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Farmer’s Markets – a haven for fabulous food stories

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2013-03-16 10.30.32Farmer’s markets are more than places to mill leisurely on the weekend. I mean, that’s reason enough to love them – but what’s really special is they provide a venue for producers you wouldn’t otherwise find.

This time last week I hit the Bellarine Community Farmer’s Market at Ocean Grove. It’s on the third Saturday of every month and this occasion was my first time.

As I walked towards the circle of stalls, my instinct was it was rather small – but as I began to take a really good look around – I realised that quality was more important than quantity.

There was everything from affordable plants and herbs as well as home-grown fruit and veg.

I was instantly inspired not only by the produce on offer, but the smiling and helpful faces of the vendors. There was a great atmosphere and I knew I was surrounded by people who not only knew about food and produce, but were really keen to share their stories and their passion for their products.

The first lady I encountered was selling hot sauce made by her husband. It’s called Serpent’s Bite – and boy, it was hot! I’m always looking for unique products for my dad’s and brother’s shop, Anglesea Fruitz – and when she told me it’s not readily available in stores, I was really keen to get a bottle and check it out!

2013-03-16 11.14.13I drifted a little further along to meet father and daughter team, Will and Clare Evans from The Egg Man. They really reminded me of my dad and I when we go to events to research the latest in gourmet food as they stood proudly behind their stall together. Will and Clare were so keen to talk about their family business and their commitment to being truly free range. Their table was decked out with photos of their hens roaming all over their large property. The farm is nestled in a cosy pocket on the golden plains of Ombersley, located near the historic town of Winchelsea, which lies 38.5 kilometres from the city of Geelong. The eggs are collected three to four times a day and approximately 4,500 eggs are collected daily. There’s nothing like the passion that comes from people who own and run their own family business and you can tell that eggs and chooks and producing a premium product is the true and passionate focus of the Evans family. I only spoke with them for a few minutes, but their belief in what they do was truly inspiring.

Walking a little further I could hear the sound of popping, which had me instantly curious. As I peaked into a brightly coloured tent – there was a man wearing a hard hat and visor fit for welding or other similar dangerous activity, holding what looked like a boat ore – in front of a cauldron.2013-03-16 10.52.20

That’s when I met Philip de Villiers from the Steel Drum Popcorn Co. Phillip explained that he was making popcorn.

While travelling at a country fair in Memphis Tennessee, he told me how he had  stumbled upon an old farmer cooking kettle corn. It was upon moving to Point Lonsdale many years later  that the lack of healthy food options inspired him to take on the challenge of making popcorn live at markets, just like the old man so many years ago.

He started off small and this year was serving up popcorn to parade-goers at Moomba.

The flavours, I have to say, are just delicious and so different from any popcorn you can get anywhere else. I sampled chilli and lime – and nacho cheese – and loved both. Although, I must confess, I’m a massive fan of popcorn.

Phillip was kind enough to agree to let me video him in action, and we had an impromptu interview of sorts over the stirring and popping. He speaks about his passion for popcorn and how he makes it while at the market and the history of the technique he uses. The process is exciting, slightly dangerous,  as you’ll see, and the popping sound is just terrific. I hope you enjoy my first live interview, however unplanned it was, on Uforic Food. 

 

It’s been great reviewing just a few of the products I came across at the Bellarine Farmer’s Market. Are there farmer’s markets being run where you live? Do you attend? I think the thing this experience highlighted for me is that the community need to support these markets to ensure they survive. Without them, these small producers would struggle to get their products out there and we would all truly miss out. So, why not do some research in your local area and pop along to the next farmer’s market? You never know what you might find!

If you produce a unique product, or your business has a interesting story to tell, why not contact professional writer and food blogger, Lisa Mary Cummins to consider your business for a feature piece on Uforic Food? She is also able to writer quality content for your business including brochures, website information, business proposals and applications – plus much more. Email her for a quote at lisamary@lmcmediasolutions.com .

Please be aware that no businesses in this piece paid for the opportunity – this is a purely objective review. However, if a piece of writing featured on Uforic Food is sponsored, this will always be disclosed. 

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2 comments on “Farmer’s Markets – a haven for fabulous food stories
  1. Michelle on said:

    The larger farmers markets are a bit far for me to get to easily, but there is a small one near me. My favorite stall there is from the farm that grows 40 kinds of garlic! They bring 8 different kinds to the market each week and have little slips of paper that tell what the best use is for each kind. As a garlic lover, this stall was for me! I hadn’t thought about different kinds of garlic, but I can tell the difference between many of them, not that I’ve had them all…yet. I’m looking forward to the market opening again this year.

    • Hi Michelle
      As much as I’m a foodie – I honestly can say I had absolutely no idea there were so many varieties of garlic! That’s absolutely crazy! But, I guess that hits the nail on the head for why farmer’s markets are so awesome. You actually get to talk to producers and learn about their product, their processes and their passions. It’s such a great experience to be able to have!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Cheers,
      Lisa

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