WA Hills Fresh
Farmers over the years have earned the right to be proud. Many of the Western Australian farmers we have at the Subi Farmers Market are the best the region has to offer. They are hard workers, produce stunning produce and of course, believe that selling direct at farmers markets is what makes their hard work worth it. Meet Daniel Engel from WA Hills Fresh, who exemplifies exactly this.
The Engel family have been in the fruit production and fresh produce business for over 25 years, with orchards now based in Northampton, Karragullen and Balingup. The business started from humble beginnings with Daniel’s grandparents starting fruit production on their ten acre property in Kalamunda forty years ago, an orchard that is still in production today and specialisies in small plantations of early peaches, plums and mandarins. Daniel tells me that he has fond memories on being a kid on the orchard, “I remember eating twenty plus mandarins a day off the trees, I loved them so much! But I used to complain of a stomach ache and so my grandma made me stop”.
Back in the early days the peaches and nectarines were individually wrapped, hand loaded, packed in wood crates and delivered to the Perth CBD in an XF wagon by the Engel family. Today the business has progressed, with the commercial side now run by Daniel’s father Richard. Richard is a horticulturist who has been active in propagation and production of stonefruit and other types of fruit for over twenty years. Couple that with Daniel growing up in Karragullen on the commercial stonefruit property, it is safe to say that farming is well and truly in his blood. The main operation in Karragullen started in the 1980’s and developed into the commercial orchard it is today, producing mid-season stonefruit and apples and is one of the most mature orchards in existence today.
The Engel family has been savvy in the development of their business. The three orchards that they operate all produce different varieties of fruit at different times of the year. Northampton is located six hours north of Perth and produces the early season fruit, mainly an assortment of peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots. The orchard in Karragullen, which is forty-five minutes from Perth produces all the mid season fruit, an assortment of peaches, nectarines, plums and vegetables. Lastly the orchard in Balingup, which is three hours south of Perth produces the late season fruit, which a is fast array of apples, pears, citrus, peaches, nectarines and plums, meaning that WA Hills Fresh can produce stonefruit and fruit for the whole season.
The operations are medium- large scale, with over seventy workers at peak season, all who work extremely hard to deliver the highest quality fruit to the consumer. WA Hills Fresh set a high standard within the industry and has refined what is a very complex process down to a fine art. The fruit growing and picking process I am told is a lengthy process, kindly Daniel tells me in simple terms, “the orchards need to be pruned, thinned, irrigated, fertilized and well maintained to produce the quality of product required to stay competitive in this industry. The produce needs to be picked by hand, packed, cooled and transported to the point of sale very quickly to realise the value of a highly perishable product”.
The business is constantly evolving to ensure they stay top of their game. “Just like any other business we need to stay ahead of the times. This involves constantly taking old varieties and reviewing their performance, then planting the newer genetic varieties, which produce better fruit and outcomes”, says Daniel. When I asked Daniel what sets his fruit apart from others on the market he tells me it is because WA Hills Fresh produce an authentic and extremely fresh product giving it a greater shelf life, it last longer and tastes better and it’s a local WA product.
WA Hills Fresh not only sells at the SFM, but also at the Kalamunda Farmers Market every Sunday. When I asked Daniel how they ended up selling at the Subi Farmers Market, he tells me that about two years ago, he was standing in the packing shed with his dad, who told him that a market was opening up in Subiaco. The next week, Daniel and his partner Claire were organising their stall and have never looked back. “I owe gratitude to my father, who assists in a big way to make the market possible on a weekly basis and for his hard work and dedication he has put in over the many years. He is a respected member of the fruit growing community”.
When speaking with Daniel it is easy to see that he treats the farmers market like an extended family. He takes pride in delivering better quality produce direct to the customer. He gets satisfaction from the weekly interaction with his customers; he is motivated by the continuation of the family tradition and their ability to produce the highest quality fruit. Also by the fact that he is helping to deliver a healthy dietary option to those who attend the markets, and he also likes doing his part for sustainable practice.
As I started out saying, farmers are proud of what they do and Daniel has every reason to be proud of WA Hills Fresh, to prove this I will leave the final word up to Daniel. “I had a local elderly lady shopper who was coming to our stall at the same time every week. I noticed she wasn’t coming down after a few weeks. When she returned I asked her why she had been away and she explained that her husband had passed away and was very upset. I had also asked her politely because I was interested why she continued to come down to see us, given it was obviously a big challenge for her every week. She said it was because, ‘it makes me happy coming down here every Saturday to see you and I insist cooking with the best produce’, and that epitomizes why we do what we do.
Eggs by Ellah
Her girls are the most important things to her, they have bodyguards that watch over them and she is the youngest farmer I know. Meet Ellah, she is the women behind Eggs by Ellah, a free-range egg company that puts glamour into farming!
Ellah was born and raised on her family’s egg farm located in the Swan Valley, which her Dad has owned for the last twenty-three years. “I had a lot of fun growing up on the farm, there was always a lot to do, mind you I don’t think it impressed Mum that we were always covered in mud and dirt” laughs Ellah. Ellah tells me that when she was younger, her and her siblings would take great delight in choosing a baby chic to be their pet, naming it and keeping them in a separate hen house up at the house, what is so funny about that is, that if she didn’t have so many hens now I think she would actually name them too. Ellah prides herself on ensuring that her girls get the best care and their welfare is of paramount importance, “being a smaller boutique farmer means that I can pay a lot more attention to the detail and be a lot more hands on with my hens” says Ellah.
The egg farming process is fascinating on such a large scale. Ellah gets the chics as ‘day olds’. When they are this young it takes a lot of work to raise them, they require their barn to be an exact temperature and their food and water intake needs to be constantly monitored. From here, the chics then start to lay around 20 weeks, they spend their days roaming around the paddock and basking in the sun. “Most of the hens lay their eggs in the nesting boxes, however there is always a stubborn few who choose not to, which then leads to a daily game of “find the egg”, amusing but time consuming” says Ellah. From here, the eggs then go off to be graded, meaning they are weighed and packed ready for sale. Ellah tells me that her free range process is most likely the same as a lot of other free range farming but, she does reinforce that being a smaller operation means she does have more control, the hens are free to come and go around the paddock, to the point where they have bodyguards named Leo and Pierro, who keep a sharp eye on them; did I mention that Leo and Pierro are Alpacas? Her hens eat a 100% natural mix of grains and wheat, as well as, what they find while roaming around.
When I asked Ellah did she always think she would end up as an egg farmer she straight up says no. “In high school I definitely did not see myself getting into the egg business. In actual fact I swore to my godfather that I would never follow in my dad’s footsteps because farming wasn’t glam enough”. It was not until she started selling her dad’s eggs at farmers markets that she realised the demand for eggs. Until then, she had not given eggs much consideration, a consequence of always eating them and being around them meant she thought they were nothing special. “ I was always passionate about the farm, I just didn’t see myself pursuing it has a job, but after I travelled to Europe I came back and had decided that I wanted to do it full time, so my dad gave me some land and the rest followed suit” says Ellah. It is worth mentioning that Ellah’s dad has Swan Valley Eggs to which Eggs by Ellah is now direct competition! Mind you Ellah’s Dad could not be more proud of his daughter.
