Farmers' markets have become very much a part of the weekly shopping routine. They allow us to shop locally for seasonal produce and chat with the growers and producers. They inspire us to try different things and they seriously help with menu planning. A visit to the Whangarei Grower's Market saw Ray McVinnie serving enviable meals to house guests on a recent holiday -

,

and a

.

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Allyson, who is surrounded by markets in France's Hautes-Pyrenees, makes a very fine tart using the local farmers'

. Most New Zealand markets have at least once local cheesemaker in attendance, so take the recipe along and have a chat to them about which of their cheeses would work best here.

Peter has me salivating at the prospect of Bluff oysters. Oysters are another thing farmers' markets are good for - if they grow in the area the market will have them and you can be sure they are fresh and delicious.

But first, it's time for a refreshing

while you cook some rice ready for tonight's

and read

.