Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Farmers' Markets

I've just spent a lovely morning in the city at the Farmers' Markets and returned with a basket of produce. Would you like a closer look at the fresh local produce I was able to procure?

Today I purchased beautiful rainbow chard, leafy green spinach, Dutch carrots, spring onions, stir fry vegetable mix and Italian garlic. Most of this produce came from one stall which sells mainly organic vegetables. It's part of a local employment enterprise that is run by people who need support due to mental health issues. I used to be an occupational therapist and I love to see ventures such as these in action in the community. The people involved see the produce that they have grown go to market to be sold directly to the public.

I was also able to buy local organic pecans. Chopped pieces are cheaper. I don't mind - I usually chop them up! I'm wary of commercially grown non-organic nuts these days after watching a 60 Minutes programme about the spraying of macadamia orchards in Queensland. Scary stuff - knowing that chemicals banned in other countries are still allowed and routinely used here.

I forgot to mention the peas - the twins could not resist these sweet and crunchy snacks.
I'm looking forward to summer harvests from our own vegetable gardens. The cos lettuce and Asian salad leaves we harvested over winter have finished. I was looking forward to cauliflowers and they were growing beautifully - little creamy heads had appeared and then one morning I discovered each one of them gone - completely eaten by some creature. Only two suspects - pesky possums or quite possibly bandicoots. They have not touched the rhubarb so I guess they know that the leaves are poisonous! Time to make the garden bandicoot proof - wire cages will be constructed before any more seedlings go in! The birds are also feasting on our fare.

The mulberry tree is dripping with fruit and the green cat birds are in heaven but there is so much fruit we can share - I don't really want to net this tree. We will be netting some of our other trees though as I am not prepared to share.......

Peacharines! I was so excited to find out today that we have peacharines on the tree. I have never seen organic peaches or nectarines at the markets. We have never sprayed our orchard or used any form of chemical fertilizers on our gardens. Going out to buy bird netting on the weekend - I have waited so long for organic peaches. All the other trees we planted blossomed this spring. Cannot wait to try my first angel peach this summer. Oh that is such a luscious thought! Apples and pears to follow.

Cherry guavas we are assured of - they crop every year. Prolific - enough to share with the catbird and his mate. I love the sherbert flavour of the fruit. Makes great jelly too.

Need a bay leaf? Come visit me!

What to do with all this fresh produce? Make it into amazing meals for my family! And inspiring me at the moment is Annabel Langbein 'The Free Range Cook. Aussies have you seen her programme yet? Saturdays ABC 6pm. I'm so excited to have found the cook book from the show at the book store today. It is the most beautiful cook book I have ever owned and deserving of its own dedicated blog post. I'm going to be reviewing this gorgeous book soon. I will be back to share more from my kitchen and garden when I return from cook book heaven. If you want a taste of her recipes and fresh food philosophy visit her website here

With Love and Joy and mulberry stained fingers,


A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Ann I am green with envy1 The idea of growing or buying Homegrown fresh fruits and veg is just wonderful! We too have many fruits here but they are young and yet to bare.
I have never tried gauva and Mulberries I could eat til I burst!!
I enjoyed watching The free range cook after you blogged about it even Hubby enjoyed the show

Make a Joyful Noise all ye Lands said...

Youe produce looks amazing. I am a farmers wife and try to but organic when I can. So much healthier for our bodies. You are correct it is scary what comes into our country also that is not allowed in the states. No regulations in other countries.

In Christ,

Teresa said...

I love farmer's markets!!! I haven't been to any yet here in AZ....OH we have them, I just need to find out where the best ones are. Plus our growing seasons are slightly different here then where we lived before.

Camille said...

Your little basket holder is very sweet Ann! :)

What amazing produce you have there! I think it's wonderful that you can buy LOCAL pecans!! YUMMY!! I agree with you on the spraying...YUCK!

Have a great weekend!

Renata said...

Hi Ann
I would love to have a farmers market nearby - there is one an hour away once a month, but it wasn't very good the time we visited (although we should give it a go again).
Your fruit looks & sounds wonderful. We are hoping to plant a small orchard here soon (there were some, but the drought took most of the trees while the previous owners were here).
I love the free range cook - thanks to you- I have the note on our fridge to watch it at 6pm on Saturdays - I even mentioned it to Dave this morning!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend - Love that picture of your daughter holding the basket - it looks very heavy!

Fruitful Harvest said...

What great baskets and cute little models~

I love swiss chard too. Yummo!
I am having a Monday recipe meme:
"Celebrating The Harvest"

I hope you will consider linking up~

Peace and Love,

Lady Kara said...

Hi Ann!

That produce looks wonderful! So fresh, and top quality. Your home in the forest looks so peaceful and quaint, it reminds me of a movie...when I remember the title I'll get back to you.:^) Your children are so cute! Hey, I could use some bay leaves, but I missed the bus to Australia this morning lol...

Lady Kara said...

I remember the movie now. It's "Cross Creek", about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote "The Yearling." I loved that movie, and even though her home is in more of a swamp than a forest, it's really beautiful, like yours. :^) Take care!

Farming On Faith said...

Such wonderful things you found. I am so loving my magazine. I just keep reading and reading. It has been so nice to get a peek at your world. We are usually still really warm in October~ around 70-80 degrees in the day and 50-60 at night, I fear we are in for an early winter.
I am getting ready for Ensemble practice. I have been working at a friends orchard~face painting to earn money to go see Boston. I am hoping to be there for his birthday.
It has been so busy here but I had a good day getting it all back in order after working and church all weekend.
Tomorrow I teach homeschool classes for our group. I am teaching classes for our K-1 and 2nd-3rd grade for Autumn Discovery Art.

Well I best get going ~I so enjoy your lovely blog and all your sweet comments on mine. You are a blessing to me!

Renata said...

Hi Ann
I just wrote a post about your giveaway - I'm sorry it took so very long!
Have a good day

Teresa said...

I wish I had a green thumb. I guess you could call it a brown thumb because everything I try to cultivate seems to die on me. In my book, gardening is a talent and a gift, that's why I live in the desert---I let God take care of the watering...LOL...I totally admire someone who can nurture something from seed ,cultivate, and harvest it all in one fail swoop. Whoops I meant to post this comment to your most recent entry---but I guess it still fits!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I love what you grow in your garden! Mulberries are illegal here, as are olives. The fruitless mulberries and fruitless olives here were causing allergies, so our city (or county; I'm not sure which) outlawed them!
If I had more room and lived somewhere else I would grow them. Growing up, we had a fruitless mulberry outsie of our kitchen window. I have never tasted them, because I have never seen fruiting ones excpe for in 2 gardening catalogs.

And too funny about the bay leaves; I was just thinking the other day about growing them as well!

With your ability to grow tropical fruits, I was wondering, have you tried growing vanilla or cocoa beans? My husband isreading Farmer Boy for the first time, and he was so fascinated with the process of making wintergreen flavoring.

We are in fall here (finally!) and I have been making pomegranate jelly today. I have been planting lettuce all week, as it has finally cooled down.


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