Monday, February 8, 2010
A Day at the Market
A friend and I drove out to the little North Canterbury village of Oxford today. It sits about 45 minutes northwest of Christchurch and has become a favourite destination for many. Much of this was triggered by the arrival of well known New Zealand foodie, Jo Seagar, who shifted south from Auckland and set up a cafe, cooking school and kitchen shop about three years ago. Since then, the village has blossomed and numerous new businesses have opened. There's also the Oxford Farmers' Market, which is held every Sunday from 9am.
There weren't as many farmers' market stalls as I expected, but the quality of product on most was excellent and as locals and visitors alike, gathered to pick over the best, I was in photographic heaven. The German baker had a queue a mile long - especially for delicacies like his baked cherry quark cheesecake (which, may I add, makes for a tasty, indulgent breakfast); likewise the Dutch bakers, who delighted the crowds with custard-cream filled bee stings.....amazing flat cakes dusted in a shower of icing sugar, which do have an enormous Dutch name but appear to have somehow adopted this strange name, bee stings.
After the market, we wandered into the old town hall - an architectural treat in its own right (I'll feature some of the unique village buildings in another post), where the local women were staging the monthly craft market. It was like stepping back into the 1950s and as much as I yearned to take photographs, it somehow didn't seem appropriate. There's no getting away from the fact that it was a mixed bag - everything from skin-creepingly ugly crocheted toilet roll holders, to exquisite hand-knitted baby cklothes and soft toys selling for ridiculously cheap prices. There was even a good old-fashioned cake stall, run by a little grey-haired lady who took a very particular pride in her baked goods. I was tempted to ask her what she thought of all the fancy foreign baked goods at the next door Farmers' Market but I didn't - and now of course, I wish I had. Another time perhaps. www.oxfordnewzealand.co.nz