7 Sep 2021

Farmers' markets back on again, without 'ready-to-eat food'

2:56 pm on 7 September 2021

Farmers' markets are hopeful people will turn out to support growers and suppliers this weekend.

More than 1000 market-goers turned out to show their support for the Riccarton Bush market on Saturday.

File photo: Christchurch Farmers' Market Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The country apart from Auckland moves to alert level 2 from midnight tonight, meaning markets will be up-and-running this weekend.

But there are different rules from last time, with gatherings limited to 50 people in an indoor space, and 100 people in an outdoor space.

Farmers' Markets New Zealand chairperson Jonathan Walker said there were some logistical things to sort out.

"We've got challenges, of course, we've got to maintain that to meet a safe distance and ensure that people are wearing masks and signing in. But we've been here before we can do it again. And we're delighted that we can we can get the food out to the people again.

"Some markets get thousands of people through in one day so they are hiring security and bringing in more staff to help control numbers."

Walker said markets would not be selling ready-to-eat food, but instead would be encouraging people to shop and go.

"Having ready-to-eat food is not our core business and it encourages people to sit around and socialise, which of course is great in normal circumstances. But at the moment, until we're back at level 1, we will be encouraging people to shop and go so there will be a few less stores... but the staple food will be there."

Cam Booker, who runs Grown, a market garden near Sefton, sells his produce at farmers markets and in mixed boxes through online orders.

Online orders increased during lockdown but he still had produce left over.

"We're excited to be back at farmers' markets this weekend, because although the boxes have been great it doesn't mean we can utilize all our produce. Our business operates best doing a mixture of farmers markets and boxes."

He is confident people will come out and support the markets.

"I think everyone's itching to get out, it's been a long time locked at home, we saw how busy the roads got just after we dropped into level 3 and takeaways opened up again. So if that's any indication I expect the farmer's markets will be reasonably busy."

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