Oratia Farmers Market

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Some good friends have recently moved out into the Waitakeres, so visiting them yesterday was the perfect chance check out the Oratia Farmers Market en route. I’m glad we did – this small but very well-organised market is a gem. Fresh bread, seasonal produce small smallholders, cured meats, smoked fish, microgreens, seedlings, honey and plenty more bounty to take home and cook with. Plus lots of things to wolf down right there and then like pastries with seasonal fruit fillings, dips, Thai snacks and strong coffee.

I got the last couple of punnets of microgreens left at the stall and reminded myself that I still haven’t got around to growing any myself at home, despite owning Fionna Hill’s book all about them, How to Grow Microgreens: Nature’s Own Superfood. They’re so preeeeetty and the taste is often a sweeter, brighter version of the adult plant. The pea sprouts I bought yesterday (pictured) will be good for two harvests, I just need to clip the first lot off and leave the next lot of tendrils to grow. I’m going to make  buckwheat soba salad with ginger poached chicken and add these on top. The radish sprouts have a little kick and would be perfect with some avocado and a squeeze of lime juice.

One of the two smoked kahawai I bought we enjoyed for lunch yesterday with some fresh foccacia, and the other I’ll make a smoked fish pie with tonight. I like this recipe I’ve used before, from Simon Farrell-Green: http://farrellgreen.com/blog/index.php/2010/06/12/winter-smoked-fish-pie/

The bags of teeny Roma tomatoes I bought from Zheng Lu’s stall should ripen well on the window sill and if I can save any  the clutches of my tomato-mad two year-old, I shall pound them up in a som tam, and halve them into guacamole. Zheng Lu grows tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in hothouses up in Dairy Flat and they are about fifty times more flavoursome than what’s in the shops at the moment.

Some of the Beurre Bosc and Doyenne du Comice pears I bought I’m going to puree to make my little baby’s first taste of solids. How time flies. Not quite sure what I’ll end up doing with the big bag of watercress I picked up – I always fancy the idea of it, but don’t have much experience with actually using it. Any ideas?

The stalls at Oratia are laid out under a semi-circle pergola and are sheltered, making it an excellent winter morning destination, even if it’s raining. Lucky Westies to have this place on their doorstep.

Oratia Farmers Market, every Saturday 9am-12pm, Artisan Wines, 99 Parrs Cross Road, Oratia. http://www.oratiafarmersmarket.co.nz/

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