Master chef Brett McGregor at Prospero Farmers Market

By Ilona Hanne

Brett McGregor will be giving a cooking demonstration in Stratford this month.
Brett McGregor will be giving a cooking demonstration in Stratford this month.

Not only will shoppers be able to enjoy plenty of fresh and locally sourced produce at the Prospero Farmers Market when it starts at the end of this month, but they will be able to pick up some great tips on what to cook with it too.

Celebrity chef Brett McGregor is coming to the monthly market's opening morning on January 27 and says he is looking forward to it.

Farmers markets aren't just about fresh vegetables he says.

"I just love the fact that you can mingle with locals, or get a culinary snapshot of an area. You learn what grows well at certain times of the year, you eat quality produce and artisan products at a freshness you would not normally be able to get."

Market organiser Moana Hancock says inviting Brett to the opening makes a lot of sense.
"His mother lives in Eltham so he has a connection to the area and he is a chef many people find it easy to relate to. His love of fresh, seasonal food perfectly matches with the concept behind this market."

As well as meeting Brett at the market, people have the chance to enjoy a cooking demonstration from him in the evening.

"We are hosting an event at The Well Cafe where Brett will be giving a cooking demonstration as well as answering questions from the audience."

Nibbles and drinks will be on offer at the evening event, says Moana. Tickets are on sale now for the evening event, and the first 20 tickets sold will come with a goodie bag featuring items from businesses in Stratford and the surrounding area.

Brett will also be signing books at PaperPlus Stratford during the day giving people plenty of opportunity to meet the popular television chef.

Brett says he has always enjoyed visiting Stratford.

"My love of Stratford started as a youngster. We would have amazing nights at the speedway and I have the best memories of heading down, eating hot chips and hotdogs and listening to the screaming engines roar around the track.

"Of course, Stratford is also an awesome place to take a Sunday drive to enjoy some of the best scenery around."

Brett says late January is the perfect time to launch a farmers market, describing it as an abundant time of year.

"I have a love of fresh herbs and anything green at this time of year, the basil is still strong so I envision utilising some of those ingredients and will probably create something from there. I am going to bring a few pantry basics and basically cook what I see."

Brett adds he will be excited to see if there are any cultural influences in what is being grown or produced in the area saying he loves seeing the influences from other cultures come in to New Zealand cookery.

"It gives us a chance to cook and eat things that were not possible even 10 years ago."
Peter Dalziel, chairman of the Stratford Business Association, says Moana is to be commended for her work in setting up the market.

"This is a great initiative for the town and I encourage people to go along and support it. The market will bring people into the area and we hope they will also visit some of the great shops we have in town as well."

Moana says a wide range of stalls have already been booked for the market.

"We have sellers of fresh flowers, vegetables, honey, soaps and essential oils, baking, mulch and plenty more already confirmed but are still taking bookings for more."

The market will be plastic free, with shoppers encouraged to bring their own reusable bags and baskets from home.

Prospero Farmers Market: Last Saturday of every month, 9am-1pm. To book a stall, contact Moana on 06 765 5498, via the prosperofarmersmarket Facebook page or email: moanamasaagenz@gmail.com

Tickets to An Evening with Brett McGregor available from The Well Cafe. $50 each.

- Stratford Press

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