How much wood would a wood chopper chop if a wood chopper could chop wood? Quite a lot if he or she was going to the Coatesville market.
There are almost as many stalls of bar leaners, breadboards and wine barrel platters as there are food merchants at this eclectic Sunday destination.
So obviously I needed some cheese to sit on that chunk of carpentry - so I homed in on Cheese on Wheels.
Coatesville is one of many markets they visit north of Auckland - from Dargaville and Whangarei to Kerikeri. Thea Simays owned a delicatessen in Holland, and imports European hard cheeses and uses a local supplier for her soft cheeses.
The creamy cumin gouda (pronounced how-dar ... just so you know) lives up to its name, as does the tangy goat's feta. Seek out the bright orange truck shop - it also has salty Dutch liquorice, and a few other morsels from the Netherlands.
This is Coatesville Market, (without the "farmer" in the title), but it is on farmland so don't think you're bright white Converse or white ripped jeans will make it unscathed as you traipse among the haphazardly placed stalls in this rural west of west Auckland market. Big puddles are roped off with bunting.
In excess of 50 pull-up gazebos house all sorts of wares - you can buy the best bacon and (smoked) egg sandwich you'll ever try, and window shop for dream catchers, man-cave signs and retro china while you wait.
Nestled among more than a dozen eateries are a few take-home producers, including Fresh Catch fish, a few fruit and vege stalls, free-range eggs, spray-free organic potatoes and kumara, and Salash Deli and Pukeko Bakery.
There's a great vibe here, with lots to try, buy and pass by - and if wooden benches or photo frames aren't your thing, there's pottery, paintings, jewellery and much more to whip out your cash for.
THE COFFEE: Aotea organic, and the only provider, so be prepared to wait as these guys are run off their feet. Their range includes soy and decaf.
SWEET OR SAVOURY?
Ahh, both! My picks on the day are Filipino food truck Hapunan's Pata Tim (two pulled pork in a steamed bao for $10) and a lemon meringue Grown Up Donut and Philippe plum tarte vie for my attention, and win.
BEST HANGOVER CURE: The Langos Hungarian fried bread has a queue of burly blokes all talking about last night's rugby. Warm, crispy, glistening with a drizzle of oil, and topped with feta and tomato, these breads are roughly $10-$16 each - but are the size of Big Foot's big foot.
UNIQUE FACTOR: Aunt Betty's has nothing on Great Grandma Jenkins. I love the back story to this delicious cake. Pauline is ensuring her ancestor's legacy lives on and has created an exquisitely-packaged fruit cake that has a hint of brandy.
BUM RAP: The market could do with places to stand, sit or lean to enjoy the food. If you can juggle your shopping, a brolly and eat that tasty treat without it slopping down your front, you deserve a job at Cirque de Soleil.
MAKE A DAY OF IT:
Take a chiller bag so your shopping won't spoil while you drop into Hallertau on the road back to State Highway 16. If you like beer, choose your faves for a tasting paddle, the local wines on offer are great too.
VERDICT: This isn't - nor does it profess to be - a traditional farmers' produce market. You can get all you need for a few days. With the "gentlemen's hours" of a 10am start, it's worth a Sunday drive. Go hungry, you will find everything you could possibly want to walk and fork. On your way home, marvel at the understated mansions and their manicured gardens and pine for life in the country.
PARKING: Ample around the outskirts.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Sorry, another Sunday drive destination.
CHILD-FRIENDLY: Yes, but remember it's muddy at this time of year.
EFT- POS: There are a few stallholders with Eft-pos but take cash just in case.
DOGS: Absolutely, when I went several Instagram pooches were having a play date.
WET WEATHER OPTIONS: Arts and crafts in the hall.
4 Mahoenui Valley Rd
First Sunday of the month,10am-2pm