Feeding kids gave rise to flourishing business
A new addition to the Nelson Saturday Market says he's surprised there's "such big demand for his simple bread".
Chilean chef-turned-baker Rodrigo Ardiles has been capitalising on Nelsonians's love of food this summer - long queues can be seen at the market where he has been selling his sourdough breads.
Mr Ardiles moved to Nelson with his German partner three years ago, and the pair initially lived in Riverside Community in Upper Moutere for a year. Mr Ardiles worked as a chef for the Riverside Cafe.
While living there he started baking "simple bread" which did not use conventional yeast. He would leave it around the area with honesty boxes and it soon became a hit with the locals.
He was inspired by wanting to give his children something nutritious to eat.
"It's hard work having kids, you need to have food that is handy. I started to make bread to have around to give to the kids, it needed to be nutritious for them."
He uses natural yeast, based on a sourdough starter, and quality organic flour which he says is better for digestion.
He began selling his bread at the Nelson markets in August last year.
Because his bread does not use conventional yeast, which he said many people were intolerant to, he has found a growing market of customers.
"We have customers coming to us, nearly crying to us: First time I can eat bread," he said.
He said he had long queues at the market, from the time he got there until he left or had run out of bread, and it was Nelsonians that were first in line at 7am.
"The customers know what they want and they don't care if it's raining. The business grew very, very fast, we were not expecting it to be like this. Nelsonians are healthy and want quality food, they especially like to know where their food comes from. The market in Nelson is very unique."
Mr Ardiles wants to built a strong community around local food sellers at the market. He planned on building a website later this year, so stallholders could connect with each other and their customers to promote their goods.
The Nelson Mail