Fresh produce delivered by sea to Farmers’ Market

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Fresh produce . . . People flock to the Farmers' Market in Kaikoura on Wednesday. Photo: supplied

By David Hill

A North Canterbury grower is helping re-establish trade links with Kaikoura.

Sefton grower Cam Brooker delivered 1.5 tonnes of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat for a Farmers’ Market in Kaikoura on yesterday, a cargo that went by both road and sea.

Mr Brooker joined a convoy of trucks and four-wheel-drives who delivered food to Oaro last Tuesday to supply food to the locals.

He was then picked up by an inflatable boat which transported him and fresh product to Kaikoura in the evening, in time for Wednesday’s Farmers’ Market.

The convoy included growers who were instrumental in establishing a farmers’ market at Mt Pleasant in Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake, when supermarkets were closed.

“We had hundreds of customers – it was madness.

“It’s been an interesting day,” Mr Booker said from Kaikoura on Wednesday afternoon after the market, while he waited for a market debrief and then a possible helicopter flight back to his truck, parked up in Oaro.

“There’s no fresh fruit and veges or meat up here. We had about 15 stalls – it was probably more than the usual Kaikoura Farmers’ Market.

“Several local retailers which are not able to operate normally were here – the local Hapuku Kitchen probably sold about nine months worth of stock in a couple of hours and other local cafes were here.”

The eventful day also included being interviewed by John Campbell for his Radio New Zealand show Checkpoint and a television crew, he said.

Getting into Kaikoura was the hardest part as the marina is controlled by military, so Cam said he had to get permit from the military before docking.

“I was the only stall holder who was transported in for the market – the local people were like: ‘how did you get here?’.”

Depending on how the debrief goes, Mr Booker said he would likely be back in Kaikoura again soon, if he could manage it.

“We’ll just see what the local people want, but I hope to do it again.”

Mr Booker texted back an hour later to say he was stuck in Kaikoura for the night, however he was shipped out on Thursday morning with a consignment of Kaikoura cheese and champagne to help the town re-establish trade links with the outside world.