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Newsletter # 11                                                                               Distributed FREE to members of the Oily Rag Club (no cost to join) 
3 June 2010                                                                                                                                                            see

Farmers Markets

According to the Farmersí Market New Zealand Association there are more than 50 farmer markets throughout New Zealand and every week over 50,000 people shop at Farmers markets.

For those who have yet to discover the joys of their local farmers market, it is, according to the Associations website , ďa food market where local growers, farmers and artisan food producers sell their wares directly to consumers. Vendors may only sell what they grow, farm, pickle, preserve, bake, smoke or catch themselves from within a defined local areaĒ.

We sent the oily rag team out one early Saturday morning to check out their local farmers market. They came back with an armful of fresh produce and this to say:

You canít help but feel a sense of community when visiting your local farmers market. Stalls full of fresh produce, buskers and friendly banter fill the air, behind the tables are keen vendors with an eye for gold coins and crisp banknotes, and there are lots of good natured shoppers electrified with a sense of excitement over the prospect of buying fresh produce at bargain prices. One canít help but feel that the ambience has a little more. Itís a little like party faithful at a political rally; there is a sense of support for an ideal worth supporting and being there is a vote for something wholesome and totally local.

The array of fresh produce was impressive. The morning we visited there was a greater selection of produce available that was at the cities largest supermarket. Locally grown oranges for example instead of those imported tasteless ones, fresh figs, corn cobbs and tamarillo which were surprisingly absent from the supermarket shelves. There was a lot of organic produce and specialised items like passionfruit and melon jam, oyster mushrooms, home cured bacon, specialist salami and cheeses, exotic dips and dunks. In fact, what was on offer was as diverse and as rich in character as the cottages industries from which they were produced.

 But there was one big question on our minds. Were shoppers getting bargains?  The theory is by cutting out those that stand between the grower and the consumer the public get quality produce at great prices. To put the theory to the test we compared the price of 20 randomly selected items from the farmers market and compared them to the price at the local no frills supermarket, the one with the cheapest everyday prices.

We found three items were exactly the same price as the supermarket, nine cost less at the farmers market and eight cost more than at the supermarket. Of the items that cost more at the supermarket they were 35% more expensive. The items that cost more at the farmers market were 25% more expensive.

So is produce cheaper the farmers market a bargain? The answer to that is an unequivocal maybe! Are there bargains to be found? Absolutely yes, but you will need to know how to spot a bargain. Here's some good advise from Murray, a founder of our local growers market. "The first thing we tell all shoppers is to go round the market, buy what's seasonally cheap and plan your meals for the week around that." 


To show how destructive debt is, consider the couple who buy a $300,000 house. Like many people they borrow 90%, in this case $270,000 as a 20-year mortgage at an interest rate of say 7.5%. The remaining $30,000 they scrape together out of oily-rag savings. By the time the final payment has been made, the total repaid would be not $270,000, but a mountainous $522,000. In other words the $300,000 house has really cost $522,000. The lesson is: Take on as little private debt as possible and repay it as quickly as you can.

New tips!
  • I use my toilet cleaner to refill the Toilet Duck rather than spending a fortune on refills. - Chooki, Wanganui.

  • If your seal has started to go on your fridge simply change the direction the door opens. Most of them are able to be adjusted to the other side for left or right handed opening. Our fridge seal needed replaced at the cost of $120.I asked hubby to try this idea first and it worked. Door has excellent suction and closes fine. - S.J., Dunedin.

  • KW from Auckland has a favourite potato recipe to share with others. You need 6 large potato, 1 pkt cream of chicken soup mix, 250 gr sour cream, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup chopped spring onions, and Salt and Pepper to taste. Partly cook then grate potatoes.  Combine butter, soup, milk, sour cream, onions and grated cheese. Combine with seasonings and potatoes Pile into lightly greased pie dish, top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and a little more grated cheese and bake for about 45 mins. at 180 degs.

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