Eggs by Ellah only launched their business earlier this year. Ellah has been savvy in her branding and of course it truly reflects her personality and her new generation farming attitude. The brand colours epitomise glam, the three colours are pink, black and white and the website is fresh and funky and the egg boxes are completely trendy and truly stand out when on the shelf. The colours actually identify the size of the eggs. Eggs by Ellah have three different sizes, Petite eggs, which are 500g, they are the hens first laid eggs. Perfect eggs which are 700g, they are the eggs perfect for baking or following Ellah’s recipes and then Biggest eggs which are 900g, Ellah finds the men are big fans. At the markets the perfect eggs sell for $5.00 and the petites and biggest sell for $6.00, you can find Ellah’s eggs all over Perth, she does the Subi Farmers Market, Manning Farmers Market, Mt Claremont Farmers Market, Kalamunda Market and South Fremantle Market. On top of all of this, she also has her eggs in the IGA stores, gourmet stores and also sells direct to some of Perth’s best restaurants and cafes. When I ask her what she likes most about markets she tells me “they have such a great vibe, it is almost like you are not working. It’s good to actually get to talk with my customers. I am motivated by my customers and I love providing them with a top quality product, even though I don’t have a weekend it is all worth it when they keep coming back week in and week out. It is from the farmers market that I have developed the relationships with the cafes and restaurants, it is just such good exposure and really allows me to expand my contacts”.
What I love about Ellah is not the fact that she is a young trail blazing egg farmer, but that her philosophy is simple, Happy healthy hens + freedom to roam + a little bit of love = The Perfect Egg. What’s not to love about that!
Oh and one last thing, at Subi you will find the delightful Neil, who sells Ellah’s eggs. Again Ellah has been careful to select perfect people to sell her perfect eggs!
Stonefruit is at it’s absolute best in Spring and Summer, plump, juicy and delicious. Here at the farmers market we are lucky to have some of Perth’s most sort after peaches and nectarines. Meet David and Leasa, owners of Yanchep Springs.
Yanchep Springs is located just north of Yanchep, and specialise in peaches, nectarines and blueberries. David was born into the business and is a third generation fruit grower. To say it is in David’s blood is an understatement, David’s grandfather arrived in Australia from Venice in 1926, and purchased a block of land in Pickering Brook, it was here that he started growing a multitude of crops and over time decided to specialise in stonefruit. This is where you can safely say the seed had been sowed and the Mazzardis Family careers where cemented. David’s dad carried on the tradition of growing stonefruit and of course this flowed down to David.
When I asked David and Leasa what keeps them in the fruit business generation after generation, Leasa laughs and says “How could you not be driven in the peach and blueberry business, when you have two of the most spectacular fruits to eat during harvest”. I can vouch for that as I got to taste the first flush of stonefruit, and yes it was spectacular. In 1987 David visited the University of Florida’s peach breeding program, it was here that he rediscovered a new passion for breeding peaches, nectarines and blueberries, twenty years on and he still works closely with the University and is very much involved in breeding new varieties of stonefruit.
The stonefruit business is quite technical, truth be told David is a leader in his field and as Leasa says a genius when it comes to all things orchard related. I am told that for breeders and growers it is very in depth as opposed to just being a grower of stonefruit. Leasa tells me that first they pollinate a large group of flowers from previous varieties they have bred and grown and then they take the seed from the fruit that has been pollinated and they grow out a large progeny of seedlings, which they then select out the best. They then propagate and trial the best from the seedlings, and over a number of years they find which are best. From here they go to the large commercial plantings. David also adds that the process for blueberries is very similar. Yanchep Springs has over 4000 fruit trees and approximately 5000 blueberry trees, “the orchard looks like a bowling green, well that is what everyone says when they come to visit” says Leasa. “We use it as a running track because the trees are planted in 200m lengths, we can often be seen racing each other to the end” laughs Leasa.
Yanchep Springs sees the start of their Low Chill stonefruit when the trees start to drop their leaves; this is generally around the end of April. In May, they start pruning the trees and then in August they “fruit thin”, which is a process that allows them to get a set amount of fruit per tree. Then harvesting starts in September through to November. Their blueberry harvest starts in July and finishes in December; however their location does allow them to extend that season depending on the weather and fruit set. When I asked Leasa what was so different about their product as opposed to others on the market she tells me “Our produce is wholly Western Australia from the ground up, we breed, grow, harvest and pack it. We know what is happening to the fruit from start to finish, we live and breath fruit, our drive and motivation comes from seeing new and exciting developments appearing during the evaluation phase of our newest selections, that’s the exciting part, that’s the part that sets us apart from our competitors.”
Yanchep Springs are at the Subi Farmers Market every Saturday; however their fruit is more wide spread than one would think. Their newest types always go to the farmers markets direct (Subi & Mt Claremont), whereas their mainstream varieties go to the Canning Vale markets. Yanchep Springs are clever in supplying farmers markets with the newest varieties as they get one on one feedback from the customers, which helps with the future breeding. “We believe our customers place great emphasis on freshness and quality, and we do not sell any product unless we’ve grown and harvested it ourselves, that way we ensure the above criteria are met”, says Leasa. But here is the wide spread part, Yanchep Springs sell their peaches and nectarines worldwide. The rights to their peaches and nectarine varieties are sold under the OZ Peach trademark and the blueberries are sold under their Early Blue Trademark. So, that then made me ask why farmers markets? The answer is simple, “ The enjoyment our customers get from eating our fresh fruit. That gives us enormous satisfaction, because as we say the proof is in the eating”.
Green Zebra, Black Krim and Black Russian, are all names of tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes to be exact. Meet Rob and Gloria, they are the team behind Glorob, yes that is their names put together! Glorob Waroona grows hydroponic vine ripened tomatoes, all sorts of wonderful varieties and shapes.
Rob planted is first crop in August 1997 and started harvesting in December of that year. “The crop just kept growing through to January 2006, we then replanted again in August 2009, which is still the crop that we harvest today” says Rob. Farming and growing tomatoes is in Rob’s blood, he grew up on a dairy farm in Cobram Victoria, where they had Italians share farming five to ten acres growing tomatoes for a sauce and soup manufacturer, “it was here that I was first exposed to the tomato farming business” says Rob.
Rob then moved to Western Australia with his wife Gloria in 1966 where he started driving livestock trucks. From here, Gloria and Rob ran several other businesses before Rob secured a position with the Wagerup Alumina Refinery. He worked at the refinery for twenty-one years, it was in 1997 while he was still employed at the refinery that Gloria and Rob started growing tomatoes, which ended up at the Canning Vale Markets until 2006. Rob then went back to driving livestock trucks for eighteen months while his tomatoes were growing, but this time for direct sale at farmers markets around Perth.
When I asked Rob why he found tomatoes so fascinating he tells me that he has often pondered that himself. “I have been fascinated with the concept of hydroponics for a few years prior to growing tomatoes, the irrigation system, the nutrients needing to be perfectly balanced for the plants, and the no weeding all seemed interesting to me. I chose tomatoes because they seemed like an easy crop to grow, they were saleable because most people eat them, I just didn’t realise the large amount of maintenance required for tomato plants back when I first started” laughs Rob.
There is only Gloria and Rob in the business, so Rob does most of the day-to-day activities, which means he spends a lot of time with the tomatoes keeping the plant healthy, strong and productive. Knowing how much of a nice guy Rob is I actually reckon he probably talks to the tomatoes to encourage them to grow. Gloria looks after the other bits and bobs and also runs the stall at the Mt Claremont farmers market, while Rob does Subiaco. They also do the Peel Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.
