Yes.. I had been converted..

Oh sure, there are some snooty folk @ every market, heck they in most stores if you stop and look.. Now I add them to the list of things I find entertaining about going to market and simply go on in and enjoy myself.

I have since been to a few around NZ but my all time fave, is the original one I first went to: the Hawke’s Bay Market in the grounds of the local A&P society, on the outskirts of Hastings.

You can purchase (and taste beforehand!) everything from plump and beautiful avocadoes (cheaper than in the shops and never ever do you get a bad one), smoothies and juices to die for. Coffee to suit all tastes.. Veges.. Fruit.. Plants.. Herbs.. Breads.. Sauces.. Jams.. Chutneys.. Meats.. Oils..

Oh the oil .. my all time fave olive oil in the world (Village Press) is available at the HB farmers market and I buy it in the 4L cask. Hic 😉

As well there are the mushrooms I use in my favourite risotto recipe ever and there will be some stalls I’ve omitted but that just means you need to go check ’em out for yourself!

Open every Sunday (on Kenilworth Road Hastings) from 8.30am – 12.30pm – rain hail or shine! The Summer market is picturesque, set in the gardens outside. The winter market is under the grandstand and although not quite as nice ‘atmosphere’ wise, it’s rather nice to meander through on a filthy wet day and stay dry whilst sipping your coffee and nibbling on all the goodies they ply you with!

So, make it a MUST do, next time you’re in HB on a Sunday.
I do .. and I’m a local!

PS If you want to vote for YOUR favourite Farmer’s Market (and be in to win a trip for 2 to Singapore!!) just click here – the catch is you have to take me with you if you win the trip k 😉



  1. I can vouch for the HB Market as we were there with Joan in 08 and the old teacher from Steiner with the fiddle was there. We had a great time checking everything out and would do it again except it is a long way to go shopping. We even got a invitation to tour the facilities where the Village Press Olive oil is made. That is the best selling Olive Oil at Whole Foods in Austin, Texas and we carried a press report from the Austin paper that discussed that to the people that operate the Village Press. We took the tour, got our free bottle of Olive Oil and had a great time. Cast my vote for the HB Market.


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