The Athol Valley Market is a welcome addition to the summer scene in the Upper Mataura Valley villages. I went along to talk to local organiser Amanda McMillan about her latest venture.
Athol Valley – A Community Market
At the heart of a local market is the sense of community. People want to come together and support their local artisans and businesses. It’s less about dashing in and out to grab groceries and more about lingering to chat and chill.
And that perfectly describes the laid back vibe of the Athol Valley Market and its host The Hide. In fact, Amanda and Hide owner Meegan have a shared goal to support local enterprises and the diverse community found within the Upper Mataura Valley.
This cosy market is for all the locals of Athol, Garston, Kingston and beyond as well as the passers-by who know a good thing when they see it. Most Sundays you’ll see tourists, as well as locals, browsing the stalls, and relishing the opportunity to stop and shop.
Talented Locals Offer Their Wares
The stallholders are a varied bunch and the goods on offer change from week to week. You never know quite what you’ll get at the Athol Valley Market.
Fresh food stalls are the stars of a local market. The fruit, vegetables and eggs stalls have come and gone as summer became autumn. Some gardeners’ produce is coming to an end but Matt Menlove has been a stalwart, bringing his sweet honey and garden vegetables to sell every week.
The local children have had their first taste of business this summer, too. They’ve industriously set up a wide-ranging variety of stalls over the season.
We’ve seen honey, vegetables, flower bulbs, cakes, sweets, toys, face painting and — winning the prize for most unusual child stall — painted rocks, kina and paua shells for sale.
All In It Together
One thing that Amanda’s learned while organising her first market season is that market people are a helpful lot. She’s been chatting to market organisers from markets around the area and they’ve given her many tips of the trade. She’s incredibly grateful for their help, because organising a weekly market is no easy task.
If you haven’t taken the chance to chill out at the Athol Valley Market over the past few Sundays take heart. There are still a few market days to come. Amanda and Meegan are hopeful that the sunny days will hold and the market can continue till Easter.
So pick up your purse and cruise on down to the Athol Valley Market this Sunday.
Take in a little food, chill to the music, soak up the sun – or shade – and take the chance to buy fresh food, art and crafts or that little luxury you’ve always wanted.
We’d love to see you there.
Update: Motors At The Market
Amanda’s been experimenting with themed days at the Athol Valley Market over the summer. She had a great response from restored vehicle enthusiasts for her Motors at the Market Sunday in March. Here are just a few of the beauties on display.
More Athol Stories To Enjoy
Craft Keepers is a cute little container store full to the brim of locally-made crafts and The Coffee Bomb is even tinier – a trailer selling delicious coffee, burgers and snacks. Both businesses may be in Garston but their owners are Athol locals. You can read Tabatha’s and Kylie’s stories here on the blog.