To grow the hydroponic tomatoes, Glorob uses a system called Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). It does get complicated, but stick with me because it is very interesting. NFT is a closed irrigation system, which has a pump running continuously. This pump recirculates the water with the nutrients added from a collection tank into the gullies, which then eventually drains back to the tank. The nutrient level is checked each day and topped up to a predetermined set point, as is, the pH level. “We grow the tomatoes under cover in a computer controlled greenhouse which endeavors to control temperature and humidity as the best growing environment is 27 degrees and 75% humidity,” says Rob.
The varieties that Glorob grow are amazing. The most popular is the round red tomato, also known as the Table or Gourmet tomato. They source several different varieties from seed companies with the benefit being that the varieties change frequently. “We are now growing some Heirloom varieties,” says Rob. “We grow the Green Zebra, Black Krim, Black Russian and hopefully in the New Year we will harvest the Brown Berry, Yellow Pear, along with Moscatel, Pareso, Tasty and the USA Giant Beefstack”.
When you visit the markets you will pay $7.50/$8.00 per kilo, however you may have to fight off some of Perth’s most well known chefs. Russell Blaikie from the Must Wine Bar uses a mix of the Heirloom for his salad. Scott O’Sullivan from Red Cabbage and Emmanuel Mollois from Choux Café have also been spotted buying Glorob tomatoes. When I asked Rob what he liked most about his business he tells me that it is a very satisfying business, “to grow something from scratch, to watch it grow into a top quality product, then presenting it for sale is rewarding. That coupled with the compliments, customer loyalty and the interaction with the people makes it all worthwhile”. “The Loyalty of our customers is valued most highly and to hear and see them being satisfied with our produce makes us feel proud of our product” says Rob.
So make sure that you pop tomatoes on your shopping list this week, Glorob’s season is short at the Subi Farmers Market, so make the most of it while you can.
I have heard people describe Alexandres Lui-Van-Sheng’s Macaroons as heaven. These colourful bite sized French delights are something of a showstopper. Your eye is automatically drawn to Alex’s market stall, yes it might be because he has one of the most colourful stalls but it is more to do with the fact that the stall screams “artist at work”, that coupled with Alex’s perfect French smile and French accent makes buying a macaroon or two far to tempting.
Meet Alexandres Lui-Van-Sheng from Alexandre’s Macaroons. Alex and his business partner Jacques Saint-Alme have been in business for one year. “When we first started out at markets a year ago nobody knew about macaroons, now they are all over Perth. Our base is in Canning Vale and the parent company’s name is Maison Saint-Honore Pty Ltd, and yes ours are the best” says Alex.
Alex started working with pastry at a very young age with his best friend Jacques at his father’s bakery. Alex’s father is a well-known and respected baker in his country with several bakeries scattered around his homeland. Both Alex and Jacques were born in Reunion Island, which is a French island in the Indian Ocean. From here, Alex moved to La Rochelle where he was able to hone his skills and perfect his baking technique. Alex and Jacques both decided to come to Australia to study four years ago, but their passion for pastry took over. “I have always loved macaroons since the first time I tried them, which is why I decided to specialize in this amazing small biscuits” says Alex.
Alex’s macaroons are as I said above a work of art. They are flawless in their appearance, all perfectly round and perfectly sized. The flavoured ones even have a beautiful patterned swirl on them! “Our best seller at the moment is the Salted Butter Caramel macaroon, but my favourite is the Honey and Thyme, laughs Alex. “We have lots of flavours in our range. We have coffee, chocolate, raspberry, lemon and vanilla, and we then create combinations which we experiment with and trial with our customers”, says Alex. “Oh and the other thing is that all our macaroons are gluten free, which makes it a great sweet treat for everyone”. All the macaroons are cooked with the freshest of ingredients and from talking with Alex there is a whole lot of love that also goes in to these little melt in your mouth delights.
The macaroons sell for $2.00 each, but if pre ordered then they are $1.50 each. The other way to buy them is in a box of six for $10.00. “Not only are they a great treat to take home to the family, but when you buy them in a box it makes a great present because it is so nicely presented” says Alex.
You can find Alex and Jacques macaroons at the Subi Farmers Markets every Saturday morning,. The other markets that you can find them at is Murdoch University Markets on a Thursday, Manning Market and City Farm every Saturday, Poynter Markets every second Saturday and Palmyra Market on a Sunday. When I asked Alex what he loved so much about doing markets he tells me “the best thing about markets is the contact that you have directly with the customers. It is nice to chat with my regular customers every week. Moreover, I can be sure that the consumer is getting the best and freshest of my products”. “Oh, and I love that at the end of the day I can trade macaroons for other traders produce”, laughs Alex.
So, with Alex and Jacques Macaroons being readily available you have no excuse not to buy this fantastic French delight filled with the most superbly soft ganache & buttermilk and it’s perfectly crunchy outer biscuit, and one last thing… while you are there why not try one of Alex’s other French biscuits? He makes Cannele, which is a crepe base biscuit with rum and vanilla, Palet Breton, which is a type of short bread and also a Emeraude Biscuit, which is a pistachio and choc chip cookie…..YUM.
Mushrooms are meat for vegetarians, being a vegetarian I would have to say I agree. Mushrooms are such a great healthy versatile food to eat. Did you know that the humble mushroom contains more protein than most vegetables, and that a 100 gram serving of mushrooms contain more dietary fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread, or that mushrooms contain significant amounts of B-group vitamins. So how can you get your hands on a brown bag full of fresh Portobello field mushrooms or Portobello button mushrooms? Visit Kym and John and their mushroom stall!
Kym and John are a husband and wife team, who voyaged to Australia from Hong Kong in 1973. When you meet Kym and John you will immediately notice that they are very softly spoken, polite and unassuming. But don’t be fooled by this because they are dynamos when selling their mushrooms. They have their Saturday routine down pat, Kym packs the van in the morning with the mushrooms, John then unloads the mushrooms at the market stall then they both go about setting up the stall weighing and bagging the mushrooms ready for sale with ease and accuracy.
When I asked Kym how they got into the mushroom business she tells me that it was John who first started working with mushrooms. John use to go and work on his very good friend’s mushroom farm in the Swan Valley, which was where he learned about the world of mushrooms. Shortly after that, he was asked to run the mushroom stall at the Midland markets, which he did and enjoyed.
“Not long after John started at the Midland markets he suggested that I go and work there too. It was not long after that we decided to buy the business from Johns friend, we bought the scales and equipment we needed and took over”, says Kym. According to Kym it is a great hobby to have, “I love mushrooms but I love my customers more. I have developed such nice relationships with not only the customers but with other market stall operators. It is a joy to get up and sell mushrooms”. This love for people is what sets Kym apart, not only does she strive to supply A-grade mushrooms but she makes it her mission to say to every customer “Hello, how are you”, that is my opening line to everyone. It is all about how you make someone feel. I always smile and start a conversation with those buying mushrooms at my stall”, says Kym. Kym’s desire to engage the public comes from twenty years working in the restaurant industry, were she honed her customer service skills. She now uses that experience and translates it into a recipe for success. Her customers love her and look forward to seeing her each week. “I have customers who bring me gifts”, laughs Kym. “When I was sick a couple of years ago, I had so much love and support from my regular customers, they sent me gifts and cards and couldn’t wait for me to get better”.
