Part of the joy of living in small town New Zealand is not only the friendly open nature of its people but their propensity to be resourceful, collaborative and supportive. The Wairarapa Farmers’ Market benefits from such members who are diverse and willing to go the extra mile.
Who doesn’t love a good farmers’ market? Being able to chat directly with local people who made the food or grew the produce is one of the joys of being in the country – whether you are a local or just passing through. And it’s a two-way street - stallholders proudly display their wares, offer samples, listen to feedback and build good relationships with customers and other stallholders.
Kickstarting the weekend every Saturday morning, is Wairarapa Farmers’ Market. Held from 9.00am -1.00pm under cover in the Farriers Car Park, (thanks to the support of Trust House), it’s at the north end of Masterton. There’s easy access and no problem parking.
It’s easy to slip into laidback weekend mode – catch up with friends, pick up a coffee and gather something tasty for lunch or do the weekly fruit and vege shop, knowing that you are buying produce that hasn’t had far to travel. Live music from local musicians just adds to the cruisy atmosphere.
The market runs rain or shine – on sunny days, pick out a picnic spot between the trees on the stream bank in Robinson Park. There’s room for the kids to play and you can even walk the pooch at this dog-friendly venue (drinking water is provided).
Goods and produce on offer are ever-changing – so grab a flat white from Machiatto Coffee and have an explore. Or you may want to try something that you haven’t had before – such as Papa Ora’s doubly fermented Kombucha tea.
If you are putting together a picnic, you’ll find handcrafted cheeses from Kingsmeade, and a full range of pies, dips, patés, biscotti and cakes from Wakelin House. Or you might want to stock up the cupboard with handmade preserves and condiments – look for the Rose Cottage stall, or try Snooty Fruit which specialises in gluten and additive-free jams and chutneys.
Fresh organic seasonal produce is available from stalls such as Gladstone Gardens and Wairarapa Organics and the market can be the place to pick up hard-to-find vegetables or seasonal treats such as locally grown walnuts and Mole Green’s perennials -a wide range of well grown, hard to find perennial treasures at affordable prices.
Dogs aren’t neglected either – look out for Maggie’s Barkery and Dog Deli, where you can pick up 100% natural treats.
The market reflects the produce grown in the region – you’d expect to find award-winning olive oils, such as Valley Oils and boutique wines, including Paulownia Estate. But you could be surprised to see products from lesser known outlets, such as the lavender skin care range from Lavender Magic, or seaweed supplements to turbo charge your garden from The Seaweed Man.
Some stalls are seasonal, if you want to keep in touch with what’s on offer in the market, a weekly newsletter is emailed to customers or you can check out the Facebook page.
The Wairarapa Farmers’ Market is always looking for new, local talent and aims at encouraging budding entrepreneurs to trial their products. There’s friendly help for new stallholders, and stalls are available for a reasonable fee. The market has its roots in local produce but it is looking to widen the product range. However, it is still expected that the producer should also be the seller, and that goods should be “products with integrity” in line with the values of the farmers’ market. There is also a free Community Table at the market, offering fundraising opportunities for sports groups, schools and community groups.
Wairarapa Farmers’ Market. Saturday from 9.00am -1.00 pm, Farriers Car Park, 4 Queens Street North, Masterton.