Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Black Barn Growers Market- The Original

Black Barn Vineyard in Havelock North has fingers in many pies, not only does it have a well known and well regarded boutique winery, it has 16 luxury retreats & lodges for rental (located in amongst the vines and around Havelock North), a bistro restaurant in the vineyard, The Kitchen for pantry supplies, a wedding venue and function rooms, an amphitheater perfect for outdoor concerts and probably the most well known of all, Hawkes Bay’s original ‘farmer’s market’; Black Barn Growers Market which was started over 15 years ago well before farmers markets were trendy.

Mum & I paid our second visit to the market in a week, we happened to be in the area on other business earlier in the week and decided to check it out before returning on Saturday morning when it is open during summer from 9am until noon.

The market  looked like it hadn't been used in a long while, the floor was covered in fallen leaves but it has been running every Saturday since the beginning of December. The trees obviously drop a lot of leaves daily, I wonder who gets the job of sweeping them up before each market. I’d love to visit during the autumn when both the plane trees and the surrounding vines would be a golden yellow.

The canvas covered market is located under a ring of Plane trees in the heart of the vineyard. It’s a small and intimate market similar to some of the French markets that I’ve been to.

Just enough stalls with fresh good quality seasonal produce along with fresh baked breads, locally roasted coffee, flowers, meat, pickles, olive oil, cheeses, lavender products etc.

We arrived early, bought ourselves a coffee, found a seat and people watched for awhile as others began to trickle in. Most of the early visitors did the same, the coffee stall was doing a busy trade and seemed to be about the only one selling product for the first 30 minutes or so.

After coffee we walked the circuit twice; the first time to sample a little of this and a bit of that & to chat to the stall holders, the second time to purchase.

I bought a selection of fruit; deep red plums, white flesh peaches and our old favourite, the Golden Queen peach. We both managed to talk ourselves into some wild venison salami and chorizo and Mum got some lovely cheese along with a few vegetables.

And I also thought I might like to try a bottle of pretty expensive tonic syrup, Sin-Ko-Nah, the real McCoy- no Schweppes for me. Cinchona bark is the natural source of quinine.
Infused with cinchona bark, our tonic syrup is a bittersweet mixer. For a fabulous take on the classic gin and tonic, dilute sin-ko-nah tonic syrup with sparkling water, add a shot or two of gin, plenty of ice and a slice of lime.
Yes, I’ll try it with gin but I really thought it might make a refreshing drink (mixed with iced water) to have when you’re not having a drink. The jury is still out.

Across from the market, this underground cellar was open for inspection. Small concerts are held in here during winter with braziers for warmth and looking at the setup I think a few weddings have taken place in here too. Two large hearts made from vine trimmings hung on opposite walls- you can see one in the mirror.

….sparrows, butterflies, snails, worms…..

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