Kym and John sell mainly Portobello mushrooms. They have the white button mushroom and the white field mushrooms, which at times can be the size of a dinner plate! The mushrooms are grown at Mushroom Exchange in Casuarina, which is one of the largest producers, packers and marketers of fresh mushrooms in the Southern Hemisphere. They have six growing sites around Australia and produce approximately 370 tonnes a week, or an annual yield of nearly 20 million kilograms of mushrooms! Kym drives out to Casuarina at 5.30am on a Friday morning to collect her fresh mushrooms, from here they go into cold storage and from there are sold at the markets. Kym and John sell the mushrooms in two bag sizes, you can get a small bag which is 400grams or a large bag that weighs half a kilo, this bag will set you back a mere $5.00.
Kym and John have a loyal following at both the markets they attend. On a Saturday you will find them at Subi from 8.00am – 12.00pm and on Sunday at Midland from 7.00am until 3.00pm. They sell out very fast so it is best to get in early; you will also notice that Kym and John will top up your bag with extra mushrooms…why? Because it is just the kind of people they are, generous and thankful to be able to sell their fresh mushrooms to their cherished customers.
Supafresh Baby Leaves
If you are anything like me then you hate standing over the sink washing sandy spinach and lettuce leaves for what seems an eternity, or worse still, crunching sand when you bite into a salad sandwich! Well, those days are over because you are about to save yourself time and sanity.
Meet Troy Cukrov, he is the co – owner of Supafresh Baby Leaves. Supafresh has a great story; it was born because of one persistent wholesaler. Trodan Produce (the parent company) is Western Australia’s largest grower of gourmet lettuce and baby leaf for fresh cut, supermarket retail packs. The persistent wholesaler was looking for a product where the lettuce and baby leaf was washed and bagged, ready for sale to the restaurant industry. So hesitantly, Trodan Produce agreed to a trial production of 700kg of washed and bagged product, this sold out in less than two hours, and as the famous saying goes the rest is history.
Supafresh Baby Leaves is a fourth generation family owned and operated company based in Baldivis in Western Australia, they have two farms which are thirteen kilometers away from each other, both which are perfectly located for optimum lettuce production. Troy tells me that their farms are really well located for all year round continual production, “we are far enough south to avoid the extreme summer heat and dry winds, yet far north enough to avoid the winter chills”. Troy has an impressive background; he studied horticultural science at the University of Western Australia, with particular emphasis on crop production. His honours thesis looked at herbicide use and phytoxicity in commercial crops and in 2003, Troy commenced his doctor of philosophy (PhD) at UWA, looking at sclerotinia management in commercial lettuce crops. Danny Cukrov the other co-owner and has over thirty-five years of growing experience so between them they are a powerful team.
When I visited the farms I was impressed by the shear space and the rows and rows of different varieties of lettuce and baby leaf. I was lucky enough to be early enough to watch the harvesting process, and being a self confessed city slicker was in awe of the seamless and effortless process. Of course, it is very hard work, but boy do they make it look easy. On the particular day I visited they were planting and picking, so I got see how the process starts and how it finishes. I watched as the seeds got injected into the soil and then how once they were ready they were harvested. It was interesting to note that all though the machinery does most of the work there are still staff working in behind the machine making sure that the planting, picking and sorting is faultless.
The farms are very high tech and Troy doesn’t mind telling you. They pride themselves on having the most high tech machinery especially for the washing and bagging of the lettuce and baby leaf. They also have 140 acres of solid set sprinkler production, which ultimately means that they can irrigate large areas quickly especially in the heat of summer. But, here is the best part and the part that I found most impressive; all their lettuce once harvested goes through a triple phase wash system. Yes, it gets washed three times before it gets packed into the pillow pack. The system is very scientific and is monitored every half an hour to ensure the correct level of sterilized water is flushing through the system. From here they use state of the art weigh head technology to ensure all the bags weigh the same.
Supafresh Bay Leaves prides itself on it’s ability to stay ahead of it competitors with the latest technology, a full time food technologist, refrigerated cool rooms, factory and trucks, even the plastic film they use for the bags is special. It is a modified atmosphere packaging material that means it has a selective membrane that allows the degenerative gases produced by product to escape, while retaining beneficial gases! Troy excitedly tells me that he has just purchased another wizz bang state of the art weighing and bagging machine that will assist in further streamlining of the bagging process.
The other thing that sets them apart is that they ensure their distributors are also protecting the product and keeping the cold chain intact. “Our product is only as good as it’s cold chain, it is perishable and needs to be kept at the optimum temperature to ensure freshness and longevity” says Troy.
When you visit the Supafresh Baby Leaves website they even have a mission statement! “We operate with best practice and embrace technology! We work hard! We keep learning and trialing! We grow the best raw product we can! We process it as best we can! Why? Simple…so that we can exceed our customers’ expectations of us”.
So, what can you buy when you visit Supafresh Bay Leaves? Baby Spinach, Baby Cos, Rocket, and Mesculin Salad Mix. You can also buy a range of herbs such as Thyme, Basil, Mint and Fennel. They are at the Subi Farmers Market each Saturday so you can stock up on all you greens for a very reasonable price. So why not pop down to the markets this weekend (you will have to line up as there is always a queue) and try this wonderful fresh product for yourself? If Troy is not at the stall you can meet Alison his wife who is also part of the business and if you ask her she will tell you she works the hardest!
Le Crepe Chocolat
In France the crepe is considered a national dish and at the Subi Farmers Market it is one of the most sort after breakfast treats. Whether you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth you will be able to find a mouth-watering crepe to satisfy your grumbling tummy.
Jeremy Sheldrick a year and seven months ago founded Le Crepe Chocolat. When I asked him if he had an affiliation with French food his answer is well rather matter of fact! “Yeah I think I do. When I travelled to Paris I loved the crepe cafes and the vibe that they created. I think it is a visual thing, people love being able to watch the crepe being made, it all adds to the experience”. Jeremy also mentions that the crepe shop at Freo was always a big inspiration and he wanted to be a part of that. He met a French lady and set up a stall in the Fremantle Markets, but after a short while realised that he wanted to be out on his own, making his own speciality crepes.
Le Crepe Chocolat has it’s own quirkiness that seems contagious. When you come down to visit the staff including Jeremy have painted on moustaches and wear black and white stripped tops, which of course adds to the visual aesthetics of the French crepe making process. They take this crepe making business seriously, with specially designed Crepe pans that took Jeremy over a year to find and then have fabricated. “It took me ages to find exactly what I wanted and I needed to cook the crepes perfectly, in the end I had them made from milled steel at a laser cutting shop. It is a perfectly round disc that works on a gas system,” says Jeremy. Jeremy also tells me that the gas flame makes cooking the crepe a lot harder, mainly because you need to control the temperature a lot more than with an electric crepe pan. “There is an art to getting it right and it takes a lot of practice. When I first started I would practice at home, being self taught meant I had to work a lot harder at perfecting the spreading technique, this is when you spread the mixture across the crepe pan evenly. My first attempt was horrible, but after six or eight attempts I had it down pat” says Jeremy.
Le Crepe Chocolat is a well-oiled machine. From time to time it is a family affair with his Mum helping him out, if not, you will find one of Jeremy’s friends bearing the famous moustache. Le Crepe Chocolat can produce a crepe in under a minute if you are the first customer of the day! If not you will need to wait about ten minutes for the French delight. The whole process is fascinating because the crepe mixture is measured and poured onto the plate; from here it is spread using a flat spatula, then perfectly cooked. It is then flipped and the contents piled in, then it is folded in the most precise why. The mixture is made from unbleached flour, eggs and milk. Jeremy tells me his secret to a perfect mixture is extra milk. “My mixture is a lot more milky than most and it doesn’t have any sugar which a lot of them do. I find that the sugar makes them tough to eat, I would prefer them to be soft and fluffy”.
