Our Wellington

News | 1 December 2020

Behind the Stalls: Tommy Young

In Behind the Stalls, we visit some of the colourful characters of Wellington waterfront’s Harbourside Market. In the third of 10 stories, we meet Tommy Young, a fresh produce grower from Levin.

Tommy Young, from the waist up, giving a thumbs up and a big smile to the camera, in front of produce crates and the yellow cab of a truck.

After 20 years of the same routine, you’d think Tommy Young would be bored of it. 

Instead, he walks around his Harbourside Market stall with a broad smile, sharing his expertise in garden produce with whoever wants to know.

He says being at the market is a win-win situation for all.

“It’s just good to be here to meet people and sell fresh produce to them at a good price – they’re happy and we’re happy.

Tommy and his wife Andrea are market gardenersfarming 80 acres across three plots in Ohau, Horowhenua. 

They trade under the name T&A Young Trading, and there’s not much they don’t grow themselves. 

“It’s all freshly grown and freshly harvested by us – harvested yesterday and sold today.

He says he gets up at 3.15am every Sunday.  He leaves his place at 3.45am and arrives at the market site to set up at about 5am.

Tommy admits he doesn’t take many days off – but to get a good product, you have to put in the hard work.

Quality is very important, and prices need to be competitive. You have to price accordingly – you pay for what you get.”

Tommy Young smiling with his hands on his hips, standing in front of his red truck, with a table of his home-grown vegetables in front of him at the Harbourside Market.

Quick Q&A with Tommy

After 20 yearswhy do you keep coming back to Harbourside Market?
We were one of the very first stallholders, and we’ve been coming here ever since. It’s a really good market. We meet a lot of nice friendly people, it’s a nice area, and I enjoy being here meeting people and telling them what we do and what we sell. 

Is there a highlight to your day?
Our customers often ask for advice – that’s what I enjoy most. They come back and ask what’s in season, what’s best if there’s different varieties, and like with kale, which is quite a new thingthey’ll ask how to cook it or how to use it.

What do you have on offer?
We sell potatoes, onion, different lettuces, silverbeet, brassicas, kale, pumpkin, herbs, Chinese vegetables like bok choy, rhubarb, and more.

As a stallholder, are there any challenges?
The only challenge would be the weather. When we get a rough day, it’s hard. Then after all this when the market finishes, the product has to be loaded back into the truck and sold elsewhere.