Marlborough Farmers' Market customers have spoken: coffee-cart operators Ben and Heather McAlpine are the favourite stallholders of the year.
ard means the couple can be assured their early starts are appreciated,
even if they think it should have gone to someone else.
Market manager Tina Fortune announced the McAlpines as the recipients of the wooden tractor trophy for Stall Holder of the Year at a
dinner at Vintners Retreat Hotel on Friday night.
Mrs Fortune said the couple had missed only one Sunday market during the past 10 years.
Mr McAlpine said he didn't really think they ought to get the award.
"We are not really farmers. I think this should go to the Crums," he said, referring to Bob and Jennie Crum, who sell organics at the market.
Mr McAlpine said their staff were responsible for a big part of their success. He thanked the market committee. "We do appreciate the massive amounts of work you guys do."
The McAlpines bought what he thinks was the first coffee cart in Marlborough 11 years ago. He had since built a new one.
During the Sunday-morning market season, they rise at 5am and start the day with a strong brew, before feeding their horse and dogs and then setting off from their home to the market at the Blenheim A and P Park.
For the past year, they have used Ritual Coffee roasted by their son.
An award for volunteer of the year was made for the first time on Friday, with the honours going to "the chocolate croissant lady", Sandra Morritt.
The 2010 winners are:
Innovative stall holder: Wayne and Maxine Cowan, of Birch Hill Berries, for their real fruit icecream.
Best chef: Chris and Keith Thomes, of Taste of Yesteryear.
Best customer service: Steve and Sally Harnett, of Stephen's Onions and Shallots.
Best storyteller: Katrina Oliver, for establishing storytelling as a permanent fixture.
Volunteer of the year: Sandra Morritt.
Stall holder of the season: Ben and Heather McAlpine, coffee cart, 1; Margaret and Bill McHugh, Gourmet Deli, 2; Bob and Jennie Crum, of Windsong Organics, 3.