“If we just knew a bit earlier!” was our thought many times after almost completing our year. Many of the little things in our town aren’t necessarily immediately obvious. You get to know them after a while, but why not take a little shortcut?
Being food lovers, we’re dedicating this page mostly to food stuff. While we really enjoyed exploring what the local supermarkets offer, we also realized that the area offers so much more than that.
Buying food along the highway? Yes! Totally! People who enjoy growing fruit and vegetables sell them in little stalls in front of their house. So called honesty boxes collect the payments. Sounds bizarre, but it seems people here are honest and don’t steal any produce (or the cash box!). This is kind of a unique thing of our region here as we didn’t come across such a high density of stalls anywhere else in New Zealand.
The great thing about roadside stalls is that they offer super fresh seasonal high-quality produce and cost almost nothing. Examples: A 5 kg bag of apples, pears or kiwi fruits typically costs $2-3 only. Sometimes you’ll come across a stall next to a large apple orchard where they sell exactly the same Gala apples that typically end up in European supermarkets months later. With even the same stickers on the apples, but ridiculously cheap. We’re here in an area that basically allows to grow everything but Mangos (they require a warmer tropical climate unfortunately).
To be honest with you, we’ve never been big fans of street markets back in Europe as they were mostly boring, mainly selling crap or charging unhealthy amounts of money for quality products. But in New Zealand, those weekly town-markets that fill a large car park are events we love to visit regularly. They’re not only places where you meet friends, it’s where people buy sour-dough artisan-bread, meat/smallgoods and seasonal veggies and fruits. About half of the stalls are selling crazy things, locally crafted, for everyday life, such as ukuleles made of recycled pots, or art and jewellery made of glittering paua shells. Stroll around, explore and enjoy!
Motueka Sunday Market at the Decks Reserve Carpark is every Sunday from 8AM to 1PM.
Nelson Saturday Market at Montgomery Square is every Saturday from 8AM to 1PM.
Nelson Farmers Market at Morrison Square is every Wednesday from 10:30AM to 3:30PM.
Where in Nelson/Tasman do I get life basics…
… the best steak&cheese pie?
Antonius European Bakery in Motueka town center probably favours European taste the most of all the bakeries in the area. But be quick, they usually sell off before 1 PM.
… serious European style bread?
Patisserie Royale in Motueka does bread that comes closest do what you can buy in Central Europe. Rye Sourdough is our favourite dark heavy bread. The little Swedish Bakery in Nelson usally just offers one or two different types of bread every day, but they are deliciously crusty and tasteful, and always worth the travel.
… German sausages, ham, bacon and other smallgoods?
Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn’t have a sophisticated smallgood culture. That may sound harsh, but the ham that they’re selling at the supermarkets I wouldn’t even feed my chicken. It all tastes very artificial, but maybe you enjoy food fresh from the chemical laboratory? We definitely don’t, and therefore buy processed meat products either at Heck German Smallgoods in Richmond, or from Doris at the Nelson & Motueka markets.
… tasty cheese, different to the standard stuff?
Admittedly, we can be picky when it comes to cheese. Not sure why, but almost all New Zealand made cheeses share the same property: When warming them up, they immediately separate in oil and protein. European cheeses usually don’t do that and just get softer, especially the French Bries and Camemberts. You can get quality cheese e.g. authentic Italian Mozzarella at MilkDrop in Nelson, artisan cheese at Wangapeka in Nelson, or at the Cheese Shop at the Nelson & Motueka markets.
… Greek olive oil?
There are a few small olive oil makers in the area that occasionally sell at the markets. Additionally there is Greek Foods store in Nelson that sells imported produce.
… really good locally grown kiwifruit, amazing juicy and sweet organic pears, water- and rock melons, dark-red cherries, apricots and other fruit?
Forget the supermarkets, buy locally at roadside stalls that are everywhere in the area. Some are all year round, others just for short seasons. To name a few that we love to pay a visit regularly:
- Walnut Farm, Motueka airport: Organic kiwifruit, pears, apples.
- Near airport Motueka: Golden kiwifruit.
- Richard’s Orchard, Mapua: Dozens of old apple, pear, plum and prune varieties to try. The most amazing roadsides tall we’ve seen in NZ.
- Veggie stall, Motueka airport: All sorts of seasonal veggies.
- Edith’s Organic Stall, Riwaka: All sorts of seasonal veggies and fruits, all organic.
- Fraser’s Orchard, Riwaka: Large scale apple and pear producer, water melons in summer.
- Oranges on Staples St, Motueka: Oranges and tangelos.
- Fruits and veggies at Sandspit, Motueka: Rock melons, blueberries, raspberries, sweetcorn, etc. Some organic.
- C C Orchard, Riwaka: Spray free cherries (top cherry place around), apricots, peaches, etc.
- Blueberries in Ngatimoti: Amazing large blueberries and jams.
- Strawberries on Umukuri Rd, Riwaka: A true strawberry geek.
- Onions on High St: Fresh onions and nashi pears.
- Missed one? Let us know!