Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) was the perfect venue for NZ’s top chefs to try over 170 products entered into the inaugural Taste Farmers’ Markets NZ Awards judged late last week. The Visions Pantry provided ample room for this new event that showed the Canterbury is not only recovering from the Earthquake, but is also leading the rest of NZ in it’s determination to showcase that it has the best food producing region, all be it shaken, but not broken. It is with great pride that Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ) will also be hosting the Farmers Markets’ NZ Forum in Canterbury on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July, with the Taste Awards Winning Announcement at a special dinner in Waipara at Muddy Waters Winery on the evening of the 3rd July. For more information http://tastefarmersmarkets.org.nz/
The Taste Farmers’ Markets Awards 2011 Judges consisited of Al Brown, well known TV Presenter, Writer and Fisherman; Brett McGregor, NZ's first Master Chef winner; Chris Fortune, wineer of NZ Hells Kitchen 2002; Jonny Schwass, Passionate Localvore and Christchurch Chef; Suzanne Dale, Editor of Taste Magazine, and Zo Zhou, Foodie and Two Spoons Blogger.
Judges tasted, slurped, sniffed and chewed through over 170 products from 32 Farmers Markets located from Invercargill to Bay of Islands. Farmers’ Markets have become a part of the weekly shop of tens of thousands of customers each weekend as they gather regional and seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and small goods, freshly churned butters and milk both organic and conventional, preserves and pickles, relishes and an abundance of seafood from our coastal waters and rivers around New Zealand.
Al Brown, who holds a passion for getting to know local producers, was “in food heaven” as he judged the balance between “ natural flavor, seasoning and passion for regional ingredients”. Al was pleased that generations of families are involved in producing “really incredible produce and interesting products which are pushing the boundaries”
Jonny Schwass “ found the real taste of regional food producers doesn’t need additives and preservatives” and loved the “homemade taste” of all of the products.
NZ Master Chef Brett McGregor was impressed with the all entries, especially those from the diary, quoting “superb, never tried cream like it” and “loves the variety of Farmers’ Market products - that's what draws me in for more !”
Zo was quick to say that a lot of the products were “ something that you cant get at the supermarket “ while Suzanne added that “I would love to go home and cook with it “, also noting “ I would be satisfied with the product if I bought it from a Farmers’ Market in NZ “.
In New Zealand, an authentic Farmers’ Market is one where the local growers and food producers sell their products directly to the consumers themselves. They may only sell what they grow, farm, catch, smoke, preserve, brew, bake or process themselves, and within a defined region.