Farmers’ market moves to raceway

Southern Farmers Market has a new home at the Ascot Park Raceway on Racecourse Rd. Celebrating the good news are (from left) Ascot Park Consortium board deputy chairman Peter Kett, Jeremy Hawkes, of The Saucy Chook (Korean Fried Chicken), Belinda Astone, of Revolution Juice, farmers' market site manager Geoff Scott and Alan Morton, of The Shot (mobile coffee) Southland, outside the new Southern Farmers Market venue.

IT ticked all the boxes.

After searching for a new site for the popular Southern Farmers Market, site manager Geoff Scott said the Ascot Park Raceway had “ticked all the boxes”.

These included location, car parking, indoor and outdoor options, and plenty of seating and tables.

Established in 2006, the market was previously held at Southland Boys’ High School for several years, before relocating to the Scottish Hall in Esk St.

It then moved to the Masonic Centre in Forth St where it had been held for the past four-and-a-half years, before recently returning to the Scottish Hall.

However, from Sunday, the market would be installed at the Ascot Park Raceway.

To celebrate the full reopening of the market, a “surprise giveaway” would be offered to a lucky market-goer, market committee secretary Belinda Astone said.

“We encourage people to make sure they head to the market’s opening on Sunday to find out what the surprise giveaway is and also have the opportunity of entering.”

With the reintroduction of seating and tables, and the diversity of food options, Mr Scott said people would be able to return to their regular Sunday get-togethers.

The market had evolved and now offered craft stalls, fresh produce, as well as food and refreshment stalls and trucks.

A diversity of produce and goods from local producers including artisan honey, free-range eggs, freshly squeezed juices, organic and non-organic foods, meat, vegetables, plants, prepared meals, tasty treats and cupcakes were on offer.

Among the food stalls were Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai and Scottish cuisine.

From Sunday, market-goers would find the craft section in the Punters Corner in the main grandstand.

With an easy indoor/outdoor flow, the food trailers would be parked near the entrance to the grandstand, with other food stalls inside the dedicated food court.

As a bonus, the dining room would also be available with plenty of tables and chairs for market-goers.

Although the venue was promising, “it was a trial of three months”, with the hope of a possible extension, Mr Scott said.

The market committee praised the Ascot Park Consortium board, saying “the process [to establish the markets at the racecourse had been] easy”.

Consortium board deputy chairman Peter Kett said, “both organisations have worked well together… it’s been a combined effort to achieve this.”

Being held at the racecourse had other advantages, he said, with “the possibility of extending the market’s hours on days when there was also horse [or greyhound racing] at the racecourse”.

  • Southern Farmers Market, Sundays, 9.30am-1.30pm, Ascot Park Raceway, Racecourse Rd, Invercargill.

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