Jeremy is a jack-of-all-trades, not only does he own and manage Le Crepe Chocolat but he also has a dance business. Yes, it does seem a strange fit but knowing Jeremy and his quirky personality it seems to work and as he said he is doing two things that he is very passionate about. He has studied Yoga for over seventeen years,performed in bands and danced as a solo experimentalist. He also has vast experience in the eastern martial arts of Qi Gong and Tai Chi. His dance business is called Yoga Boogie, a mix of yoga and dances which only emphasis Jeremy’s quirky personality. This business keeps him busy during the week with classes being held all over the Perth Metro area. He assures me that the classes are a great way to have fun and stay fit. I guess it would be a good way to justify eating a beautiful banana, chocolate and coconut crepe on a Saturday morning!
But lets get back to the important part…Le Crepe Chocolat has various crepes to choose from. There are too many to mention but they all taste great and you can customise them if you want. Some of the most popular are the Mushroom Crepe, Ham, Cheese and Tomato Crepe, the Lemon and Sugar and his banana crepe. A small crepe will set you back $4.00, a large is $6.00 and if you choose one of the speciality crepes that will set back $10.00.
I am going to leave the last word up to the food blogger who blogged so highly of Le Crepe Chocolat. “Today’s crepe was delicious – it was thick and there was plenty of it. Mum & I shared the special butter nutmeg apple crepe… We also sampled the cinnamon and sugar crepe, which tasted just like a hot sugar coated cinnamon donut (yum!)”.
High Mountain Tea Co
We can all say that we have had a cup of tea before, but not many of us can say that we have experienced tea from the land in which tea was born, yes the very place that over two thousand years ago the ancient Chinese people brewed their first cup. High Mountain Tea is the real deal, tea that is of the highest quality, truly reflecting the highest peaks it has come from.
High Mountain Tea was started two years ago by Simon Attenborough, a self confessed lover of tea. His passion for tea started over twenty years ago when he travelled extensively around the world but his interest in the ‘Silk Road’ landed him in China. It was here that he discovered true tea. Surrounded by a culture that’s main pastime is drinking tea meant that Simon was able to nurture his interest. A decade later he decided to head back to China where he lived in the Southern Anhui Province, which is the most well known tea growing area in China, known as, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) which is at the very heart of the “Green Tea Triangle”. It is here that he becomes good friends with China’s most prominent tea producers and started to learn about the complex world of tea.
Simon tells me that tea was really just a hobby for him; it was not until his travels back to Australia where he would bring different varieties of tea for friends and family that he realised there was a market for high quality tea. “I would end up ringing my friends, the tea producers in China and asking them to send over more tea. It was shortly after that, that I decided I could make a business out of it” says Simon. Although it is a very small niche market in Perth, Simon tells me that the demand for top shelf tea is increasing and people are becoming aware of what high quality tea really tastes like. I can vouch that once you try this tea everything else will taste mediocre in comparison. The flavour that comes from this tea is absolutely amazing.
The other significant motivation behind High Mountain Tea is that they are dedicated to promoting the health benefits of Chinese tea. The ancient Chinese have known for centuries that to maximise ones health, particular quality tea varieties can be consumed at certain times of the year, both for curative and preventative measures. It is observed that the different varieties of tea each relate to the vectors of body energy that comes with weather and environmental conditions. It is for this reason and Simon’s peace of mind, that each year he travels to China at the start of the spring season to oversee the whole process. Simon will taste over a hundred varieties of tea before he will decide on which ones he will bring home. “I watch the whole process from start to finish. It is important for me to know that the end product is of the highest quality possible and that it meets the highest grade. There is sometimes some ‘funny business’ that goes on during the tea making process, so to ensure nothing happens to my batches I like to be there, it is ultimately so I can guarantee my customers the best high quality tea”.
This whole tea making business is actually really complex. It all comes down to the fact that the tea must be picked at exactly the right time, processed quickly and packaged efficiently. Simon gives me an example saying that with green or white tea the first flush must be picked and processed super fast so that it does not oxidize and ferment, ruining the tea. “This means that we have to have really experienced people on the team” says Simon. The interesting fact that Simon tells me is that 50% – 60% of his teas are organic. This is because the higher up the mountain, higher the altitude, which means the air is purer and not polluted and the soil is un-tampered and rich in nutrients. This means that the soils have not had any fertilizers or pesticides sprayed and because there is less air no bugs can survive, hence the organic status of the tea. I asked Simon how long it takes to have his tea processed from woe to go, he tells me that it takes three months from his initial trip over to the tea arriving at his front door. “It goes through strict quarantine in China; they are very stringent on what gets exported. Then of course it goes through Australian quarantine”.
At High Mountain Tea they have quality tea for all seasons of the year; they will also assist in your understanding of why and when you should drink quality tea. High Mountain tea has several varieties of tea that all have their own medicinal properties. They have Oolong Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Green Tea and Jasmine Tea, with names such as Iron Goddess and Dragon Well, all names that are the translations of the Chinese word. You can buy High Mountain Tea from the Subi Farmers Market every Saturday, if you can’t make it down to the markets they also have a shop located in East Fremantle at the Chinese Medical Centre and their tea is available at sixteen stockists around Perth, they also have a market stall on a Sunday at the Growers Green Market.
I have kept the best part till last; their tea can be re-infused a minimum three times. So no more throwing tea leaves away after the one use. High Mountain Tea once open can also last up to one year in the correct storage and two years if you don’t open it.
What is not to love about this product, it tastes great, it has health benefits galore and it can re-infused so you get the most out of the tea!
Andersen Cacao Creations & Halka B. Pristine Organic Skin Care
Andersen Cacao Creations and HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care would seem to most, a strange business combination, but not for Karoline, Allan and Hali. Combined they are one powerful team! Andersen’s Cacao Creations started last June and are the makers of gourmet raw organic chocolates. Their 75 % raw organic chocolates are made from three simple base ingredients; cacao powder, cacao butter and agave syrup. For those who are not familiar with ‘cacao bean’ it is the most chemically complex food in the world with it’s benefits far superior to any other food. For example it has more antioxidants than any other food. It is also what all chocolate is made from, the difference being, that Andersen Cacao Creations uses it in its purest form, just like the Native Americans used it centuries ago.
Karoline and Allan immigrated to Australia seven years ago from Denmark where Allan was an Organic Farmer. Both are passionate about organic and raw foods, which is one of the reasons why they started their chocolate business. They could not have chosen a better super food to work with. “It is about bringing awareness to people that what you eat directly affects your mind and body. Eating healthy chocolate made from cacao gives your body maximum nutritional benefit while also allowing yourself to indulge in a healthy enjoyable food”.
From here HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care was born. Karoline and Hali have been friends for many years. Both are Psychologists and practicing Psychotherapists, which explains where their passion comes from to educate people on the benefits that their respective business can bring to the mind. HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care has a range of skincare that uses raw cold-pressed oils, organic oil butters and precious plants in the most natural and ethical way to maintain their inner vitality and life-force. All the oils sourced for this skincare range are imported from Africa, South America, Europe and Morocco – all are fair trade oils. “I am not in the business of cosmetics, I am in the business of Skin Health”, says Hali. “It is about understanding that everything you put onto your skin enters your bloodstream, which then directly affects your whole body, including your mind”. It is extremely evident when talking with Karoline and Hali that their background in psychology directly affects both businesses. Their knowledge in human behavior is what has driven them to create niche products that aid and assist the body and mind.
