The Great Taste Trail passes through areas known for growing fruit and vegetables, so its not surprising that for most months of the year honesty stalls are scattered along the route of the trail, or just a short distance off the trail. The generosity of local people shines through with well-priced items, or produce for free. Even on this stall, where they were selling produce, the little box on top had pears for free, if you didn’t want to pay $3 for a bag of organic pears.
Even in the more urban parts of the trail there are locations where there are fruit trees that were specifically planted so that people could pick some free food .
Nelson City Council started planting fruit trees around the city’s parks and reserves 25 years ago, with more recent plantings in Stoke along Orphanage Stream, Orchard Stream, Main Road Stoke and the Railway Reserve.
There are 40 parks with fruit trees in them throughout Nelson, with the largest planting in the Ranui Reserve.
The range of fruit and nut trees and herbs in Nelson includes apples, feijoas, figs, hazelnuts, olives, pears, persimmons and rosemary, with maps for some edible walks available on Council’s website.
The maps will guide you on a series of walks to fruit trees you are welcome to pick from as open orchards, as well as giving you some great insights into heritage attractions around the city, along with useful information on when to pick the fruit. http://www.nelson.govt.nz/recreation/recreation/walks-and-walkways/heritage-walks/edible-walks/
Further along the trail in the Tasman region, honesty stalls of varying size can be found with produce for sale or surplus for free at certain times of the year. Autumn is especially good for pears, apples, kiwi fruit and the ubiquitous feijoas. They are so plentiful they can be known a ‘free-joas’, as people off load them at the end of their driveways to anyone who would take them away. They are a fruit that only seems known to New Zealanders and its difficult to describe their taste. The population falls into like or dislike Feijoas, with no middle ground!
Spring and summer see plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines and berries as the main offering, with courgettes and tomatoes a common honesty stall staple Winter continues to offer apples and pears with citrus fruit, especially lemons and limes, also available. The plentiful supply of fruit also means locally made jams and chutneys can also be found for sale at some stalls.
To be able to buy as you explore, make sure you travel with some cash and when the food is free, please remember, the food is there to share, so just take ripe fruit if you pick from a tree and be sure to leave enough for others to enjoy too.