Taranaki Farmers' Market
As you drive out of the Awakino Gorge on the road from Auckland to New Plymouth the essence of Taranaki completely opens itself up to you. The steep, winding road, (which the Audi Q5 handled with comfortable ease), becomes more relaxed and curvaceous. If it’s a clear day Mt Taranaki will be smiling down on you and, no matter what the weather, the west coast meandering alongside you all the way in to the city centre is breathtakingly beautiful.
Visiting the Taranaki Farmers' Market also gives you a taste of the region's character. The friendly, relaxed atmosphere has you stopping for lengths of time at each stall as questions about the produce inevitably lead to more in-depth conversations about the origins, process and history of each producer. These guys are passionate — about their produce and products, about staying true to nature, and about the joy of eating good food grown and made in Taranaki.
You can buy free-range and organic meats, seafood, fruit and vegetables, macadamia nuts, honey, eggs, breads, preserves and plenty more. Stallholders vary from week to week according to what's in season -— we visited in March in the middle of Cyclone Lusi but that wasn’t dampening the spirits of these stall-holders, no way, not hardy Taranaki folk.
Why you'll love the Taranaki Farmers' Market
Francis and Tony Rogers have owned and operated Post Q Gardens for more than 35 years. They have a huge variety of chillies on offer... hungarian mild, poblano, jalapeno, turkish medium, cherry mild, cayenne, rocotto, serrano, yastufusa, scotch bonnet... the lovely Francis helps you choose the right ones for different needs and palates. They also sell a variety of herbs.
Avonstour Heritage Organic Farm is a local certified organic farm with heritage breeds of pig, sheep, cattle and poultry. Their traditional dry-cured bacon is nitrate-free and comes from pigs that are happily free-range and bred using organic methods. They also sell kombucha (a fermented tea drink), local honey and hemp seed oil. You can mail order at avonstour.co.nz
Fresh and smoked fish was on offer at G&J Fish. Seasonal seafood delicacies can also be sourced here including fresh Bluff oysters, kina and whitebait.
Osama has been making his Middle Eastern dips and spreads under the Amadinah label for over 20 years. We left with a packet fantastic pita bread and a selection of dips — coriander pesto, babaganoush, spinach and feta and hummus — all natural.
Natural Lea offers certified organic produce grown locally by Patricia and Richard. On the day of our visit they had a large basket of organic tomatillos.
Love lavender are predominantly a garlic producer (the softneck variety) and it was good to learn that their beds of garlic plants are spray-free. Their name comes from the lavender they've planted as a wind-break between the garlic beds. Dried lavender and lavender oils were on offer, as well as a range of local-grown herbal teas.
Nashinui is fully certified organic orchard producing nashi pears. You can buy the fruit, or bottles of juice if you prefer.
The Blue Berry Patch was only selling blueberries on our visit but you can also buy blackcurrants and gooseberries — all grown on an orchard that follows organic and permaculture guidelines. They also sell preserves, and look out for their traditional sourdough bread and a range of small range of gluten- and dairy-free baking.
Taranaki Farmers' Market
Currie St (summer) or Huatoki Plaza (winter), New Plymouth
Every Sunday 9am-12pm