Christchurch Farmers Market

By: Jill Malcolm


Christchurch Farmers Market Christchurch Farmers Market
Christchurch Farmers Market Christchurch Farmers Market
Christchurch Farmers Market Christchurch Farmers Market
Christchurch Farmers Market Christchurch Farmers Market
Christchurch Farmers Market Christchurch Farmers Market

Travel writer Jill Malcolm on why she loves the Saturday farmers market in Christchurch…

These days, it seems that every village, city, and tinpot town in New Zealand has a Farmers Market. I don’t lament the fact. On the road, they are often a great source of fresh vegetables and baking. Every now and then, I come across one that is memorable—full of food magicians and intriguing produce that I can’t find anywhere else.

And so it was at the Saturday Farmers Market in Christchurch where I had one of the best food-find mornings I’ve had in a long while. The venue is alluring—on the banks of the tree-fringed Avon River in a lovely park-like garden next to Deans Bush Reserve.

Crowds moved in a steady stream beneath the blue canopies of around 50 stalls set up in the shadow of the historic Riccarton House. Displayed was a tantalising line-up of innovative morsels. I started my culinary journey with two small puffy Dutch pancakes called poffertjes. I then moved on to taste Lupo’s delicious organic vegan nut cheeses, tried Feijoa syrup and hazelnuts oils fresh from Rangiora, ate a Stewart Island oyster pie and an empanada, and tossed back a lip-smacking juice of fresh beetroot, apple and ginger. 

That was breakfast, and I needed a break. I sat on the banks of the Avon and watched two mallard ducks scavenging for their own feast.

For morning tea, I managed an authentic Indian chai made with seven spices. It was aromatic and filling, and I am sure it was good for me. On a low stool sat a thin Japanese man placidly cooking ‘medicinal’ shiitake mushrooms in a small fry pan. He assured they were good for me, but by then, I’d switched to a sampling-only phase. A Spanish man called Mariano offered me his authentic Spanish chorizo. I tasted Ali McGregor limoncello, a Ninja teppan burger, 11 styles of olives from The Volcano Market, and as much as I could manage from the array of locally made cheeses, oils, chutneys, and baking.

I stoically ignored the plethora of good-for-me fresh produce, but around lunchtime, I managed a salty, fatty, and downright delicious bacon sandwich that the vendor assured would make me a happier person. And it did. I waddled off for a walk through Dean’s Bush feeling that life was good.

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