The Marlborough Farmers’ Market – it’s well worth a visit all year round

With snow on the surrounding mountains many of you may balk at venturing outdoors to shop, but this is one of my favourite times of the year at the Market.  I love pulling on my hat, scarf and boots and, with coffee in one hand and hot dog in the other, visiting the cheery stallholders with their array of delicious seasonal produce.  It’s the time of year when citrus comes to the fore (just in time for boosting our vitamin C levels) and the tables laden in vegetables are a sight to behold.  I’m always astounded at the variety of plants still available for my garden, the great selection of fish for my curries, and wild meat for my slow cooker.  I’m looking forward to Sunday morning, I hope you are too.

See you this Sunday from nine til noon at the A&P Showgrounds

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to join us on FaceBook.



The girls are still cheerfully laying at Koromiko so grab yourself a tray of reasonably priced, super fresh, free-range eggs.  Check out the Ngamahau van for fresh fish and the catch of the week.  Back by popular demand Pedro will have winter sweet Empanadas this Sunday – spiced quince with almonds and raisins – the perfect Sunday Brunch!

This week at Traditional Country Preserves Margaret will be selling Mississippi fruit muffins, using local market fruit (frozen from earlier in the season), at all the winter markets – muffins are just $2 each.  Spicy Apricot sauce, Kiwifruit jam plus all sizes of Cauli and Pineapple chutney are now back in stock.  Try adding some of the range of sauces or chutneys in your next stir fry for a burst of flavour. I particularly like the Black Doris Plum sauce, and the Marharajah is also popular used this way.  Also experiment in wraps or on pizza bases for a quick and easy meal.  Margaret would love to hear from you about your favourite uses of her products – she’s been told the gold medal Sugar-free Plum Conserve is good on crackers with cheese, which is perfect for my Sunday afternoon tea.

Did you know that apples are nutritious – they are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber.  Apples are energy-dense and water-rich fruits which helps you feel full.  They also contain pectin which acts as a pre-biotic, so the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may well have some truth to it.  To encourage healthy eating this winter, all through the month of June at the Marlborough Farmers’ Market FRUT4U Lowes Orchard will have some varieties of apples on special at just $1.50 per kg!  The varieties include Pac Queen, Braeburn, Splendour and Pink Lady.  These apples are delicious, they’re crisp and juicy – don’t miss out!



Before working at the Farmers’ Market I had the pleasure of residing on a small farm in Tasman that seemed to grow a little bit of everything.  Fruit trees (olives, peaches, apples, pears, plums) and vineyards, flowers and vegetables, and a variety of animals (horses, sheep, cows, goats, piggies, dogs, cats, ducks and chickens).  I spent three years learning as much as I could – from pruning vines and thinning fruit trees, to raising chickens and harvesting lavender – I simply loved my life raising my young daughter and ‘pottering about the farm’.  There were trees of walnut, pine nut, almond and hazelnut too and I admittedly found the process from picking to eating the nut to be extremely labour intensive – especially pine nuts.  My three years in Ngatimoti left me with a new found appreciation of the care and effort that goes into the food that you’ll find at the Farmers’ Market.  This week I found these great short movies about two of our nut farms – Riverina and the previous owners on Nutt Ranch – and I thought they might help you appreciate the process from farm gate to dinner plate too.  The stallholders at Riverina and Nutt Ranch are incredibly passionate about their produce and love sharing their knowledge with customers – please make sure you try their samples, nuts are a labour of love and they taste so delicious!




Recipe: Absolutely almond cake – simply heaven for almond fans


Absolutely almond cake

Best served in very small squares alongside an espresso to balance the sweetness. Keeps for up to five days in an airtight tin.

Makes 30 pieces.  Recipe courtesy of The Guardian, UK


250g butter, melted, plus extra for brushing
400g marzipan
4 eggs
350g ground almonds
225g granulated sugar
4 tsp almond extract
Zest of an orange (optional)
50g almonds, roughly chopped


1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Cut a rectangle of baking parchment to line the bottom of a 30 x 23 x 4cm baking tin. Brush the tin liberally with melted butter before popping in the baking parchment.

2 Knead the marzipan to soften it. Roll it between two pieces of baking parchment to fit the baking tin. Set aside.

3 Put the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, sugar and almond extract, then add the melted butter. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the grated orange zest to the mixture if using and mix well.

4 Pour half of the mixture into the tin, and smooth over with a palette knife. Gently place the rolled-out marzipan on top.

5 Pour over the remaining cake mixture and smooth over, taking care to cover the marzipan completely.

6 Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the top.

7 Bake for 30 minutes, until the top and sides are a light golden colour. To check, push the cake away from the edge of the tin with a palette knife and have a peek.

8 Cut into small squares. This can be served either warm or cold.