farmers market

Detour Surprise

Sweet Pea Farm

sweet pea farm4 First it was just a little chalk board, balance against a stone at the junction of the main road and our rural road. After a few days, I followed the signs and arrived at a dirt road that I remember from my old real estate days, and thought, "There isn't anything down there," turned around and went home.

A few weeks later, the Sweet Pea Farm sign was bigger, with more offerings and I thought, "I really should go and check this out."

Yesterday I finally made the minor detour, and what a little treasure we have, withing walking distance of my house.

This time, I continued beyond where I had originally turned around and found a little country store, complete with goats and chickens, tucked up near the trees. A pumpkin patch snuggled up to an old windmill and pretty produce and craft displays bordered the store.

As I walked up to the what-looked-deserted building, the goats bleated and I gave their heads a rub before entering the building. Opening the door, and following the direction to turn on the light which was on the left, I was surprised to see a wide assortment of goodies, all displayed in country store fashion. Crates of onions and tomatoes; coolers of fresh lettuce and fresh-picked chantrelle mushrooms; fresh eggs from the resident chooks and so much more.

Every horizontal surface displayed local goodies - preserves, jams, chutneys. One area even offered freshly baked cakes.

And it wasn't just food. An old wood bookshelf held used books which overflowed onto old chairs alongside it. Artsy-craftsy items were incorporated throughout the store, with a lovely metal rooster, keeping watch over the honor-system payment box. Yes, all this and not a soul in sight!

I bought some fresh lettuce and zucchini (time for a loaf of zucchini bread) and a jar of chutney to go with my curry, paid and took my change from the jar sitting beside the cash box, turned off the light and went back outside.

The goats came running to the fence and I heard someone call out for them to stop! That's when I met Laurie, whose enterprise this is. And as we got chatting I heard about her future plans and envied her her enthusiasm for the project! Next year, she plans to have a farmers market in the field with small local growers. A local baker is going to be supplying fresh bread. Even through the winter, she plans to stay open, providing eggs and other non-seasonal goodies.

My little excursion is such a reminder that often detours, even small ones, can yield great surprises.

I promised Laurie that I would help spread the word about her Sweet Pea Farm.

Sweet Pea Farm 153 Seattle Dr Port Ludlow, Washington (360) 437-0645

Tauranga Farmers Market


What's on I LOVE Farmers Markets and love to visit them wherever I am. It's a great way to get a feel of  'local' and they give me a real sense of 'place.' Most areas have markets - some areas of the world there are so many that they have them just about every day of the week. Visiting a market is one of the easiest and least expensive way to enjoy the local area without breaking the bank. Everyone has to eat, so why not do your shopping at your local market and make it an adventure! Here in New Zealand, the Tauranga Farmer's Market is every Saturday, all year and is held on the local primary school grounds. What a wonderful market it is! A real community affair with farmers and vendors coming from all over the Bay of Plenty area. And they don't call it Bay of Plenty for nothing. This area is so fertile, just about everything grows. And the market has a very good representation of the abundance in this area.

Naturally, I was keeping my eyes open for story ideas and local presents to take back with me. There was so much there, I was almost overwhelmed!

For instance, Macadamia Liqueur, anyone?  This stuff is absolutely heavenly! Smooth and silky, slips down very easily. The plus for me was they have the little mini bottles so I can take a couple with me. The market is full of the traditional market ware - seasonal vegetables, flowers, plants, cheeses, local and organic meats, prepared food stands with amazing baked goods. And there was a great food demo going on presented by Peter Blakeway, a well-known New Zealand cookbook author who prepared some wonderful-looking scallops! Everything he used in the recipes was available at the market, that day.

Then there was all the tasting to do! Delicious Kiwi cider, as good as any I have had anywhere! Lots of fruit wines and wonderful cheeses. We even tasted local olive oils, pressed by a local farmer who uses biodynamic farming methods.


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Tauranga Farmers Market Primary School Arundel Street Trixie Allen, Market Manager 07 5525278

Harbourside Macadamias  402 Matahui Road Katikati New Zealand Phone : +64 7 552 0718 Fax : +64 7 552 0718 Mobile : +64 27 552 0718 Email:

Ocider 50 Oikimoke Road, Te Puna Tauranga New Zealand Phone: 07 552 4558 Email:

Katikati Frantoio Limited Bert van Heuckelum 117 Lindemann Road RD1 Katikati, 3177 New Zealand Phone 07 549 1467

Peter Blakeway 027 571 2518