Words Liz French, Images Alex Spodyneiko
Tauranga Farmers’ Market customers are lucky that their market is a genuine farmers’ market, and not only one of the longest running in the country but considered one of the best.
Beware of imitations! Farmers’ markets are not all created equal. Just naming a market a farmers’ market does not make it so. The description as farmers’ market implies that growers sell their own products direct to the public. Often this is not strictly the case, with produce re-sold from some stalls.
To be a true farmers’ market, management and stall holders have to meet criteria set by Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ), an association set up to support farmers’ markets throughout the country.
The Tauranga Farmers’ Market has belonged to FMNZ since 2011. By that time the market was eight years old. It was established in January 2003 and when the first market was held at the Compass Village (now known as the Historic Village) the stallholders did have varying styles of product.
The founding of the Tauranga Farmers’ and Producers’ Market Incorporated in 2005 came with a clear intent expressed in their mission statement:
To provide a vibrant environment for local growers and food producers to sell directly to the public.
The Tauranga Farmers’ Market lists its values as:
- Fresh quality product that is self-grown or home produced.
- Provide shoppers with a positive experience they want to tell friends about.
- Members who work collectively for the benefit of their market.
Authentic Stall Holders
All Tauranga stall holders are authentic, which means they are primary producers who sell fresh local produce grown themselves. Or, they sell value added products made from their own ingredients or those sourced within the region. Members of the market committee make property visits to assess the authenticity of the product and its local focus.
As Tauranga Farmers’ Market is committed to its values, management does have to turn down requests for stalls. “Especially if they are craft based,” Market Manger Trixie Allen explains. “As FMNZ Farmers’ Market members we adhere to being primarily a food market with a small representation of flowers and plants.”
As Tauranga Farmers’ Market’s constitution states, stall holders should be within 200 kilometres of the market site. However, Trixie points out there is dispensation for products that can’t be grown within the regional radius. “For example, cherries and apricots when in season.”
BOP shoppers are lucky to have one of the longest running farmers’ markets in the country. Whangarei’s was the first, then the Otago Farmers’ Market; followed a few months later, and 19 years ago, by Tauranga.
Plenty of reasons to feel confident your Tauranga Farmers’ Market not only delivers you a fun and fruitful Saturday morning but also ensures you are getting fresh regional produce grown locally.
It’s the real thing!