Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Farmers Market and Riccarton Bush

On Saturday morning we went to the local farmers market, located on the edge of a small nature park called Riccarton Bush.  There were about 50 stalls, with a variety of produce, cheese, chocolate, yogurt, carmelized walnuts, other food and even local microbrewed beer.  Even though we'd just eaten breakfast, we were soon eating onion bhajis from one of the vendors.

The farmers market, in front of the earthquake-damaged Riccarton House
A huge Tasmanian blue gum tree borders the farmers market area

Great produce, including monstrous leeks
A variety of organic apples, all local to New Zealand
Eggs next to Pork Pies
Paul samples a local microbrew (note: beer is great at farmers markets)
French baker
The baker (he was French, making several varieties of French bread and rolls) had an interesting story.  He was working as a pastry chef, but was laid off after the earthquake due to loss of business (a common story here.)  He decided he had to do something for work, so he started baking bread out of his home.  He was helped out by being given access to a commercial kitchen, so that he could sell his bread at the farmers market.  This was one more example in our minds of how people have banded together to help each other after the earthquake.

After a number of passes through the farmers market, we went into the neighboring Riccarton Bush and walked the 30 minute loop trail.  Riccarton Bush is a park area that is being restored to its native state.  It was a homestead in the 1840s, but very shortly after establishing the homestead the owners set aside part of their land to maintain natural flora and fauna.  It's amazing to go very quickly from roads and grass in the farmers market area to native forest, shrubs, and vines.  The bush area is fenced to keep out dogs, cats, weasels and other predators, and native bird and animal species are being reintroduced.  The sounds were wonderful - we moved quickly from hearing people and cars to hearing native birds.

Riccarton Bush protects native animals and plants
Any hobbits around?
Jungle in the middle of Christchurch
Many birds heard in the canopy, but they're difficult to spot

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