Tag Archives: Farmers’ Markets

PRODUCE IN GIPPSLAND – Campside Eating

If you are ever in Gippsland (Victoria) I recommend seeking out Oak and Swan sourdough made by Betsy and Greg Evans. Their produce is fabulous and their range is extensive for such a small, home bakery.

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Oak and Swan Sourdough is a small, wood fired organic bakery in Mardan, South Gippsland. They mill their own flour from organic Victorian grain and bake their sourdoughs in their wood fired oven. Now that is Special!.

I bought two loaves of sourdough bread – the Sifted Wheat and the Khorasan – and currant buns from the Foster Farmers Market – on the 3rd Saturday of every month from 8am until 12 noon in the Foster War Memorial Art Centre gardens. The buns had a hint of sweetness, you could smell and taste the yeast and they had a great texture.

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Each Saturday Betsy also sells their bread at one of the Farmers Market in the area, in Koonwarra , Coal Creek and the Prom Coast. If you cannot get to one of these Saturday Farmers Markets in this beautiful and lush part of Victoria, there are other stockists in Gippsland. A few local restaurants also include this exceptionally good bread in their restaurants.

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I like to buy 100% Spelt or Rye and did not know about Khorasan, an ancient variety of golden, coloured wheat, that has been largely unchanged by breeding over the last several hundred years. It takes its name from a historical region lying in northeast of Greater Persia, including part of northeastern Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It is being grown by various certified organic farmers from central Queensland to northern NSW. Khorasan wheat is distinctive and is about three times larger than most modern wheat.

The taste of well-fermented, natural sourdough matures and both loaves kept their texture and tasted great over the of six days that they lasted us – my partner and I mainly camped so we weren’t necessarily taking as much care of the bread as we would at home, but we did store it in a fabric bag so that it would not sweat.

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Wherever I travel, I buy local as much as possible and I was not disappointed – the organic pork was great (Amber Creek Farm), the extra virgin olive oil (Golden Creek Olives) as was the two cheeses we were able to purchase (Riverine Blue made with Buffalo Milk and Pangrazzi. camembert).

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I also purchased field mushrooms and I cooked them with the pork. When one is cooking in the bush, flavours seem to intensify – these mushrooms were big in size and flavour, rich and meaty. Once again, sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a dash of good balsamic vinegar or wine.

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Most wineries are only open on weekends and this time we were not able to visit some of the wineries, however we drank and bought some Gippsland wine from the Fish Creek Bar/ Pub.

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A winery I would recommend is Waratah Hills, located on the road to Wilsons Promontory National Park.

We collected watercress from the Tarra River and we had a cabin Tarra Valley Caravan Park “Fernholme”. We had it in salads and there was so much of it that I also sautéed it with extra virgin olive oil and garlic.

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Oak and Swan Sourdough have a good informative website:

http://oakandswansourdough.com.au/

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San Francisco, Marin County – a large selection of organic produce

I loved all of the bits of San Francisco and Marin County I saw; Marin County is located in the North San Francisco Bay Area of the State of California.

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I loved the buses in San Francisco – very stylish.

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I loved the houses in San Francisco.

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And once again as in NYC and Michigan, I was very impressed by the large range of fresh, seasonal and local produce in food shops, supermarkets, Farmers’ Markets, eateries and in restaurants.

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This demonstrates that many of the residents are highly conscious and supportive of quality, fresh organic produce and health.  But I  am also aware that although I travelled to many different neighbourhoods in San Francisco that appeared to be representative across a variety of cultures and economic demographics, I may not have seen the total picture.

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It was such a pleasure to see artisan goods in Downtown SF and the neighbourhoods beyond. The packets of beans in the photo above are heirloom varieties and many of them are very ancient types.

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There were large barn-like  supermarkets that concentrated solely on organic food and some of the little shops, (equivalent to some of the Health shops found in Australia) were very well stocked with organic produce.

In Marin County and not just in specialist food stores there are large sections of organic produce in supermarkets; in the very large Whole Food supermarkets there were also displays of brought home ready-to-eat foods.

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And  salads.

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The cheeses looked freshly cut, packaged and clearly labelled; it came from all over the world.

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Fresh and dried fungi and mushrooms of all sorts were in The Ferry Building .

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And there were some exotic varieties.

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In restaurant menus, I particularly enjoyed seeing combinations of cuisines (fusion food) and dishes with  unexpected ingredients (for example there was a a salad of kale, strawberries, croutons and goat gouda  and the oysters were combined with finger limes, pickled mustard seeds and Madras curry).

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I valued observing that in some restaurant menus the producers were also mentioned (for example California Olive Ranch olive oil or Mariquita Farms heirloom tomatoes etc.)

Below, some Vietnamese Fusion Food.

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Japanese fusion food.

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This bean curd dish (Asian) was accompanied with broccoli rabe (an Italian vegetable) sautéed with caramelized shallots and lemon grass.

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Braised green leafy vegetables with red peppers and black garlic.

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Ready to eat or take home oysters with prepared sauces.

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Or to eat there.

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And even at the San Francisco airport the range of organic and fresh and local food was impressive. I could have bought good quality bread and a lump of local cheese and I would be given a plate, cutlery, order a glass of Californian wine and sat down to enjoy it. On this occasion, I selected one of several types of coconut waters.

 

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What do I think about the range of food available in Australian airports? Not much, and we could do so much better.

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And one last thing. I enjoyed seeing deer roaming freely in home gardens in Novato in Marin County where my friends live.

Deer in Buckeye Court