Feilding Farmers’ Market has export potential, says ambassador

The Feilding Farmers’ Market has attracted international interest and not for the first time. A ‘Eat the market’ event was organised by Feilding & District Promotion to round out the annual New Zealand AgriFood Week on Friday. The event was a chance for both NZ AgriFood Week attendees and everyday locals to sample a selection of local produce.

Israeli ambassador to New Zealand, Ran Yaakoby, travelled from Wellington to attend, saying talking about agrifood was “nothing like trying the product”.

He said he was visiting Manawatū to explore export opportunities, as well as agri-tech and food research partnerships between New Zealand and Israel.

He came to the market because “at the end of it, [agri-tech] is about farmers and the produce”.

Each participant was given a box full of local produce, combined to form six samplings. In the Sheepish Snack, Cartwheel Creamery’s marama camembert from Pohangina Valley met the Baked Dane’s cracker from Levin, and was topped with a pear from Tracey’s pears.

The Saleyard Starter had Palmerston North’s Nadia’s Kitchen falafel, Foxy Bangers from Foxton, microgreens grown by Emoyeni in Tararua, and a heritage potato from Hensons Garden. It gave Yaakoby the idea of a weekly produce box that Manawatū farmers could transport to Wellington. He said if it ever happened, he would be their first customer.

This wasn’t the first time Feilding attracted the attention of international visitors. Speaking to attendees, mayor Helen Worboys said when Prince Charles and Camilla came to New Zealand in 2012, they asked to visit the most authentic farmers market in New Zealand, and Feilding was where they went.

Local Jo Amner said the event reminded her of how proud she was about the local market. “It’s something to brag about. Something to tell your friends to do, to say, ‘hey, come visit Feilding on a Friday, try the market’.” She had gone to farmers’ markets in Melbourne and Sydney, but felt smaller ones were more authentic.

Renee Moyles also thought there was something special about small town markets. “Knowing [produce] was made just down the road adds speciality,” she said.

This year marked 16 years of the Feilding Farmers’ Market.

 

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