Com­mu­nity comes to­gether at Farm­ers’ Mar­ket

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

There are very few places in New Zealand where the com­mu­nity comes to­gether on a Fri­day. But Feilding is the ex­cep­tion. On Fri­day morn­ings through to early af­ter­noon, peo­ple from the re­gion, as well as na­tional and international vis­i­tors, gather to meet, chat, carry out their weekly busi­ness and pur­chase home­grown pro­duce di­rect to the cus­tomer from lo­cal farm­ers.

Their fo­cus is the Feilding Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, set in an idyl­lic lo­ca­tion in the heart of the town – Manch­ester Square – the hub of the shop­ping precinct.

Farm­ers’ Mar­ket man­ager Raewyn Loader says the Fri­day phe­nom­e­non is more than shop­ping.

‘‘The town comes alive with live­stock sales co­in­cid­ing with mar­ket day,’’ she says.

‘‘The mar­ket is a com­mu­nity and so­cial gath­er­ing place where peo­ple come to meet and greet as well as pur­chas­ing lo­cally grown and added value pro­duce.

‘‘Re­peat cus­tomers are lured not just by the prod­uct but also to take in the fresh air, lis­ten to the busker of the day, soak up the at­mos­phere and, of course, leave with a bag or two of coun­try good­ness.’’

Raewyn, who is also Projects Man­ager for Feilding and Dis­tricts Pro­mo­tions, has seen the mar­ket flour­ish over the years.

It started in April 2005 with nine lo­cal stall­hold­ers and has now grown to 38 stalls in the sum­mer and 28 in win­ter.

Raewyn lists an in­cred­i­ble range of pro­duce on dis­play such as free range pork cuts, small goods, lamb, fish, seafood, honey, breads, ar­ti­san breads, lo­cally roasted cof­fee, lo­cally har­vested aro­matic honey, a wide ar­ray of home­made pick­les, pre­serves, spreads and dips, cakes and cook­ies, sweets, cheese, wines, plants, seedlings, wal­nuts, mush­rooms, a wide se­lec­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles and laven­der prod­ucts.

The Farm­ers’ Mar­ket adds vi­brancy to Feilding which has won New Zealand’s Most Beau­ti­ful Town award 14 times.

It has also won the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket of the Year ti­tle twice which at­tracted royal vis­i­tors Prince Charles and the Duchess of Corn­wall dur­ing their Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Visit.

The Farm­ers’ Mar­ket is an in­te­gral part of why Feilding has won New Zealand’s Most Beau­ti­ful Town award 14 times.

The mar­ket’s unique­ness is due to its whole­some shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

Stall­hold­ers are the pro­duc­ers, farm­ers, ar­ti­san cooks and pas­sion­ate food­ies, Raewyn ex­plains.

‘‘Sev­eral stall­hold­ers have started at the mar­ket and then de­cided to ex­pand fur­ther and es­tab­lish premises in the town,’’ she says.

‘‘So come along, join us ev­ery Fri­day from 9-1.30pm rain, hail or shine in the dis­tinc­tive town cen­tre sur­rounded by late Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian build­ings with pat­terned paved foot­paths and huge gar­den beds which add to Feilding’s nos­tal­gic coun­try charm.’’

Feilding Farm­ers’ Mar­ket is a pop­u­lar place.

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