Apologies to those of you who have seen or heard about most of this already, but I am posting it here again in another form as it is a good start to the food portion of this blog.
The evening after we arrived our temporary landlord came over for “tea”–translate to a couple of glasses of delicious NZ Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough–and we discussed many things, but one of the most important was the state of food in NZ.
As most of you know, the food situation in the U.S.A. is dominated by processed foods, hydrogenated oils, HFCS, and GE and/or GMO produce and meat. Not to mention the big agribusiness of the overproduction of corn and soybean monocultures that have taken over the food supply and infested almost everything we eat. (This is an NZ response to you know who.)
Given, local, sustainable food sourcing and farmers’ markets have cropped up all over the U.S.A. in response to the mainstream foodsources, and they are become more and more the norm rather than a short lived trend, and I hope this pattern continues.
Nevertheless, we learned from Jenny, the temp landlord, that almost ALL the food in NZ is made in NZ, and almost ALL of the food is free of GE and GMO source material. However, and it was made clear that this was a U.S.A. butting their noses where they’re not wanted issue, that the latter material is starting to show up in the food supply. (Thankfully, there is very little corn and soybean over here, especially given Umbe’s allergy to soy. We’ve discovered that the oils most used here are canola and olive, so that’s a huge, positive change too!) Regardless, NZers are a proud and conscious agricultural bunch of folks, and the meat, dairy, and produce is phenomenal here. Palmy has a sizable farmers’ market every Saturday within walking distance of our flat, and the produce is sizable in quantity, quality, and, well, size in many varieties.
As you can see from just these tiny snapshots, there is no shortage of local food. Moreover, the people who sell the produce are the people who grow it. Fancy that! We’ve found our favorite farmers at the market and get everything we can on our list from them before moving on to other growers. Angela and Jonathon are originally from Hong Kong, but they have been in NZ for a very long time. They raised their children here, but a few of their children have moved to the U.S., and they have already planned a trip to visit them Summer 2014. They run a family operation, as most people appear to do, and they grow as much of their produce organically as they can. They save money by not registering with the official organics, but make their own sprays from natural ingredients like chilies, etc, and use homemade compost, etc. Here is Umbe embracing and thanking Jonathon for providing us with healthful food, just before Angela came in and gave him a kiss on the forehead:
Even though we were overwhelmed at the this-is-too-good-to-be-true experience, we did manage to come home with some beautiful food that got us through the week with fantastic meals. Our bounty for under $30 NZ:
The green eggs and lamb are not in this photo because on Thursday mornings the egg, lamb, and fish guys set up trucks at the village curb in our neighborhood and we get that stuff from them. The eggs here are also unlike any that we get in the U.S.–sweet, rich, and orange like marigolds:
As far as meat goes, so far we’ve had chicken, beef, lamb, and venison, and each is sourced from no further than 30-50 km away, and each is quite tasty. The lamb and venison have a different kind of gaminess than the gamy flavours we associate with those respective meats in the U.S., and I haven’t quite figured out how to describe it yet, so that will have to come in a later post.
We’ve also made acquaintances with Naz, 20 years a Kiwi, but originally from Fiji, who runs one of the local corner stores. We head in there for spices, lentils, rice, and beans, which are all in large bins and very inexpensive. She makes her own garam masala blend that is very tasty. We used it with lamb and veggies the other night and it was delicious. Tony is going to cook it up again at the end of the week when we get more lamb, so we’ll post a kind of recipe then.
Respect yourself by what you eat, and respect your farmers by buying from them!