farmers markets

Great things are done when men and mountains meet . . .

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Our three week holiday break managed to exceed world speed records for time passing. Each day no sooner did I get out of bed seduced by thoughts of a quiet early morning cup of coffee on the verandah than it seemed like 3 pm, or later swiftly came around.

Eleven days raced by as we steered our way through tidying, gardening, houseguests, Christmas preparations-day-visitors, house projects before we came up for air and paused on New Year’s Day. It wasn’t until the first Saturday of 2015 we managed a day-trip, just the two of us.

It’s become a bit of a tradition, that first Saturday, for us to go to Dorrigo Country Market. Even though it’s not at its best during the holiday period, it’s a great excuse for us to drive and spend a day up the mountain at one of our favourite places.

Dorrigo is a small rural town located on a plateau in the Northern Tablelands a 100 km drive from Taylors Arm via Bellingen at the top of the stunning [steep, windy] Waterfall Way. It’s known for potatoes & beef. We like the old-time country feel the town has retained. We traditionally stroll a circuit of the streets around the central Main Square but our must-visits are Dorrigo Antiques for browsing, Juan’s Cafe Del Fuego The World’s Smallest Motorcycle Museum for a chocolate milkshake and Dorrigo Bakery for a loaf of old-fashioned soft white bread.

Nearby are Dorrigo National Park & Rainforest Centre + Skywalk, part of Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, and Dangar Falls.

But, thanks to Kate, this time we had a new place on our day-trip agenda. Kate’s directions “To find Griffiths Lookout turn sharp left onto Maynards Plains Road when you reach Mountain Top on the Waterfall Way, then take a left turn onto Mountain Top Road after about 1 km. Go all the way to the end” were spot on. Despite her description of its amazingness, we were amazed.

Griffiths Lookout, Dorrigo NSW Australia... the Whip Mountain near Taylors Arm is in the middle far distance.
Griffiths Lookout, Dorrigo NSW Australia… the Whip Mountain near Taylors Arm is in the middle far distance.

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” William Blake

it adds up to a splendid Sunday morning

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Sunday morning was sunny
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I spent Saturday food shopping & cooking while the G.O. was at work
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We had breakfast food but the kitchen was clean…
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We had to get in the car to go out later
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The idea of a café breakfast didn’t appeal
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Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets is one of a kind happening near us on a Sunday, a long walk or a short drive from our apartment. We park a little distance away at Enmore Park and stroll the few blocks to the entrance of Addison Rd Community Centre where the market shares its location with Reverse Garbage, The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre and eclectic community groups.

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets is a diverse, vibrant, busy event where you can browse, shop and eat. We do all three, in that order. As I usually do food shopping on a Saturday at Eveleigh Farmers’ Market, our forays to Marrickville Markets are pleasantly recreational, we pick up extras & impulse buys, and delicious breakfasts we eat casually perched watching the heterogeneous throng. The G.O. inevitably opts for a Country Fresh lamb roll, while I amuse myself perusing the multicultural, vegetarian, vegan, traditional offerings before, this time, deciding on an Egyptian breakfast from Fritter House.

 

Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers Markets are on Sunday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, located at Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd Marrickville, NSW Australia.

She’ll be apples, mate – Right?

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As is my habit during the course of a Saturday morning I did our weekly food shop at the local Eveleigh Farmers’ Market. When I returned home I made a cup of tea, and settled in with the lunch I bought: gluten-free mushroom, kale and leek tart made from, the friendly stall-holder informed me, market ingredients. At the computer I arbitrarily clicked on ABC News. The first headline I saw was

Federal Government scraps food grants program

“The Federal Government has scrapped the $1.5 million Community Food Grants program.

The funding was announced last May by the former Labor government as a key initiative of the National Food Plan.

It would have seen money invested in projects such as farmers markets, food co-operatives and hubs, community gardens, and city farms across the country.

But applicants have now been advised by letter that the program has been reviewed and a decision made that it won’t be continued due to the ‘tight fiscal environment’…

…The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is also disappointed. The alliance’s national co-ordinator, Nick Rose, says it was the first time that work by the community food sector had been recognised at a federal level…

…A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture says the Australian Government remains strongly committed to a vibrant, innovative and competitive agriculture sector…

This is why the government is developing a White Paper Agricultural Competitiveness, which will drive long-term agricultural policies and ensure Australia’s agriculture sector remains a significant contributor to the national economy and local communities.

The White Paper will take into account the analysis done for the National Food Plan, in the context of the government’s agriculture and food related policies.

