Heading to this sunny northeastern New Zealand seaside city by car, somewhere along the way you might catch a sign - particularly if you are travelling in the second half of the year - “Gizzy oranges”.
It’s part of what this region is famous for, outrageously good oranges, and other citrus too. That’s what nature dishes up, with warm days and cooler evenings, in this region known for its sunshine.
In fact, Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the sun each morning. So, you might say, it’s where things get started each day. And, with its seaside location and super surfing breaks, all that sunshine is clearly put to good use by the locals.
A bountiful urban farmers’ market
That fabulous climate delivers up a whole lot more than just excellent citrus. And the best way to get a handle of the bounty of the region is at its Saturday morning farmers’ market. It’s an impressive market, in the city centre, just up from the Taruheru River. There’s plenty to feast on, all produced in sunny Gisborne, from ready to eat breakfast or brunch with juice or coffee (of course), to fruit and veges, meats, fish, poultry, breads, nuts, mushrooms, olive oil, cheese, wine… You’ll find all you want for your next meal here.
It’s wonderful to see urban farmers’ markets like this becoming a flourishing feature of New Zealand’s cities and towns right throughout the country, from far in the north to right down south…. They are perfect places for communities to connect with their special local food producers, and the freshness of the seasonal food on offer is second to none. The happy buzz of their surrounds is always an excellent tonic, just like your next meal, made with the most tempting market supplies.
Matters of moment for New Zealand
So, once you’ve filled your market bag with Gisborne’s finest, search out the Wal and Dog statues, on the river bank reserve a little closer to the water. These famous in New Zealand characters are the creation of local Gisborne artist and cartoonist Murray Ball, and are legendary kiwi icons. The Footrot Flats strip ran in newspapers for a couple of decades, with key characters - a sheepdog named Dog, and his classic black wool singlet-wearing owner Wal.
And, on matters of moment for New Zealand, let’s not forget that the Gisborne region occupies an important spot in recent New Zealand history. This region marks the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in New Zealand in 1769, a moment that undoubtedly changed the course of New Zealand’s future. The bay was named Poverty Bay by Cook, who was unable to obtain many of the provisions he and his crew needed to ward off scurvy. And how that now seems extraordinary, vastly at odds with the glorious sunny days, and beautiful oranges and other produce, travellers find on arrival to the region.
Back to those lovely oranges
So back to those oranges. They’re often “navel oranges”. You’ll always know when you’ve got a navel in your hands. Just look at the bottom. They’ve got a tummy button. And they’re divinely sweet, without seeds, and easy to peel. Wow. No wonder people go out of their way to get their hands on those Gizzy oranges.
They’re clearly easy and delightful to enjoy as is. Peel and eat. But, if you’d like to take them a step or two further, with some other top notch ingredients from that wonderful farmers’ market, here’s our Gizzy orange salad idea, put together from the market’s finds. Because nothing beats eating fresh and eating local…
And for more…
For more on what to find and enjoy on Gisborne travels, explore food treasures on our North Island Food Travel Guide app - click here. You’ll find picnic stops, delightful coffee stops and eateries, and a whole lot more.