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CAFE AT MONAVALE: Blueberry tarts forever

On a beautiful day, just ahead of spring, a friend and I went to check out Café Irresistiblue at Monavale Blueberries. We sat in the sun on the verandah, enjoying the stunning views across the blueberry orchards to the mountains Kakepuku and Pirongia. We drank...

Superb savoy cabbages

Last Sunday the rain was pouring down, but we still needed to eat, so we ventured out to the farmers’ market. And it was completely worth the effort. The Catos (who also grow potatoes, which are out of season) had a big tray of the sweetest, crunchiest savoy cabbages...

Local fruit in all seasons

Fruit grows all year round in the Waikato. All kinds of fruit. Well, okay, we don’t have the climate for tropical varieties, like mangoes or pineapples (although some clever people are growing bananas). But just about anything else: berries, peaches, apples, citrus,...

Celtic cuisine: Deliciously retro baking

Meg Daly’s Celtic baking is one of my favourite reasons to go to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market on Sundays. In my house we’re huge fans of her Scottish oatcakes, and we’re sadly disappointed when they sell out (though this gives you some idea of Meg’s popularity).  ...

Soggy Bottom: where the bacon begins

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in midwinter I went to find out where my bacon comes from. I joined up with 25 members of the Treecrops Association to visit Soggy Bottom, the small farm where Jonathan and Sarah Walker raise free-range rare breed pigs, cows and chickens...

Fieldays: Looking for local food

When I lived in Auckland, I’d barely heard of Fieldays. But when I moved to Hamilton, I quickly learned that it’s the biggest show in town. My kids were even let out of school for the day so they could go.   Fieldays is the biggest agricultural show in the Southern...

Kumara harvest at Grandview Community Garden

Despite the autumn drought, this has been a good year for growing kumara or sweet potato in Hamilton. Several gardeners I know have had excellent kumara crops. April and May are the months when kumara is harvested.    Above: Fungai Mhlanga harvesting kumara at...

Change of season chicken bone broth

This is great comfort food for when the weather starts getting colder and you feel a bit out of sorts.  My mother was a modern, 20th century cook, and brought us up on canned and packet soups and instant chicken stock. Powdered stock has its place – I usually have a...

Gouda Cheese Shop

The Gouda Cheese Shop is the best place I’ve found to buy cheese in Hamilton. It’s like Aladdin’s cave – crammed with delicious food from around the world. And I was delighted to find that a large part of their cheese range is made locally.   Addy Nieremeijer, the...

Southern Belle – superb sweet peppers

Southern Belle’s sweet bell peppers speak for themselves. You can buy them on Sundays at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market. I’ve been a fan for years, so I was keen to find out how they manage to grow these delicious capsicums so far out of season.   They are sweet and...