All go for ‘evening eats’ markets aimed at topping off day at beach

A food-only night market – modelled along similar lines to those overseas – is set to pop up in Raglan from Labour Weekend, offering a variety of eats over summer along with a fun, family vibe.

The monthly market will be sited on what’s been dubbed Wainui Landing – a grassy space at the turn-off to Ocean or Wainamu Beach – where 10 or 11 food trucks will offer everything from dairy-free ice cream and raw food treats to crispy pork belly, falafels and dumplings in a celebration of street food culture.

The organisers of The Raglan Summer Markets, to give the venture its proper name, make clear they’re targeting both locals and visitors. “Come join us for evening eats after a day at the beach, still salty, got the kids, before heading back home (or to the bach),” they say.

They want everybody to enjoy the festive flavour of the markets, where festoon lights will be turned on at dark to add to the atmosphere. There will be a diverse range of high-quality food ready to either take away or enjoy al fresco at the venue.

“We know we’re spoilt for food options in Raglan, but we wanted something different once a month,” Karla Randrup told the Chronicle as she, fellow organisers Sophie Laity and Bridget Millward sat down for a business meeting at Orca Eatery & Bar last week.

The three friends – all locals with full-time jobs – have had regular planning sessions at Orca and The Shack since first putting their heads together back in May, and are excited the first of the six night markets set down for this summer is just around the corner.

“It’s been busy but fun,” says Sophie who’ll  be best known to many around town for her work marketing the Rangitahi Peninsula housing and lifestyle development in Raglan West.

“We wanted a variety of cuisine … and got a really good response,” she says of their online call for stall holders, who will come mainly from Raglan and the Waikato but also from Auckland and Tauranga.

Established food truck businesses have welcomed the opportunity to serve at night-time and bring something different to Raglan one Saturday a month over summer, while for new businesses it’s a way to prove their product.

Now – after a detailed vendor application process – every market; bar the final one is fully booked, says Bridget, who by day is a wedding stylist with her own business.

It was she and Sophie who first decided to create a night market based on what they’d seen overseas. They subsequently brought on board Karla – an executive assistant at a Hamilton start-up company – “because she’s very organised”, they laugh.

Sophie particularly recalls an empty lot in Budapest which had all food trucks arranged around its edge, creating a communal area in the middle for eating and socialising. And that’s pretty much how the trio visualise ‘Evening Eats’ for Raglan.

Sarah Lancaster from ‘Sew Love’ and ‘Plastic Free Raglan’ is now involved too and will put up a gazebo from which she’ll rent plates out and give a refund on their return.

“We don’t want plastic at our events,” Bridget insists. In fact stall holders are committed to using only compostable or reusable containers and utensils, with Sarah’s “real” plates just  another option for market-goers.

Xtreme Zero Waste will be helping with the recycling and waste stations, and will also set up a bike rack at Wainui Landing to encourage cyclists along.  The venue’s actually less than 15 minutes from Raglan West for those on foot, says Karla, although 30 car park spaces will be available on site.

Karla, Sophie and Bridget reckon they couldn’t have set up without their business supporters: Sofit Personal Training, Raglan Physiotherapy, Wild Coast Yoga, Brand Impact, West Coast Hire,  Xtreme Zero Waste, Plastic Free Raglan, Rangitahi and Wainui Environmental.            Edith Symes

Come to the first night market Saturday October 26 from 5pm till dark, on the corner of Wainui Road and Riria Kereopa Memorial Drive (next to ‘Let’s Grow’). Check out the Raglan Summer Markets website or Facebook page for the array of street food available.