Thursday, September 30, 2010

Market shopping

Market shopping

By Annabel Langbein
Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook
My TV show Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook was filmed at my little cabin on the shores of Lake Wanaka, where I am lucky enough to maintain a large vegetable garden that provides much of my family's fresh produce.

I have always grown my own vegetables - something that was instilled in me by my father Fred, who maintained a prodigious garden that provided us with a nutritious and interesting diet.

When I started cooking, I learnt early on that the fresher your ingredients, the less work there is for you in the kitchen. With nature on your side it’s easy to be a great cook and enjoy delicious meals at the drop of the hat.

The fluorescent atmosphere of a supermarket may make everything look good, but looks don’t necessarily equate to flavour or succulence. And it is this difference in flavour which goes a long way to explain the phenomenal popularity of farmers' markets.

In the freshly picked harvests of local growers, we discover older and lesser known varieties of produce grown because they taste good, not because they suit the long life requirements of a supermarket supply chain.

I also like the fact farmers' markets create a sense of community – something fast disappearing from our lives as people get busier and the big chains bump out old-timer providores.

Each week at the markets, the same friendly faces greet and cajole. I love this chance to try something new and be tempted by an artisan spread, cheese or specialty sausage. So, even without a backyard garden, it's possible to enjoy what is in season at its very best. New Zealand is blessed with some wonderful farmers’ markets where you can support local growers and cook in sync with nature's harvests.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite local markets around the country:

Annabel Langbein is the star of the new TV ONE series Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook(7pm Saturdays).

Watch more Annabel Langbein recipe videos.

Get Annabel Langbein's Salsa Verde recipe.

Get all Annabel Langbein's cooking tips here.

See the cookbook Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook for all the recipes from the TV show

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spring Has arrived at Farmers' Markets of NZ

Our thoughts are with our nine Canterbury Farmers' Market members, we are all thinking of you and wish you the best after the devastating earthquake that happened on Saturday morning in Christchurch and surrounding areas.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Farmers’ Market members for their support of the volunteer FMNZ Executive over the last 12 months.  We have undertaken a number of new initiatives aimed at delivering benefits directly to our members and yet we realise that the work is ongoing and our job is far from done.  Like most of you we are extremely busy in our personal lives and run on the good faith and energy that sees us through the working week.  Then there is the running of our Farmers’ Markets - the most enjoyable part of the week!

Looking back on where we have come from allows us to see the progress that we have all made over the last decade – who would have thought that from humble beginnings, we would have grown into such a strong network of like-minded people.  

A snapshot of some highlights of the decade:

2000 - Hawkes Bay  FM opens,  2001 - Marlborough FM opens, 2003 - Otago FM opens, 2004 - Bay of Islands FM opens
2005 – Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ), is incorporated
2006 - Inaugural FMNZ conference held in Hawkes Bay (16 members)
2006 - FMNZ produces Market Management handbook and Stallholder Handbook for members
2006 - Farmers Markets New Zealand wins Innovators Award from the  Restaurant Association
2008 - 2nd FMNZ conference held in Marlborough (40 member markets)
2008 - Buy Local Funding initiative adopted and completed by member markets
2008 - Authenticity certification scheme identified as the best tool for protecting the Farmers’ Market brand and providing transparency for Farmers’ Markets and their increasing customer base
2008 Fresh Thoughts newsletter introduced as a communication tool
2009 – Inaugural Manager’s Forum,  focusing on the delivery of advice, information and tools to the  managers who run our markets every week
2010 - 3rd FMNZ conference held in Hamilton (50 member markets)  Bernie Prince from FreshFarm Markets in Washington DC  is named Patron of FMNZ
2010 -  marketground  is made available to all members and stallholders
2010 -  Strategic planning for authenticity certification (ongoing)

The FMNZ Executive committee  has a number of exciting and challenging projects in the wind and we look forward to working with all of our members, both big and small, to ensure that the Farmers’ Markets of New Zealand becomes  a part of the ‘weekly shop’ for all consumers of New Zealand.

FMNZ has worked hard in developing a large network of very supportive media and other advocates around the country who are proving invaluable in assisting us to promote and share the success of individual markets and stallholders and we continue to work in good faith with them.

I wish you and your markets all the very best for another enjoyable and productive year ahead - please do not hesitate to contact me if FMNZ can be of any assistance.

Chris Fortune
Chairperson, FMNZ
Phone 021 935995 or 03 579 3599