Wallet produces better fare than homekill
Sometimes you need a rest.
After spending the morning filling an ice cream container with blackberries and my hands with thorns at Alistair McColl's Ahititi farm I drove south for some local fare at Patea's PaePae in the Park.
Instead of taking a gun to shoot some animal or a rod to catch a fish as I had done for the previous nine days, to get food yesterday I simply took my wallet.
It was cheating a bit but I needed a break and after a bite of one of Yosh Makea's $5 paua fritter sandwiches I stopped worrying about justifying my laziness.
"What's the secret recipe," I said still picking the salty green-black paua mince from between my teeth.
"TLC, a bit of tender loving care," Yosh said.
"And paua, flour and eggs of course."
Unlike everyone else I had talked to about the source of their bounty, Yosh was more than happy to say he had collected the paua from Oeo beach, south of Opunake.
"I think I got about 100," he said, which is about 20 times more than I have collectively been able to find in my lifetime.
The fritters weren't the only local food on offer. Through the thronging crowd of people that may have been the entire population of Patea and Hawera I spied Dawn Mendes and her watermelon icecream sundaes.
I joined the line just in time, securing the second-to-last $7 icecream-topped watermelon half. After making a great show of enjoying every mouthful I asked Dawn where she got her fruit.
"We were pretty lucky this year; we were able to get the watermelons locally," she said.
"Really?" I asked, already envisaging a visit to the farm and a discussion of the benefits a few watermelons given to a reporter could bring.
"Yeah. At New World. We were pretty lucky. They had the cheapest ones. We are out here to make money," Dawn said.
With her 180 watermelon sundaes sold out by 2pm, she had certainly done that.
The other hit of the day were rubber balls on the end of a string that children could throw at an eating man and then yank back just milliseconds before instigating an embarrassing heart attack.
"Yes they do like them don't they," said the merchant, Uruti artist Aithnia Batchelor.
"It's something for the kids to do while their parents listen to the music."
Despite being old enough to be one of those parents it took all my strength not to shell out $3 and get one myself. Instead I bought one of Aithnia's tile artworks.
You couldn't eat it but I thought it would keep me company in my kitchen while I cooked.
Today: To the coast for mussels, paua and kina.
Tomorrow: The Wild Appetite barbecue finale.
Taranaki Daily News