Growers’ Markets

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:

Coriander, Vietnamese Mint, Greens, Free-Range Eggs, Hummus

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.

Savouring the Savouries

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.

Sausage Roll Appreciation

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.]

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10 thoughts on “Growers’ Markets

  1. Thank-you so much for posting this Sally. I think the thing I love most about small growers’ markets is that the stallholders are so eager to share not only their produce but their knowledge, experience & passion with everyone. The atmosphere is non competitive & welcoming.
    Cheers, Colette

  2. It makes all the effort of early morning rises and food sharing worth it when people come and they “get it”. A lot of people pay lip service to the growers markets and how much they wish they had them but at the end of the day a lot of people will still trudge to the big box option and buy their “food” (and I use the term loosely) newsagency items, pharmacy items, meat, fruit and veg and even alcohol and petrol. by attending growers markets and your butcher etc, you keep choice alive and you keep community alive. I know there is hope in your children’s hands because they are learning from their mother.

    • Thanks Tanya! You are another inspiration. Your eggs were clearly from blissfully-happy chooks! And those greens were brilliant. I’ve eaten so much more salad this week!

      Markets are so good for families like ours who are still renting a house and don’t have a full veggie patch yet. It means we can still get home-grown.

      I must also give credit to my parents (long-time gardeners and local-ecologists) and my husband and his parents (who taught me to support local butchers among other things).

      And I’ve only spent about two minutes browsing your blog, but I am super happy to have found it! It looks really good. 🙂

  3. Sally I love this post of yours! As you know I LOVE the Bendigo Community Farmers Market and it started with a bunch of friends saying THIS is what we want in our town. You have captured the whole experience perfectly with those pics of the kids enjoying their feast! It’s more than the produce for sale, it’s the whole experience and community feeling (however global or local that may be!) Communities of people who think good food grown locally is the bees knees and worth supporting. Kalo now is so passionate about the market he wanted me to drop him down early to help set it up, even though I wasn’t going to be there early! I could go on forever but I think your kiwi friends need to share all their fabulous NZ farmers market tips so I can see if we can impliment them here!! (or maybe they can help grow the one in Perth near you??)

    • Thanks Hayley. I am quite annoyed that I moved away from Bendigo just as the market took off! But as you say we have an opportunity to grow in this region too. I’m so glad you read this post! Miss you! x

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