Nestled among the bucolic farmlands and vineyards of Hawkes Bay along the central coast of New Zealand’s north island is the Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market, the oldest farmers’ market in New Zealand. Each Saturday and Sunday, locals gather to buy fresh produce from carrots to currants, prepared foods like pizza and pastries, and artisanal products like jams, chutneys, and coffee.
The open-air market is held in two locations: at Lower Emerson Street in Napier (or inside the Municipal Theatre Carpark on Tennyson Street on days with inclement weather) on Saturdays and at the Hawkes Bay A&P Showgrounds on Kenilworth Road in Hastings on Sundays.
Arrive early, as both markets open about 8:30 a.m. and are packed up by 1 p.m. What makes the Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market so special is that it is relaxed, with vendors are spread out in a wide circle allowing plenty of space between tents, carts, and trucks to socialize with growers, producers, and locals over freshly roasted coffee and breakfast sandwiches. There’s no jostling elbow-to-elbow for fresh produce here.
Grab a bacon sandwich (crispy and juicy rashers of bacon sandwiched between two slices of buttered toast) from Verry Best Breakfast and a coffee from Bay Espresso Organic Coffee Co. Owners Chris and Jonelle Jarvis roast organic fair trade coffee daily. Their signature blend is an Arabica organic blend. Be sure to try a flat white, a Kiwi coffee shop menu staple of a shot of espresso with steamed milk and no foam, rendering a flat white top on the beverage.
Stock up on seasonal strawberries from Scott's Strawberries and feijoas (a fruit with an exterior similar to a lime and a fleshy inside that has the consistency of a passion fruit or kiwi and has a sour taste. It can be scooped out and eaten alone or made into jams, chutneys, juices, and more) from the aptly named Just Feijoas. If you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchen, pick up some kumara (a purple and golden orange vegetable similar to a sweet potato that is grown in the Kaipara region in northern New Zealand).
The Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market is also a great place to buy edible souvenirs. Stop at St. Andrews Limes for artisanal chutneys, dressings, cordials, and condiments made with Tahitian and Kaffir limes. Especially delicious are the lime curd, which is great on scones, and lime and passion fruit crush, which makes a great dessert topping on ice cream, both delicious reminders of the Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market.
Lauren Mack is the Special Projects Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.