Living like a local

Nestled in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, Scarecrow takes you out of hectic city life and into an urban farmers’ market setting, writes Natalie Cyra. 

Words and photography Natalie Cyra

The doors to Scarecrow were opened in late 2014, by owners Paul and Alison Dyson with their business partner and head chef, Ben Barton. They had a clear vision: to create a viable city community in a space celebrating local produce, artisan products and the people who make them. 

More than a year later, Scarecrow is a hub buzzing with activity. Many of the now 100 or so local producers who contribute to Scarecrow’s artisan store and seasonal menu pop in personally to deliver their goods. Meanwhile, students grab their Fairtrade coffee en route to class, while nearby office workers and apartment dwellers enjoy fresh and wholesome food prepared by Barton and his talented kitchen team. Tourists peruse the shelves of locally made souvenirs and artisan pieces, from stunning pottery work to beautifully printed tea towels. 

The name ‘Scarecrow’ was inspired by the countryside vibe that the Dyson’s wanted to create with the space, which boasts wonderful natural light from its northeast facing location. The menu also pays homage to Paul’s country roots – he grew up living off the land with fresh and, where possible, organic ingredients. The smaller suppliers of Scarecrow have been given a vital chance to showcase their craft outside of local farmers’ markets and, for customers, dining at Scarecrow is a unique experience – with all the ingredients from the delectable breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, such as the Matakana Olive Oils and the Waiheke honeys, available for purchase at the instore grocer. 

Scarecrow also boasts a stunning florist and oil refill station for people to top up their farmers’ market olive oils. “A normal café wouldn’t sacrifice a significant amount of space for produce and art,” says Alison. But Scarecrow does, in order to become a quality one-stop community shop. Moving back into the city after nearly a decade overseas, Alison says they struggled to find a CBD stockist of the foods they wanted daily – such as artisan cheeses, fresh olive oils, chutneys, organic garlic and more. Scarecrow not only solves this problem but also offers much more for the wider community. 

Eating and supporting local is a lifestyle movement that is being embraced wholeheartedly by Kiwis. Scarecrow lives and breathes this ethos, not just in using local suppliers, but in celebrating their every step and story along the way.

To see the Scarecrow video from Good‘s visit, click here

Scarecrow, 33 Victoria St East, Auckland. (09) 377 1333. scarecrow.co.nz

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