A priority of the White Paper will be to generate jobs, boost farm gate returns, investment and economic growth in the agriculture sector…”

So, the Federal Government is ditching a scheme where 364 applicants have gone to the trouble of placing submissions for grants. Instead of fulfilling it even to some extent, simply by virtue of a change of government more time and money will be diverted to a White Paper to reinvent the wheel. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water could they not reassess the submissions and at least make some grants?

If the government insists on the White Paper, I suggest a field trip to Eveleigh Farmers’ Market, both to buy great fresh produce and to talk to the stall-holders/producers. Read the rest of this entry »

coastal offerings

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Easts Beach, Kiama
Easts Beach, Kiama

In seeking the sea for our weekend away, the best option I came up with at short notice was a beachfront cabin at Easts Beach Holiday Park, located a few kilometres south from the centre of Kiama. It suited us as our aim was R&R rather than the touristy-restaurant dining thing. And, it was a good opportunity to further our nifty thrifty October and locavore endeavours.

To this end I packed a selection of goodies on hand from our fridge into a cooler bag with a couple of bottles of wine so we could have a leisurely picnic after our dinner time Friday night arrival.

Online reconnaissance indicated an Easts Beach Holiday Park Kiosk with good offerings including coffee, which covered off our needs for early Saturday morning.

When I discovered our visit coincided with Kiama Produce Markets an exception to the R&R rule was made and after walking the beach drinking coffee and exploring rock pools, we ventured out mid Saturday morning into Kiama.

Produce Markets at Kiama Harbour
Produce Markets at Kiama Harbour

The markets are in the park around the harbour walk. A nice surprise was Mr Apples from Batlow, usually at my local Eveleigh Markets in Sydney, who upon seeing me put aside the last half dozen pears the G.O. has become very fond of, and wouldn’t accept payment.

As our last stop for the morning was to be the Kiama Fisheries co-op, we bought Lime Infused Dijon Sauce and gluten free olive & rosemary bread to accompany our planned seafood dinner, and lemon curd cupcakes for afternoon tea with the kiosk’s excellent coffee.

Foraging put us in need of brunch. The gastronomic selection of market offerings made it difficult to choose but we settled on a homemade rabbit pie for me, and 2 duck pies for the G.O. which we ate sitting on the grass under a Norfolk Pine gazing out over the harbour. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s evolution, baby

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just food
just food

It took a month or so but I kicked many of my supermarket shopping habits and assumptions, and the accomplishment felt and tasted good.

It’s the nature of evolution to reach out and hold hands with change as it marches along. Getting ourselves in step, the G.O. and I encountered other assumptions and habits we needed to re-think.

It tasted good way back when… The G.O. had errands to run at the shopping centre. Even though we’d had coffee and sourdough toast with farmers market cheese and sliced pear for Sunday breakfast the waft of food court aroma re-booted our appetites. The G.O. has a historical fondness for Big Macs and Filet o Fish burgers. He indulged, setting him back about $12. Sceptical, I went with the tried and true trio of fresh rice paper rolls – tofu, prawn and pork with Asian salad and dressing for $7.90; my regular lunch saviour in that place. It was fortunate we sat outside on a bench near a bin to dine in style: the G.O.’s investment hit the ground in disgust, then the bin.

I don’t have time… it’s a sorry state of affairs when we don’t have time to feed ourselves. I know we’re all busy but I’m going home to cook dinner should be a perfectly good reason to leave work on time.

Read the rest of this entry »

habits and assumptions

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Eveleigh Farmers Market
Eveleigh Farmers Market

Mid-August, I wrote we shop as much as possible from farmers markets. A couple of weeks later I had cause to question that bold statement. Did we? As much as possible? Really?

You see, I’ve been following Celi from thekitchensgarden’s September Home Grown Challenge, and considering my own practices. It led me to realise, yes, I shop from farmers markets, and I’d assumed I shopped there as much as possible, when in reality I shopped there as much as was convenient.

There is a difference, and it was tied up in habits and other assumptions.

  • I cleaned our apartment on Saturday mornings while the G.O. was at work.
  • I did my morning exercise via a walk around Sydney Park, Monday to Saturday.
  • I drove my habitually stationary car every Saturday or so, to the supermarket to keep the battery charge topped up if it hadn’t been on a trip, which given our current work-life imbalance isn’t likely.
  • I assumed these habits were necessary to domestic order.

