Naysayers eat their words

BY CHRIS FORTUNE
Last updated 08:37 30/09/2010
Shallots
JIM TANNOCK
The Marlborough Farmers' Market is about to start another year, just one of 50 farmers' markets around New Zealand.

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`It will never work." "We would erode family values by operating on a Sunday morning." "Give it a year and they will disappear."

I remember these words uttered when, 10 years ago, a small group of people started on the concept of a farmers' market in the Marlborough region.

Some people are afraid of things they don't understand, but supporting local food producers is simply a way of ensuring that we have a diverse region that is both sustaining and viable.

The Marlborough Farmers' Market is about to start another year, just one of 50 farmers' markets around New Zealand.

The fact that these markets have made a difference in the lives of thousands of local food producers around New Zealand means that we are truly becoming a country that celebrates what we have in our back yard, rather than relying on other countries to provide our food needs.

If anyone wants to sell at any farmers' market they must be involved in the production of the product, it must be an edible food product (exceptions for flowers and composts) and it must come from a defined area. The Marlborough Farmers' Market has defined its area from Rai Valley to Kaikoura.

This then ensures that the real local food producers and growers do not have to compete against on-sellers or resellers (with produce bought in bulk from a wholesaler or middleman from anywhere). For more information on which real food producers you can find in your back yard visit mfm.co.nz.

The Marlborough Farmers' market works closely with our local council and we have grown over the last 10 years to accommodate the success of the organisation and the food produced in our region.

We have received great support from locals and tourists and we look forward to working with them in the long term to showcase the very best of food from Marlborough at the A&P Park on Sundays, 9am to noon, rain or shine.

PRESERVED LEMON AND MINT RISOTTO

Easy to make, satisfying and goes well by itself or served with fresh seafood.

quarter cup grapeseed or Marlborough olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 small fennel bulb, chopped

4 cloves Marlborough garlic, minced (about 1Tbsp)

Marlborough sea salt to taste

2 cups arborio rice

half cup lemon juice

half cup white wine

6 to 8 cups hot vegetable stock

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

cup mascarpone

2 Tbsp finely diced preserved lemon rind (or 4 fresh lemons zested)

1 cup coarsely chopped mint and parsley leaves

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2 cups peas Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.

Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.

Add the lemon juice and white wine to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladleful and stirring. If you watch carefully, you'll see that towards the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream.

Add the lemon zest or rind and the peas. If you like, finish with a little strong cheese, season to taste and allow to rest for 5 mins.

VEGETABLE STOCK

 2 onions, peeled and quartered

1 bulb Marlborough garlic, peeled

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, scrubbed clean, cut into large chunks

2 carrots, scrubbed, cut into large chunks

2 stalks celery, cleaned, cut into large chunks (leaves optional)

1 Tbsp mixed peppercorns

2 bay leaves, sprigs of thyme and sprigs of parsley.

Prepare all the ingredients and put into a large pot. Add water to cover until the ingredients start to float. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Strain out the vegetables and herbs, then refrigerate or freeze the liquid into medium sized containers.

- The Marlborough Express

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