Farmers' markets can be dangerous places and not just because of the endless discussion about whether to use the possessive apostrophe and where to put it.
I don't mean dangerous in that a bull might escape its enclosure and run amok or you decide you can lift that hay bale but end up putting your back out.
No, they are dangerous because you can end up spending way too much money and then months, if not years, later find said purchase you were going to be brave and try at the back of the fridge with mould growing on it.
So it was with a thrifty mindset I arrived at Summerhill Farmers Market on Sunday and right on cue the sun appeared. The market, a sister to Hokowhitu, started a year ago so it's taken me a year to get over the bridge and up the hill.
Some of the stallholders are hardy market annuals like Henson's Gardens, Wholegrain Organics and Nadia's Kitchen. Others I'd never seen before.
I was intrigued by City Slicker Honey, the brainchild of Tim Coulson. I pride myself on knowing what's going on around the city but this beekeeping and honey business hadn't found its way to my hippocampus. There's something magical about tasting honey named after the Palmy suburbs where the hives are kept and, fittingly, Summerhill was my favourite. Tim was away but his parents were there to fill me in.
Somehow I managed to get a message to my frontal lobes that I had no need of a lolly cake donut and instead bought some frozen blackcurrants. As a bonus, they were wrapped in a Manawatū Standard from December 2015, providing a trip down memory lane. I had a good laugh when the stallholder described the berries as the dark fruit that's supposed to be good for you.
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Andor and Kristy brought a touch of the exotic with their extensive range of cheeses. They're from ANZIL Hungarian restaurant at Paraparaumu. In the words of the busker who greeted me with Elton John's Rocketman, "I think it's gonna be a long, long time" before I get to see European cheeses in situ so I appreciated ANZIL's efforts.
One area where stallholders could make more effort is displaying their payment options - cash only, payWave etc. And please don't tell customers there is an ATM at the shopping centre when there isn't.
Working behind a farmers' market stall is hard yakka. You're there in all weathers, standing. You can be frantically busy or find yourself wiling away the time chatting to the neighbouring stallholder. Just because you are an expert producer doesn't always mean you are well suited for customer service. But on the whole, I found the stallholders friendly, engaging and knowledgeable. One told me they weren't as busy as usual, which they attributed to the September market being cancelled.
The Summerhill market has lots of space for the stalls and plenty of car parks. It's definitely worth buzzing up the hill for.