Artisan market to open
The Marlborough Farmers' Market is looking to reinvent itself after a drop in stallholders meant the market lost money this year, says chairman Neville White.
Mr White said the market had taken on a new manager and marketing manager to help boost its performance and attract more stallholders and consumers.
Among the ideas were a new website and investigating a "top of the south" market including Nelson and Kaikoura.
He blamed a tough economic climate and bad weather for the Marlborough market making a loss of $1800 this year.
A negative impact on tourism from Christchurch's earthquakes also played a part, he said.
Mr White was speaking at the market's annual meeting on Monday night.
He told the meeting his first year as chairman had been "interesting and challenging".
"From an operational perspective, it was not a good year."
The meeting voted down a proposal to obtain a resource consent to play amplified music at the market.
The proposal would have cost about $10,000.
Members argued other options should be explored first, such as a piano on the back of a trailer or using the space to run demonstrations, such as how to sharpen knives or cooking techniques.
Mr White said yesterday he was happy with the turnout and how the meeting went. He was pleased the music decision was nearly unanimous, although he was surprised so many had voted against, as music had been a big part of the market.
The market moves back to the A&P Park on the corner of Maxwell and Alabama roads on Sunday, October 6.
During the winter, it has been at Liz Davidson Place, on the corner of Queen and Charles streets.
Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston told the meeting that market stallholders were all ambassadors, not just for their products, but also for the region.
"Each week visitors to our region come to the market," she said.
"You will be acutely aware of this during event weekends when the numbers to the market swell."
Mrs Johnston encouraged the market and stallholders to tell their stories by word of mouth and through social media to attract more visitors.
"But most importantly, please, keep doing what you do well, growing and making great produce and taking it to market."
Destination Marlborough figures estimated about 1.5 million day and overnight visitors came to Marlborough each year, contributing $250 million to the region.
The Farmers' Market committee new members elected on Monday night were: Alistair Dawson, Leah Gibson, Rob Harrison, Graham Farnell, Maxine Cowan, Chris Thoms and Neville White.
Jenny Crum and Basil Stanton were already committee members and did not need to stand for re-election.
DUAL ROLE FOR NEW MANAGER
The Marlborough Farmers' Market is to share new manager Peter Jameson with another market in Blenheim – a new artisan market starting on Saturday, September 28.
The market is a joint project between town centre businesses, prospective stallholders and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce.
The aim of the market is to showcase the diversity of what Marlborough has to offer and add vibrancy to the central business district.
The artisan market will include a range of stalls, including fruit and vegetables, woodwork, handicrafts, pottery, soaps, lavender products, toiletries, oils and wines, nuts and flowers.
The Marlborough Artisan Market will operate every Saturday from 9.30am to 1.30pm, rain or shine, in the Wynen St car park, behind Market St.
- The Marlborough Express