These two businesses really do compliment each other so well. It is obvious throughout the interview that Karoline, Allan & Hali have the same beliefs and values about the way they go about business. They are ethically responsible and strive to have a completely sustainable business. Both businesses work on the Cradle-to-Cradle principal, which means that they strive to know their products life-cycle, where it comes from, how it is manufactured right down to it’s packaging. Basically it is tracking the sustainable footprint that the product creates. By knowing this, they are able to keep the harmony of their businesses in sync with the greater environment, minimising their industrial footprint on the world.
Anderson Cacao Creations produce all their chocolates fresh each week; well Allan is actually the chocolate maker. He can make up to 500 chocolates in a week. They have a few different varieties, such as Love Bite, Goji Berry and Chili & Ginger and Rose petal especially for the women! They have also started to do a chocolate bar that is new to the range. A piece of chocolate will cost you $2.00 and they offer packs, for example three chocolates for $5.50 or six for $10.00. The bars cost $4.00 each or two for $7.00. The other service that Andersen Cacao Creations offers is a “how to make your own raw chocolate” workshop. Yes that’s right, you can sign up and Allan will show you how it is done. It is a two-hour class in Fremantle and really who wouldn’t want to know how to make the healthiest tastiest treat on the earth!
As for HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care you will be able to buy a range of cleansers, toners, moisturisers, body butters and serums, all based on exquisite oils such as Argan and Tamanu, with the added bonus that they are all vegan. You can even buy a Cacao Argan Mask – yes it is the same ingredient that the chocolate is made from! HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care even does a ‘Men’s’ range. The prices range for HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care but an example is a 100ml jar of Cacao Shea Coconut Butter with Sandalwood is $28.00. The best thing is that these products are made in small batches so they are always at their freshest.
You will find both these little gems at the same stall at the markets. They are with us each week, but if you cant make it down then both have online shops in which you can place an order, simply visit their websites. So why not come down and have a chat with Karoline, Allan and Hali and see for yourself these amazing products in action and change your life for the better. As the HALKA B. Pristine Organic Skin Care website says, “ We are turning daily skin care into a satisfying experience for your skin. It’s an active intelligent skin food – pure, raw and powerful”. Yes I know it wouldn’t be fair if I let Hali have the last word so as Andersen Cacao Creations website says “Come and try this powerful life force indulgence, it is guilt free chocolate!”
Before I start I need to set the scene…do you remember the animated movie Barnyard or even Animal Farm? The movies where all the animals are running a complete muck around the house – ruling the roost! Well that is the impression I got when I spoke with Norma from Barkday Paw-ty. In between answering my questions she stops and yells, “Sam stop that”, then goes onto tell me Sam is the new kid on the block, he is an eight week old lamb still finding his feet. Norma then goes onto explain the she also has five sheep, two goats, eight ducks, two dogs, rabbits and a goose with attitude. “Oh and the goats were supposed to be miniature except they didn’t stop growing” laughs Norma. See doesn’t it seem like it is straight out of one of those Disney animations!
Barkday Paw-ty is a play on the words Birthday Party, but here is the twist, it is purely a business dedicated to celebrating your pets’ special day. Barkday Paw-ty is Norma and her daughter Alysia’s way of sharing with the world what they have done for years and years. They have spent many days baking cakes and goodies for their animals or friend’s pets’ birthdays, so it was a natural progression to go into business together doing something they both adore. Making special treats for animals is a far cry from Norma’s previous career, however her accountancy background will no doubt come in handy with running this soon to be successful business. I say soon because they are only one month old, Barkday Paw-ty had their first day of business at the Subi Farmers Market last month.
When I asked Norma why she loved animals so much she tells me “I grew up around animals, I learnt to walk holding the tail of a flat coated retriever, we didn’t have walkers in those days. My parents loved animals and so I guess I was going to as well”. “I went on to compete and train Gundogs, so dogs have always been in my life”. I ask if Alysia also has this love for animals in her blood and of course the answer is yes. Norma tells me that she would take Alysia to the Royal Show when she was competing, it was here that Alysia had her photos taken for the West Australian, asleep inside a dog crate with their golden retriever and as Norma said “It is her 5 minutes of fame”!
Norma and Alysia have created all the recipes themselves from years of testing and experimenting. Norma laughs and says “ I had better get the recipes right pretty soon, because I am getting some really fat pets”. Her pets are all willing guinea pigs especially her golden retriever “Maverick” who according to Norma will eat everything. “The goats and sheep on the other hand are actually quite selective” says Norma. I laugh because I can just see these animals all dressed in their party hats digging into a nice cupcake then exchanging notes! The ladies have a nice routine going with Norma doing all the baking on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, ready for Alysia to come in and decorate them all on the Friday, apparently Alysia is the creative one.
Barkday Paw-ty makes all sorts of treats. What is so novel about it is that they make them in to the appropriate shape for the animal, for example if the treat is for a rabbit then they are carrot shaped biscuits, if it is for a cat then they are fish shaped biscuits. Of course, if you are lucky enough to be a dog you can have a paw print lollypop or maybe a muffin in the shape of a bone! Really it is just so cute when you see the dog sitting patiently at the front of the stall, while it’s owner buys their treat. What is even more adorable is Caddy, the Barkday Paw-ty mascot. Caddy is a real golden retriever who wears a party hat and sits ever so politely inside the stall waiting for his fellow friends to stop by for a muffin and bowl of water.
Barkday Paw-ty treats are very reasonably priced. For example a large paw print lollypop will cost you $2.50 and small is $1.50. Barkday Paw-ty takes their parties seriously and offers many services to make your pet’s day special. You can order your treats via the phone, or in person at the SFM every weekend. Once the website is up and running you will also be able to order on-line. The other great thing is if you only want to have a party for you and your pet (instead of a big bash with all their friends) you can buy a “Party in a Bag” which contains three treats, two party hats and the plates, serviettes and a balloon! You can even buy your pet a Piñata filled with treats.
“A man’s best friend is his dog”, we have all heard this quote, but for some it rings truer than others. Meet Joan Ketting Olivier, she is the founder of Barker’s Treats, which specialise in all natural dog cookies.
Barker’s Treats started in 2009 and was born from Joan’s love of dogs from a very young age. Joan is one of those people that you meet that has that unmistakable kindred spirit with the animal world, when she speaks about her business you can hear the passion flood down the phone. “This business for me is payback to all those dogs out there that are such loving and loyal companions to their owners. They have such a unconditional and faithful love and that’s what makes me love my work. I love knowing that I am contributing to making a dogs life good, all dogs deserve a good life” says Joan. Joan tells me that she has always loved to bake; once her children had grown up and sadly her husband passed away she decided she needed to dedicate her life to something she truly believed in. She had been lucky enough in her life to have the unwavering love from her dog when she needed it most; consequently she wanted to repay the favour, which meant she had found her calling.
