The Farmers’ Market, a Tauranga Institution, Turns Twenty!

Words Liz French

The Tauranga Farmers market began with a dream … and two decades on, it’s very much a permanent reality and a regular shopping and social event for many in the BOP. It celebrates its 20th birthday on Saturday 4 February, 2023.

The market was the brainchild of Olive Caddie. She and her husband Graham set up a trial market at the Tauranga Historic Village on 3 February, 2003 and invited selected stallholders to join them. It worked and the market was held at the village until 2005 when a flood caused them to seek an alternative venue. Thus began the successful long-term relationship between the market and Tauranga Primary School.

Foundation Stall Holders

Nourish spoke to the four stall holders who were there at the beginning and have supported the market for 20 years.

The Norman Brothers, who established their citrus orchard in 1978, had been selling through Turners and Growers and at other markets when approached to try their produce at the first market. Now it’s the only one they sell at. They hardly miss a market, even when it’s pouring, out of respect for their loyal shoppers. “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us,” Jocelyn Norman points out.

Lyn Jenner of Kaimai Lettuce is another long-term stall holder (“I think I joined two months in”). She has been a committee member for years and treasurer for the last 10. Selling direct makes it worthwhile for a small producer like her and manning her stall gives her valuable social interaction. She sees a bright future for the market, feeling that the pandemic increased public awareness of the need, responsibility and benefits of shopping locally.

John and Mary Beddows of Garden Fresh are now in their eighties. They and their family have been selling “whatever is in season” for the entire 20 years of the market. Mary loves the social side. John says they will continue, “until we run out of breath”.

Ralph Allen of Lyncroft Nursery was persuaded by the Caddies at the inception to sell his native plants; many gardens bear the evidence. Ralph recently retired from selling natives but still keeps up the market habit with clivia and herbs. “I find the farmers market very satisfying, as people make it a destination. They need to eat, and they can eat well from the market.”


Making Market Music

Music has always been an integral part of the market experience, with an eclectic line up.

Peter Cleaver and Gerry Meister have both been regular market entertainers: Peter and his band doing country rock mainly from the 60s and 70s, and Gerry often playing his own compilations of country music.

Peter says of his ever-evolving band: “We love playing at the market because there is no pressure. If we make a mistake nobody cares. Its practice where we earn a little pocket money. The main advantage is exposure and the bookings we get as a result.”

The Future

Lyn and Eddie of Paul’s Tomatoes have been stallholders since 2007. Lyn Paul, a committee member since 2010, is currently secretary of the market committee, after holding the chair till 2020. At this milestone, she attributes good governance and the steady hand of long-term market manager Trixie Allen to its success … and looks to the future.

“I would hope it will continue to grow but maintain its true farmers market status. One of our values is to ‘provide fresh quality product that is home grown and/or home produced’ and that is the underlying ethos of the market.”

Growing the number of regular market shoppers is always important, Lyn says. So pass the word, and join in the celebrations on 4 February.

Tauranga Farmers Market
31 Fifth Ave, Tauranga




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