Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market

Foodie paradise in heart of Hawke’s Bay

Thousands flock every Sunday to indulge their shared passion with fellow devotees. It’s no church but the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market is foodie heaven, where beautiful produce and preserves made and grown locally abound.


It’s about people as well as palates; families and friends meet – often spontaneously – and sprawl or sit under (usually) sunny skies to sip fresh coffee, chat and savour the relaxed, rustic vibe.

Buzzing around in the middle of it all is market facilitator Emma Glover, ensuring all is running smoothly. The market, at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds, runs year-round. Up to 65 stalls sell to visitors – usually 1000 to 2000 a day in winter and 5000 to 6000 in the busy summer season, Emma says.

The market has a strong local following but is also a major tourism drawcard. “Hawke’s Bay Tourism recognises us as an important tourist attraction for the region. There are not many foodies who would come to Hawke’s Bay for a weekend and miss the Farmers’ Market.”

The market began in 2000, with 27 stalls, after a group of local growers and producers lead by Sileni founder Sir Graeme Avery decided the region could benefit from a platform where businesses like theirs could sell directly to customers, and where small food businesses could be incubated.

Emma has been involved with the market for the past nine years, and began managing it in 2009. She also facilitates the Napier Urban Farmers’ Market, held in Napier’s Clive Square on a Saturday morning.

Working with Moore Stephens Markhams Hawkes Bay has been hugely beneficial, Emma says. In particular, the firm has helped them optimise their use of accounting software Xero.

“They’ve made it much easier to manage the finances of the market. Through Xero we can individually manage our accounts receivable and keep on top of what funds are coming in and going out.”

Moore Stephens Markhams also tailored Xero so Emma and the team could closely track actual expenses – which can vary widely – against their budget.

A huge advantage of Xero is that multiple people in different locations can access and manage the market’s financial information at any given time, she says. Moore Stephens Markhams advisor Gwen Rurawhe has been consistently approachable and professional.  “She’s always been readily available and very happy to work with us on what we want to do.”

It is important for the market to use a locally-owned accounting firm. The market has a ‘shop local’ ethos; the more local businesses the market uses, the more Hawke’s Bay families will support the market.

The Farmers’ Market is not just about one business, Emma says, but is comprised of a range of independent stallholders, each with different needs. Some rely heavily on the market for their livelihood. Others may make less than five per cent of their total sales through the market, but realise the value it provides in direct customer feedback, new contacts and cashflow.

The market has a community stall site so local, not-for-profit organisations can raise their profile and fundraise.  Each year Young Enterprise Students are invited to the market, so they can sell to the public in a ‘retail’ environment.

The market is now looking at its environmental sustainability. It plans to significantly reduce the rubbish that goes to landfill, through changing packaging and introducing compost and recycling bins.

“Trying to make the best decisions for the market keeps me on my toes,” Emma says. But it’s all worth it come Sunday when the showgrounds hum with happy activity. “I enjoy it. I love the challenge and diversity of the job. I’m a foodie and I’m passionate about Hawke’s Bay and the Farmers’ Market.”


Published Winter 2016

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