Market goes undercover

By Corey Charlton

The Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market will have six brand new, all-season barns to operate from at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds by autumn next year.

Construction on six barns to house the Farmers' Market through both winter and summer will begin early next year as part of major development plans announced yesterday for the Showground's historic Waikoko Gardens.

The Sunday market will operate from the barns, arranged in a "U" formation, with the ability to be opened up during summer but provide protection during winter.

Each barn will be about 30-metres long and 8m wide. Currently the Farmer's Market has two homes - outdoors during the summer, but in the exhibition hall during winter.

Hawke's Bay A&P; Society general manager Brent Linn said the barns were just one part of a wider $500,000 investment in the Showgrounds which would include planting and the rehabilitation of the lake.

Farmers' Market chairwoman Joanie Williams said while it increased the costs of being part of the Farmers' Market, when it was presented to stallholders it received unanimous support.

"I think the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market is very much one of the leading farmers' markets in the country and we pride ourselves in being that," she said, adding they were privileged to have a purpose-built facility.

"It'll be wonderful. It's physically a challenging thing having to set up little tents and gazebos every weekend. Having them wanting to come and support us all year round is wonderful."

Mr Linn said he was very pleased about the plans.

"It is ... the first part of a larger look at the redevelopment of the showgrounds which will see us adding value to our other top tenancies," he said.

"It is all part of that. This is just the first cab off the rank."

Work would also be undertaken on the lake to clean it up and preserve its water clarity, an asset which Mr Linn said deserved to be "back to its former glory".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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