Read the rest of this entry »

D.I.Y. protest march

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Earlier in May I posted regarding Monsanto on elladee_words “You are what you eat. You are every dollar you spend. Read labels. Choose wisely. Care. Make a difference”.

March Against Monsanto is May 25th, today, but I didn’t join in the protest marches against Monsanto, it’s not my style. I didn’t do anything special, just what we do many weekends – visit a farmers market. The G.O. due to miserable Sydney weather during the week washing out his work site, had an unusual free Saturday, so we grabbed a couple of shopping bags and marched over to Eveleigh Farmers Markets in Sydney’s glorious Saturday sunshine.

It was simple. We didn’t need to refer to the boycott list of Monsanto companies, we protested by spending some of this weeks grocery dollars on local and organic produce. The benefits of this type of protest is I can do it as often as I want, it will make a difference, oh, and it tastes delicious.

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Get thee to a farmers’ market

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Each Saturday the country comes to the city for the Eveleigh Farmers’ Market located in the old railway workshop & yards at 243 Wilson St, Darlington (not far from Redfern Station).

“Every Saturday, local NSW based farmers and artisan food producers bring their fresh and seasonal produce they grow, rear or make direct to the Market for the community.
The Market is home to over 70 regular stallholders who sell a wide range of farm fresh products, from source to hub, for all your weekly grocery needs. Every Saturday, foodie lovers can find a variety of goods including seasonal fruit and vegetables; organic produce; beef; lamb; pork; poultry; dairy; artisan bread; smoked fish; olive oil; boutique wine; breakfast from celebrated chefs, and gourmet fare from dips to chutneys to sweet and savoury treats.”

As Eveleigh Farmers’ Market is located in our old neighbourhood we witnessed & anticipated the development of the old rail yards & workshops precinct, the G.O. making a hands-on contribution rehabilitating the shed housing the Eveleigh Markets.

We love markets, and Eveleigh Markets was a favourite, handily only 2 blocks from our old apartment. So it was this drizzly Saturday morning, the G.O. unusually not at work, we ventured the now 2km walk to stock up on goodies. In preparation we grabbed a couple of strong shopping bags and stopped at the ATM en route. Returning home the wallets would be light & the bags heavy.

The haul: baby cucumbers, Yalla guava yoghurt, Yalla vanilla yoghurt + chocolate mousse, Fine Fettle Zucchini & Almond flats, roma tomatoes, red onions, lemons, Ausbuff Stuff buffalo sausages & buffalo mozzarella, Otway Red potatoes, Sapphire potatoes, wholemeal sourdough bread (which the stall holder explained was infused with ginger syrup to make it more suitable for the gluten intolerant), new season pink lady apples, new season mandarins, falafels, Warrigal Greens (Aussie native spinach), zucchini flower fritters, brie, Farmgate organic free range bacon, swiss brown mushrooms, Pepe’s duck sausages, brie, spiced pear tart, choc walnut brownies, Lush plain yoghurt.

As well as purchasing, we entrée’d on free samples of cheese, yoghurts, felafel, sweet apples, crisps with baba ganoush, truffle infused olive oils & stuffed vine leaves (neither to the G.O.’s taste), tiny pieces of melt in the mouth steak, and brunched on Moobi Valley Meat steak sandwiches.

Once home, we refuelled on spiced pear tart & choc walnut brownies with dollops of Lush yoghurt accompanied by strong coffees.

Even though slightly exxy, the rest of our purchases with what’s already in the fridge & cupboards will provide us with a menu for the week:

Dinner tonight of duck sausages, baked Otway Red potatoes, and for me Warrigal Greens (Australian native spinach).

Dinner tomorrow night of buffalo sausages, baked Sapphire potatoes, salad of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes & red onion.

Midweek dinners of:
Zucchini & Almond flats, brie & pink lady apples.
Falafel and salad of baby cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions.
Toasted wholemeal sourdough bread with swiss brown mushrooms sautéed in butter.
Zucchini flower fritters with Farmgate organic free range bacon and salad of baby cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions.

Weekday snacks for the G.O.:
Yalla guava yoghurt.
Yalla vanilla yoghurt + chocolate mousse.
New season mandarins & pink lady apples.

Breakfasts & lunches for me:
Lush plain yoghurt with berries & my own homemade muesli.
Sourdough bread, Warrigal Greens, baby cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, buffalo mozzarella.

“Hobbits love their food and enjoy simple, home country food and drink like home-brewed beer and wine, soups, stews, roasted meats, lots of fruits like apples and blackberries which they grow and pick.” Bilbo Baggins