Our first winter weekend was perfect with just a few cool, even chilly hours greeting us at daybreak followed by beautiful sunny days. Ideal weather for World Environment Day (WED) events. I hope you had some time out to enjoy a sunny spot.
Celebrated around the world – WED has a different theme each year and this year the theme – Ecosystem Restoration – prompted me to think about the good fortune we have with so many of our farmers being certified organic or if not certified, then at least they are focussed on reducing or eliminating chemical inputs in their farming practices.
One such farm that always has been chemical-free but had not undertaken the certification process is Tweed River Pecans so I was thrilled when last week Kaye let me know that they are now certified organic. Congratulations TRP’s. It can be a bit of a process and the cost is off-putting for some growers but very worthwhile for customer assurance when Certificates of Compliance are displayed.
Also very busy with their ecosystem restoration is Woodland Valley Farm. Featured in our post on 24thMay, they had lots of tree planting action happening on WED too. This is all part of their project aimed at regenerating their entire 1.4 kilometre creek system to attract back the biodiversity that once lived in this area.
Another aspect that is positive from our growers’ perspective and from a consumer perspective too, is that our vegie growers produce a wide variety of vegetables. While this is good for their soil and provides excellent crop rotation opportunities it also encourages us to eat seasonally.
Our ability to eat seasonally – to truly vary our diet to eat with the seasons – creates demand for a variety of locally produced food so a wider range of crop production is supported. Variety contributes to the diversity of our ecological community – meaning less chemicals are needed generally. By growing and “eating the rainbow” we are providing our bodies with a greater variety of nutrients and just like the soil – this is better for our internal ecosystem – particularly our gut biome.
So three cheers and a BIG thank you to our local growers for their smaller farms that take a huge human effort to grow a variety of produce throughout the year.
What’s NEW at the Market this Week?
Esperanza Farm commences this week. From Corndale, Jerrod (Jed) and Sana Henderson are bringing to our market pasture raised pork and beef. This will complement our other meat stall, Ethical Sustainable Produce with their pork and venison (plus beef when they can). Esperanza Farm as a stallholder enables the market to ensure continuity of meat availability for our customers.
Jed said that their heritage breed large black and Berkshire pigs are sustainably and humanely raised on their family farm. The pigs live in a natural environment and are free to indulge their natural behaviour – roaming and sunning themselves or rolling in mud. Whatever they wish – they are happy pigs. This all leads to better tasting pork.
Their fresh pork cuts include rolled loin, pork belly, shoulder and leg roasts, loin chops and cutlets and their beef cuts include sausages, mince and rissoles plus various cuts of steak including rump, sirloin and ribeye.
As well as their line of standard cuts – Jed and Sana have chosen to work with a butcher to produce a range of small goods. Their chorizo is popular and based loosely on Sana’s traditional Spanish heritage and they also have bacon. The photo below shows unsliced bacon but they definitely have sliced bacon for you.
Sana told me that sausages are their biggest seller at their other markets because they use all natural ingredients and herbs from their farm garden. That sounds very exciting.
What’s GREAT at the Market?
Winter brings us endless possibilities including lots of colourful locally grown vegies as you can see in the top photo taken by Summit Organics last week. Such an abundance of colours means that “eating the rainbow” while still eating locally is easier than ever. So this week I thought I would feature carrots and radish as they are both harvested with their leafy green tops intact.
Did you know that both these tops are delightfully edible too. As Kristina – a registered dietician from Fork in the Road says “Don’t toss those radish tops! Learn how to make sautéed radish greens for a simple wilted greens side dish that’s big on flavour and reduces food waste. Root-to-stem cooking at its finest!”
Radish leaves like carrot tops are edible leafy greens. But unlike carrot tops radish greens can be substituted for herbs and chard or spinach in any meal. They also make a delightful side dish when lightly pan fried with garlic, red pepper, and olive oil. Radish greens are packed with important nutrients and can help to fill out a healthy diet and they make an interesting addition to any salad. They can also be added raw to sandwiches or a salad for a delightful peppery taste – a fact I discovered listening to Jamie Oliver years ago. Jamie recommended slicing them finely before adding.
So this week try steaming your radish greens or include them in a vegie stir fry in your wok.
Tip: Radish and carrot tops don’t stay fresh for very long so it is recommended that you separate them from the roots soon after bringing them home from the market. Wash and store the leaves like other salad greens and eat them within a day or two.
With carrot tops – here is a trick … make them into a soup. Include leeks for a delicious Leek and Carrot Top Soup – renamed from the Epicurious carrot top soup recipe.