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Popular pair to close fruit and veggie stall

It’s time for the Masterton community to farewell a beloved resource – the operators of the popular fruit and veggie stall are shutting up shop.

Levin-based vegetable growers Ann and Whelan Sue have sold produce at Masterton South Rotary’s Essex St market every Sunday since 1999, and have also supplied vegetables to several Wairarapa restaurants and cafes.

The couple has announced their semi-retirement, with their last official day at the Car Boot Sale scheduled for February 12.

Ann said while she and Whelan were sad to leave, it was time.

“We’re both well past retirement age,” she said. “We don’t have time to do anything else. We hardly see the grandchildren because they’re at school during the week, and we’re at the market over the weekend.

“A lot of people said they were sad. We’re sad as well – I loved doing the market. We’ve done it so long but we had to slow down some time.”

Ann said preparations and travelling to Wairarapa make for a long workday.

“The hardest part is the preparing and packaging – it takes forever. We’ve woken up at 4 am every Sunday, and don’t get home till about 5pm.

“It takes two hours to drive to Masterton, and the Pahiatua Track is not the nicest road.”

Growing vegetables is a full-time job in itself, she said.

“It’s become quite hard. When you’re young, you can go harder for longer.

“There’s not a lot of young growers. Most of the growers now are the older generation.

“Younger people choose to get trained and work in industries like IT, where they can get days off.”

She anticipates that growing produce will “only become harder”.

“Everything is expensive – fertiliser has tripled in price. After the floods in Auckland, it will only get worse.

“It’ll be tough for the next few months. Fuel is going up, workers are expecting higher wages because living is more expensive, and meanwhile running costs are also going up. It’s just a vicious circle.”

Ann said she hoped to spend more time with family, including their youngest grandchild, who is 10 months old.

She and Whelan would continue to sell at the Paraparaumu Market on Saturdays – and have asked fellow market sellers whether they can take on the Masterton posting.

Car Boot Sale organiser John Murray said it would be hard to replace Ann and Whelan, who have been dedicated to the Car Boot Sale for the past 24 years.

“The fruit and vegetables stall is what attracts people to the market. If we can’t get another provider, then that will be the end of the market.”


  1. Really sorry to hear but it makes sense you take time out to spend with family 💖. I have yet to attend the Market since arriving here in 2021 and will make an effort to attend on Sunday 12th February 2023.

    Thankyou so much for your loyalty to the people in Masterton. You deserve a plague of recognition 👏 🏆 and the saddle road is not the smoothest road to drive on for more than 25 years so Thankyou so much for your dedication and commitment. Once again really sorry to hear your leaving but I understand. Best wishes. P.S. Might see you in Paraparaumu 😉👍😁

  2. It is sad to read about the Vege Stall closing down every time I came down to Masterton from Taranaki I would love to visit the Boot Sale and would always stock up with lovely fresh Fruit & Veges to bring back to Taranaki. My late Mum Joan O’Neill also just love trotting down to the Market .Thankyou Ann enyoy your Retirement and Grandchildren .

    Kind Regards Rosemarie

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Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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