Fuseworks Media

National Farmers’ Markets Week returns for another celebration of the people who help feed the nation

National Farmers’ Markets Week is back from March 9-17 for its sixth annual celebration of the vital role farmers’ markets play in the nation’s food system and in feeding their local communities.

Kiwis who are not regular marketgoers are once again being encouraged to experience this direct link between farmer and consumer and talk to growers about the provenance of their produce while visiting their local farmers’ market.

The benefits of shopping at a farmers’ market are many. They include:

access to in-season produce which is often cheaper, fresher, lasts longer, and tastes better

the availability of many kitchen staples, like seasonal vegetables and fruit, meat, fish, eggs, dairy produce, and bread

prices that can be cheaper than the supermarkets

Farmers’ markets are the perfect local shopping destination providing the freshest, most local regional food to communities. They can be found across New Zealand in both rural and urban locations and every purchase supports a small business and celebrates local food.

National Farmers’ Markets Week is championed by volunteer organisation Farmers’ Markets NZ and features many special events spread across various markets over the two weekends of March 9-17.

Those special events include: Bay of Islands Farmers’ Markets (Kerikeri and Paihia)- market produce giveaways; Auckland’s Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market: 10am tour of the market on March 10 and 17; Waikato Farmers’ Market (Cambridge and Hamilton) produce goodie bags; Gisborne Farmers’ Market: a feijoa eating competition and kid’s colouring contest; Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market and the Napier Urban Farmers’ Market: an autumn produce scavenger hunt for the kids, prizes and other activities; Nelson Farmers’ Market: providing information and recipes at the market stalls on how to preserve the autumn harvest; Otago Farmers’ Market: free fruit for the kids and market chef demonstrating cooking with local produce and a produce goodie bag giveaway.

Farmers’ Markets NZ Chair Jono Walker is a passionate advocate for the sector and sells his own produce solely via the Cambridge and Hamilton farmers’ markets. He says authentic farmers’ markets are different from other markets in that only food is sold and the person selling the food is the person who has grown or made it.

He says shopping at farmers’ markets also makes financial sense.

“With the prices of most fresh produce still escalating in the supermarkets, shopping at a farmers’ market is a viable option and National Farmers’ Markets Week is a great way of promoting this to people who are not yet market shoppers,” he says.

“A farmers’ market is seen as a hub for the community, a place to source locally grown food, build relationships with the producers, and be a part of a sustainable and thriving community.

“It is also a place for the ethically conscious consumer who wants to know where their food comes from, how it is grown and to ensure their hard-earned dollars go directly back to the producer.

“We hope more New Zealanders, if they can, support their local market by doing as much of their weekly food shop there as they can.”

For more on Farmers’ Market New Zealand see farmersmarkets.org.nz or follow them on Instagram and Facebook @farmersmarketsnewzealand. For information on all 26 farmers’ markets nationally, see the list here.

 

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