To market, to market

Farmers' markets are now firmly established in the Kiwi foodie culture with over 40 markets operating around the country - and new markets being established all the time.

For tourists, farmers' markets provide a great insight into the regional heartland and are an ideal place to sample local fare, meet the locals, and experience the New Zealand way of life. 

In a country that can grow almost anything, New Zealand markets are stacked with fresh vegetables and fruit -much of it organic - locally-made cheeses and gourmet treats, fish and meat, home-made jams and preserves, flowers and plants, all vying for stall space alongside warm bread, fresh baking, hand-made chocolates, boutique wines and beers.

Each market reflects its regional uniqueness. By definition, authentic farmers markets are food-only markets (with some exceptions for flowers and plants), with no resellers allowed - so those who have grown or made the food are the ones selling it.

Our concierges, who are all foodies themselves, can organise personalised tours of the best farmers’ markets so you can meet the producers and learn about unusual and regional products. We can also create tailored experiences that involve selecting food items with an experienced chef, and then taking them back to luxury lodge or other location for a cooking masterclass.

Here’s five of our favourite farmers’ markets for you to consider:

Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands Farmers' Market is one of the biggest in the country with around 80 stallholders. Markets are held in two locations – Kerikeri on Sundays and Paihia on Thursdays. Northland has a great variety of local produce that grows in a temperate climate, including many seasonal and sub-tropical fruits. The market also has a good range of olive oil and wine suppliers.

Just north of Auckland, Matakana Village has made a name for itself as a gourmet food and wine centre, with a boutique cinema, cafes, and fashion boutiques. With amazing beaches and vineyards nearby, it’s the trendy weekend getaway for Aucklanders, especially on Saturday mornings when the farmer’s market is in full swing. The market specialises in locally-produced artisan food products, including Italian-style sausages, organic chocolate, boutique olive oils, and locally-brewed beer. Good coffee and live music round off the experience.

Hawke’s Bay
Often called ‘New Zealand’s orchard’, Hawke’s Bay is a foodie’s heaven. With 70-plus vineyards and a wide variety of fresh produce and artisan products, it’s no wonder the region has one of the country’s best farmers’ market. The market has two locations - Saturdays in Napier and Sundays in Hastings - and shoppers have access to an enormous range of fresh fruit and vegetables, locally grown meat, and artisan jams, jelly and sauces.

The Canterbury region has over 10 farmers’ markets, with the biggest being the Christchurch Farmers’ Market. There is a Saturday morning market, and a twilight market on Wednesday evenings, and producers from all over the region have stalls. Canterbury is a renowned farming area so meat and dairy products are well represented, as we as an excellent range of fresh fruit and vegetables and artisan products.

Central Otago
Held in the very picturesque and historic Old Cromwell Town, the Central Otago Farmers’ Market is a delightful experience. Produce includes fresh fruit from the stone fruit orchards that Central Otago is famous for, as well as local cheeses, merino cuts, olive oil, whitebait, venison, salami, fresh sausages, honey, jams and preserves, and plenty of fresh baking.