Dianne Sharma-Winter reflects on an old kiwi icon. Before gourmet food stores, restaurants and magazines (and we have some great ones), there was the honesty box by the side of the road – and its still there!
More on the theme that some things change and some things remain the same. From my kiwi school summer holidays, I remember station wagons full of kids and sand, smeared ice cream on the back windows and stopping at roadside stalls. There you would find the peculiarly cool kiwi icon, the Honesty Box.
You would pick your fruit from bags labeled already with the price and leave the correct amount in the Honesty Box, if you needed change well then you took that too.
The other morning on the way to work in town, we stopped at this fruit stand on the highway. There are eggs and honey and avocado for a mere fifty cents, in season these unknown stall holders offer various other treats.
It got me thinking about the fresh food available in one sweepingly beautiful drive along our coastline.
Between my house and the town there is fresh fish and whitebait which you must still catch yourself, there are fields of berries- blue berries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that you can pick yourself with a gaggle of grandchildren or buy by the kilo at the Berry Farm shop. No honesty box at the berry farm since they sexed it up to a cafe and fresh fruit icecreams but the taste is still the same.
In the streams if you know where to look there is watercress and in paddocks skirting these streams are tall stands of corn, all golden and juicy.
In the sandbanks are pipis and on rocks by the sea mussels and oysters straying from the harbor oyster farm.
In between are gardens bursting with all the produce of summer, windowsills displaying Jam and pickles and soon the golden glow of peaches suspended in syrup.
But the real taste of a kiwi summer for me is the lonely lovely roadside stall with a box full of honesty.
First printed in Dianne’s Blog Read it here
yesterday in Waipu, Northland I picked blackberries by the side of the road, black and beautiful and plump – look out for them in February.
We moved to Auckland recently, I saw a “honesty box’ on a trip to Waiheke Island today. It’s a great idea!
This tradition survives in parts of the United States. In northern and western New York State and other parts of the rural North East it is not uncommon for the garden stands to be left to themselves with price signs on the produce and a change box on the counter during the Summer. My family’s favorite stand is run by an Amish family (no electricity or internal combustion engines enter their lives). Two times out of three everyone in the family is off working in the fields or the barn and we just help ourselves. Dad tells me he figures he actually makes more than he’s asking when no one is at the stand since people “round up” when they pay and don’t take change. Trust pays off in two directions.
But, it’s a farming community where everyone knows everyone…
Rosemary Neave says
thanks charles, I live in a community that is still like this. May it grow!