Barker’s Treats brings to the dog food industry a 100% natural cookie that uses no artificial flavours, salts, sugar, preservatives or additives. Joan tells me that she discovered that the supermarkets and the general dog food market failed to provide ‘healthy’ treats. “Most of the treats available for dogs are very high in fat, therefore they are not very good for dogs to eat all the time, Barker’s Treats simply fills this gap in the market and provides four different flavours of cookies that your dog will love,” says Joan. “I was lucky that when I started the business my beautiful old dog Rosie would be my guinea pig, mind you she was not a very good guide because she ate anything I put in front of her” laughs Joan. However, with the little help that the CEO (aka Rosie) did give Joan she developed four cookie flavours; Peanut Butter, Cheese Lovers, Carob Chip and Minty Mint Bones. I am told that the most popular is in fact the Cheese Lovers Cookie, I would of laid money on it being the Peanut Butter Cookie, but then again I am a massive fan of peanut butter! Joan tells me that whenever she is cooking the Peanut Butter – yes she actually makes the actual peanut butter, her friends comment on it smelling delicious, a pretty good sign that the pooches will love it too.
Joan bakes all the biscuits herself from scratch, fresh each week for the markets, which is no mean feat given that equates to about ten to fifteen kilos of each type of biscuit. “It takes me about five to six hours to bake the cookies and they are all made with that special ingredient which is love” says Joan. She has a quiet the system in place where Monday to Thursday she bakes and each day is dedicated to one of the four flavours. Friday is then spent delivering the packets to the markets and getting organised for what is a busy weekend making new best friends and spoiling pooches. Barker’s Treats attends three markets around Perth, you can find them at the Manning Farmers Market, Fremantle Market and of course the Subi Farmers Market. They have two sizes available to buy, the small bag is $5.00 and the large bag is $7.00. The other good thing is that you can order via email and Joan will even deliver if you are close by, so if you cant get to the markets you needn’t worry about depriving your pooch of a special natural treat on the weekend!
Joan’s business has a few helpers, mainly her two daughters Geraldine and Fredericka who look after Subiaco and Fremantle, a good friend looks after Manning for her. You will see Joan around from time to time as she tries to get to each market on a regular basis to catch up with her furry friends and their owners. “I have lots of owners who come each week, they are very loyal which is great”. Joan’s love for what she does is evident throughout the whole business and I get the feeling that Barker’s Treat really is a humble business chipping away at bringing healthy dog treats to man’s best friend – what’s not to love about that!
Denis Waitley once said “As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time”.
This quote is so perfectly suited to the team that makes up Marcelita’s Empanadas. Why? Because Matt and Marcela have gotten to the place they are today through sheer persistence. Marcelita’s Empanadas is a moving market stall born from a love and desire to bring something new to Perth, they specialize in traditional Colombian Empanadas, Arroz con Leche and Arepa.
Persistence is nothing new to either Matt or Marcela. Marcela was determined to learn English, so two and a half years ago she moved to Perth from her native country of Colombia. She arrived here barely knowing the language and by herself, her persistence to learn English is what brought her to Perth and Matt’s persistence in wooing Marcela is now why they today are husband and wife. Matt tells me that he used to visit the Spanish Flavours in Wembley on a regular basis, one day he walked in and Marcela was behind the counter. He decided that this shop had more to offer than just beautiful ham, “I thought ohhh hello and from that moment I found any excuse to go in there, I pulled a few cheesy moves and gave my details about three or four times but it didn’t work. It was not until I pitched a story to SPICE Magazine, who I was writing for at the time, that I had a sound reason to have to be in the shop, so I wrote the article and it went to print and that still didn’t work! Well not until two months later when she eventually read it and sent a text to say it was a great article and well as they say, the rest is history!” Matt laughs when I point out how persistent he was and agrees when I suggest that perhaps his love of food finally paid off.
Marcelita’s Empanadas is what most would say is a ‘hobby’ for Matt and Marcela. Matt’s day job is an IT consultant and Marcela works at the International College. The business really came to fruition because Matt has a passion for all things food, which is reflected in his other business Abstract Gourmet – Matt’s view of the food world as seen through a greasy window. His passion for food and Marcela’s Colombian background meant they both could fulfill a desire to deliver authentic, sensational food to the people of Perth, successfully filling a gap in Perth’s food repertoire. They both bring an amazing amount of enthusiasm to the food industry delivering mouth-watering puffs of delight, so it wont be long before this is much more than just a hobby.
Their main offering is the Empanada; they have three flavours in their range. A traditional Colombian Beef, Matt’s creation which is the Pork & Lime and Marcela’s favourite which is the potato or Parroquianos, they are her favourite because it is an old Colombian tradition that the ladies would make these to sell outside church on a Sunday. The Empanadas are served with a condiment of your choice, either a Guacamole sauce or a traditional Aji Pique sauce, which is made from chilli, vinegar, coriander and onion, both are beautiful and essential to the empanada experience. The other offering is the traditional Colombian Arroz con Leche, which is a Rice Pudding served with Arequipe, which is caramel milk, this dish is a perfect breakfast treat. The great thing about the Empanadas is that they ‘roll fresh’ when you order, so you get to watch how to make an empanada. When I asked Matt about this, he tells me that empanadas are made from maize flour which does not have gluten, consequently it does not have the elasticity that other flours have, this means it is much more delicate. In order to not compromise on the product or it’s consistency they choose to make it on the spot, which means it may take a few more minutes…but it is worth it, so you wont mind! These little puffs of delight will set you back $10.00, that gets you three plus your choice of sauce or you can buy them separately for $3.00 each. Now before you do the math on that, the sauce costs $1.50 so it is cheaper to get the deal package!
Marcelita’s Empanadas is only at the markets for the rest of August, but they pop up at events around town on a regular basis. You would have seen them at The Twilight Hawker Market and O-Day; they also do the Mondo Markets. For more information on where Marcelita’s Empanadas will pop up visit their facebook page or for Abstract Gourmet, click here for the website.
As Marcela would say Super chevere – enjoy your meal!
The Little Bakery
Ever seen a street performer standing there seamlessly juggling multiple brightly coloured balls? Well picture that while you read this interview because that is what Sarah and Sophie do on a daily basis with their booming cupcake business.
The Little Bakery has recently turned one; actually they are one year and fifty-five days old! From the outside you would never know that The Little Bakery was such a young a business, especially given that some of Perth’s most well known cafes sell their cupcakes. If you go onto Facebook The Little Bakery describes itself as a small cake company that bakes delicious cupcakes from scratch each day. Using the finest ingredients and seasonal produce, The Little Bakery creates simple and satisfying cupcakes that won’t disappoint!
When I asked Sarah how they got into the cupcake business, she tells me that they both lived in London for six years, Sarah working in her chosen field of Occupational Therapy and Sophie working in Marketing for Marks and Spencer. Once they had returned to Perth they decided that they would seriously start looking into starting their own business. They debated for a while what would be the best business to have that could also work around that fact that both of them had children and family to juggle. In the end it was decided that Perth was lacking what they thought were nice cupcakes. “ All the cupcakes seemed to be over the top, the kind where your kids would lick off all the icing and would be left with an average cake. In London we had some absolutely gorgeous cupcake shops that we used to visit, so it was from those businesses we drew inspiration and decided to take the plunge into making our own” says Sarah. The prefect time arose when Sarah finished her work contract, the only problem was, Sophie had a six month old baby and here’s were the juggling part comes in! Sarah and Sophie devised a business plan that would allow both of them to work around their family commitments and still produce stunning cupcakes, as well as, meet their order deadlines. No mean feat!
