The autumn harvest

The best thing about autumn is the abundant fresh produce that suddenly appears in the fresh market one weekend.  It seems to be an overnight thing – like a timer going off, the vegetables and fruit, quietly maturing all summer, suddenly announce, “I’m done!”

Today, I thought I’d take you on a small tour of the local market I frequent on Sundays:

I didn’t take many pictures.  The largest boy suffered agonies of embarrassment at my whipping out the camera for a few sneaky pics, and made his feelings clearly known.  Which made it…difficult.  Sigh.  Ah the teenage years – filled with such awkwardness!

A few close-ups of the tempting goodies:

I can’t help but think of pretty, hand-dyed yarn when I look at the colours in all the fruit and vegetables…

There is an adjacent section to this market that sells cooked food and meat, and just next to the open market (held in what is normally a car park), there is an indoor area that sells  more of the speciality foods.  I haven’t taken any pics.  Sorry!

I couldn’t help myself and came home with more plums to make jam.  These are Omega plums.  Last week I used Black Doris, so I thought I’d see how my favourite eating plum came out in comparison.

Omega plums produce a much lighter jam, both in colour and flavour –  softer and more rounded.  In comparing the two varieties, I think the Black Doris produces a richer, more flavoursome jam, with a deep, dark colour and tangy, piquant sweetness.   I don’t think anyone will really mind which variety it is when they’re eating the jam though.  Both are delicious.

In contrast to my last jam making episode, this time, I had an eager little volunteer ‘taster’ at my elbow.  😉  Good to know he’s discovered what’s good!

Wouldn’t this apple colouring make pretty sock yarn?

As the apples are starting to come out too now, I got these to make into pie (or perhaps cake, we shall see.  I was too busy making other stuff this weekend to bake it).

The majority of the stalls at this market are run by holders who only grow a small portion of the vegetables they sell.  Most of the produce comes from the wholesale markets.  However, interspersed between these are a few of the true “grower, seller” stalls.

One such “grower, seller” is the apple seller.  She’s only at the market during the apple season, and drives several hours from the orchard to the market every weekend between now and August (when the apples finish).  Her apples are more expensive than the average stall, but oh boy!  they taste so much nicer.  You have to be quick to get her apples – they sell out very quickly.  I didn’t see her this week until too late.  Next weekend will be a different story though!

When I was a teenager, we had a largish property with several varieties of apple tree growing on it.  I thought all apples were as crisp and sweet and tasty as the ones that grew on those trees… until I left home and got supermarket ones (bleck!)  Well, this lady’s apples taste just like the ones I picked off the tree in the morning and stuffed into my bag for lunch as I cycled down the drive to school.

There’s a bit of an art to successful market shopping.  First, you do a round of the entire market, examining the produce for quality and price.  Then, you home in on the stalls selling the produce you want at the price you want.  I’ve got it down to a fine art – we usually don’t spend more than half an hour there.  The savings are enormous though.

What shall I get next week?  I’m thinking pear chutney might be nice…?

14 thoughts on “The autumn harvest

  1. This is so pretty! I’d love stroll around here for hours! Such fresh produce. When you have the time, do drop by my space. I just made some yellow bell pepper mousse and would love to hear what you think.

  2. Yum, apple pie & and apple cake is always a winner! I love food markets, but there isn’t anything as fabulous as that where I live! Beautiful pictures, everything looks so delicous.

    I do love the imagery of fruit and veg announcing that they’re done at the end of summer! Ping!

  3. That market looks enormous! Our little farmers market downtown on Saturdays (ours runs May-October) isn’t nearly as large. It must be nice to have such a wide variety of produce at your fingertips 🙂

  4. In about a month, our farmers market will reopen for the season and I can’t wait. Next time you go with your boys, give the larger one your camera and have him snap shots. It works when I try that and I end up getting some great shots of things I probably would never have thought to photograph.

  5. I miss the Wellington markets, they were so good!!! Still haven’t found one close enough in Auckland to warrant going – they’re all so far away 😦 This weekend, we’ll try Parnell…

  6. My auntie lives in Auckland, she used to live in Mangere Bridge (?) and apparently there was a good produce market there.
    Me, I don’t bother doing the markets any more becausemy other half is the cook and prefers going to Moore Wilson Fresh.

  7. I made black doris plum jam last weekend! We may go to the markets this weekend and get some apricots for some more jams. 🙂 Enjoy your fresh food endeavors!

  8. Your markets look fabulous, so much choice! I remember eating an apple straight from tree at my friends house in the English countryside and I have never been able to get an apple that comes anywhere near close to that wonderful taste….I still remember it!

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