Farmers' market sell-out success

Hundreds of people pack into the Oamaru Farmers' Market minutes after it opened yesterday. Photo...
Hundreds of people pack into the Oamaru Farmers' Market minutes after it opened yesterday. Photo by Ben Guild.
Metka Conlan and her team might have created a monster.

Harried but happy, the Oamaru Farmers' Market manager stood on the fringe of the historic precinct yesterday surrounded by traders' stalls with nothing left to sell.

After years of waiting for a market, many of the 20 traders were caught out by the sheer mass of people who converged on the inaugural market.

Mrs Conlan put the number present at between 3000 and 4000, but had no way of arriving at an exact number.

"We were going to do a head count but it was mad ... it was impossible," she said.

"Pretty much everything sold out, which was fantastic."

The crowd was bolstered by those travelling north after Rugby World Cup games in the South, but their number paled in comparison to "the huge amount of local support", she said.

Mrs Sharlene Poole, of Toby's Fresh Fish Shop, in Hampden, vowed to "bring more next time" after selling out of blue cod within 30 minutes of opening.

Mrs Jane Campbell, of Campbell's Butchery, was similarly surprised and said there was an "overwhelming demand for bacon butties". The business, which has been in her husband's family for five successive generations, was stretched to the limit and workers had to "go back a couple of times for more stock".

"We didn't know how many people would turn up... hopefully it will spread," she said, referring to unused space around the market's edges.

The shock was not lost on Mrs Sue Macey of Mean Greens, who sold out of fresh produce before noon.

"We were surprised... Oamaru has had a few goes at farmers' markets but this is the first time with professional growers associated with the national body."

Business partner Dave Jamieson agreed: "We brought extra and we still sold out. We can only fit so much in the van."

Waitaki District Council Mayor Alex Familton, who opened the market with the ceremonial ringing of a bell after a stirring performance by the St Joesph's School Kapa Haka group, paid tribute to market organisers.

"This day is an outstanding response to the work of those people who set up the market. People have supported the day and have been able to find many bargains and much of interest in terms of the merchandise that is here.

"It is the result of a lot of interest for a long time coming to fruition, and I am sure we can keep a day like this going."

The market was populated by buskers, guest chefs giving demonstrations, children with painted faces, Waitaki Girls' High School mimes, tourists and excited locals, who appreciated a place to meet to purchase some of the best produce the region has to offer.



Add a Comment



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter