Some of my Kiwi friends were recently bemoaning the loss of their Farmers’ Market. It hasn’t gone anywhere; it’s still thriving back in Dunedin. But this family has relocated to my town for a few years. And we don’t have a full Farmers’ Market. Yet.
What we do have, in the nearby town of Perth, in the grounds of ut si cafe, is a Growers’ Market. Every fortnight on a Saturday morning, local growers sell their produce, and the wonderful Colette Barnes provides the space for them to do so.
Here is what we came home with last time:
I also bought some Jerusalem Artichoke. That, mysteriously, went missing. It’s probably fallen out in the car. In typical fashion I haven’t gone looking for it yet.
The eggs and herbs quickly made their way into a spring fried-rice. Fluffy omelette, rice, Chinese five-spice, sweet chilli sauce, torn herbs. Very fast and easy and delicious slap-together-at-the-last-minute-on-a-busy-Saturday meal.
The eggs were amazing. They also went into some very tasty meringues for my little two-year-old’s birthday dessert. Big meringues, served on natural yoghurt, with my Mum’s homemade lemon curd (lemons from my tree), blueberries we’d picked in Lilydale in February, mint from Dad’s garden.
As nice as all this cooking and eating was, I think the highlight may have been the trip to the market itself, and the lunch we ate there. Colette’s son is the chef for ut si. For the market, he made some wallaby and harissa sausage rolls. (I didn’t like wallaby the first time I experienced it; my husband ate it for an anniversary dinner, after a particularly smelly seafood and garlic chowder. I couldn’t kiss him for a few hours.)
These sausage rolls, however, are easily the best I’ve ever tasted. They have had me craving more all week. I think the kids liked them, too.
If you have a local Farmers’ or Growers’ Market, I can heartily recommend checking it out. The more custom they get, the better they get. More producers using organic and other sustainable methods means more wonderful produce that’s better for us (as well as the environment). More chats with local growers brings better and deeper understanding for us and our children.
Supplier choices are important for our cafes too. Ut si Cafe is a brilliant trailblazer when it comes to sourcing local and ethical ingredients. In a world where our choices are more often dictated by money-matters, the courage of small businesses and producers like these is inspiring.
For me, it’s about better connection. Meeting local people, learning about local soil, air, water, plants, food. It feels good. It tastes good too.
[The next Growers’ Market is on Saturday, October 29. Unless I am mistaken.]