The Little Bakery supplies five cafes throughout Perth. Elixir Coffee in Nedlands was the first business to order what is now the famous Red Velvet cupcake. It was not long before Vans Café, Gill St Café and George St Merchants Café in East Fremantle jumped on board. The Little Bakery produces an astounding amount of cupcakes in a week, five hundred and four to be exact and that is just to the cafes, it doesn’t include the Subi Farmers Market or the private function orders they get! They deliver to their cafes three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning), when I asked Sarah how her and Sophie manage it all she says, “I get up at 5.00am and start baking, I have a refined system now. From here my husband takes over and does the deliveries around 7.30am before he goes to work, that then gives me time to get the kids ready for school, then Sophie comes over with all the bits and pieces she has done and we go from there”. See I told you it was about keeping those coloured balls in the air!
The Little Bakery has six varieties of cupcakes, the two most popular being, the red velvet cupcake and the organic carrot cake cupcake. They also do a range of slices and what is called a Woofie Pie – a chocolate cake delight. Their cupcakes sell for $3.50each at the SFM, if one is not enough you can buy a dozen cupcakes for $42. They also do these cute little boxes with smaller cupcakes in them, for a half a dozen it costs $10.00 and if you want a bag of Woffie Pies they are four for $8.00. The Little Bakery is at the Subi Farmers Market every fortnight, however luck happens that they are at the markets al little more often at the moment, so you can come down and see what you have been missing out on.
The other thing that I was dying to know was being sisters how they found being in business? I only asked because whenever I see them at the markets they always look engrossed in secret squirrel business. Sarah laughs and says “We are completely different when it comes to the baking side. I could bake in my wedding dress and still be able to get to the church without a drop of icing on me. Sophie on the other hand is usually covered head to toe in icing; I have to stop myself from cleaning up around her! But you know what on the business side we are on exactly the same page”.
I will leave the final word up to Anne Marie Leonard, who posted this review on The Little Bakery’s Facebook page. “Hi there, we had the most fantastic cupcakes at your stall at Perth train station, they were the most delicious, melt in the mouth cupcakes ever! Where can we get some more”?
Food Well Thought
Alice is the proud founder of Food Well Thought. This business is one of the newer additions to the markets and has proven already to be a huge success. Food Well Thought is a ‘sustainable food business’. I can hear you asking what is a sustainable food business? Well for that I need to rewind and give you some history on Alice, sit back and relax because it is quite a story!
Alice has loved food since a very small age. That love pushed her desire to become a commercial chef. She completed her wine making studies in Adelaide and has worked as a winemaker in the famous vineyards of McLarenVale, Margaret River and France. From there she left the wine-making industry to work in Tonga on a AusAID project and well this is where the fun begins! While in Tonga, Alice spent a year writing recipes and conducting cooking demonstrations with the Tongan women. The aim of this was to try and introduce more fruit and veg into the Tongan family diet and this is where the penny dropped for Alice, she realised that her passion for good quality fresh food was more than just a hunger pain.
Once Alice returned to Australia she lived in Melbourne, where she worked with top-end boutique caterers, which no doubt is why as part of Food Well Thought she provides ‘niche’ catering for those who want that intimate, social, soul food experience. But, here is the most important and significant part of the story – Alice joined the Yaubula Organisation, for those who like myself had not heard of this organisation it is a Sustainable Development Project. A community food movement based at the St Kilda Eco Centre. It is here that Alice initiated a cooking project called ‘Fossiling Foods’, which was based around the socially cohesive benefits of community cooking and the importance of eating fresh, locally grown food. Her passion for food and her passion to connect people with affordable food meant it was only natural for her to launch Food Well Thought “A huge part of my passion for food comes from the social unity and joy that comes from good food well thought. Inspiring and delicious creations are what Food Well Thought is all about 100% natural, creative whole foods, made with love”.
And that is what brings us to where we are today! Food Well Thought brings to the SFM healthy, natural, gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, low sugar products that taste amazing, where she can she also tries to uses all organic ingredients.Some of the delights that you will find at this stall are; warm breakfast crumble (spiced apple compote topped with granola and natural yoghurt), a rustic Bircher with yoghurt, a trail mix and home made wholegrain muesli bars with flavours like date, orange, dandelion and coconut. Alice also makes some of the most amazing chutneys, dips and seasonal preserves. Alice tells me that what she wants most out of her business is to be able to provide people with healthy snacks. “Food that has multiple meanings, both sustainable and environmentally responsible, all the while integrating seasonal produce”.
Not only does Alice surround herself with beautiful produce, but she has also nailed it with her choice of staff. If Alice is not at the stall when you visit, you can say hello to Sarah, her right hand. “Sarah helps me out, we get on like a house on fire. Our businesses really compliment each other, Sarah has a corporate health business so that sits nicely with my healthy food business” says Alice.
Food Well Thought is only available at the moment at the SFM, I say for now because Alice tells me that soon she will be in some of Perth’s best cafes. Why you ask? Because Alice has a pet hate – she loves her coffee but hates that you can never buy a healthy snack to go with it. So Alice is going to be the girl who provides Perth’s coffee drinkers with a healthy nutty slice! So you better get in quick to be one of the first to experience this worldly soul food.
Susan Goddard is perfectly suited to the candle making industry. Think calm, humble, radiant and soft, this best describes Susan. Her personality is so relaxed and she is softly spoken that I begin to think that maybe I should get into the business of candle making because it might be really good for my health!
Formally from the United States, Susan arrived in Perth two and half years ago, following her husband, who works with the Gorgon Project. Susan’s background is in web design and programming, which seems a far cry to her modest candle business. When I asked Susan how she got into making candles she tells me it was rather accidental. “When I moved from the U.S I brought with me a timber wick candle, which I used to light in the house. My neighbour commented on how lovely it was and so when I headed back to the U.S I brought her one back. It was then that she said to me I wonder how hard it would be to make these and well ‘me being me’ and liking to know how things work, I decided to investigate it further”. Susan goes on to tell me that during her research she realised that she could get the timber wicks, wax and the candle fragrances and it was at this point she decided to start making candles herself. She started small; mainly making gifts for her friends and family and from there the business evolved into what it is today – a thriving local business.
Susan’s business has a fitting name “Subi Scents”, when I asked why she chose the name, Susan said that she really wanted her product to reflect the local area that she lived and wanted people buying her product to know that it was made locally in Subiaco and not mass produced overseas or on the East Coast. “ I love Subiaco, it has such a nice community feel, people are friendly and I liked the idea of having a ’community’ project” says Susan. This is one of the reasons why Susan has a stall at the SFM, because it is a local Subiaco business and that is one of the reasons the markets exists, to help local business and create a flow on effect to the area.
Subi Scents do not have regular everyday candles, there is actually quite a science behind how they are made and according to Susan because they are ‘timber wick’ candles they require a lot more fussing over than the ‘cord wick’ candle. A batch of candles can take a few hours to make and Susan tells me the art is in sizing the wick. Apparently it has to be specifically sized for the type of wax and even the type of fragrance she is using. If it burns to hot it can become a fire hazard, if it burns to low then it means your candle won’t create a wax pool and it wont burn. The timber wick is also the more sophisticated option, it’s best asset being that it makes that lovely crackling sound when it burns, which adds to the candle burning experience, it’s down side is that it is a little more expensive, which is reflected in the price. Because of this Susan is in the process of making candles with the cord wick in the hope it will produce a more economical candle, but still have the high quality that her original candles have and her customers expect. The other unique element is that Subi Scents use only ‘soy’ wax. Susan tells me “soy wax comes from a renewable resource – soybeans. When it burns as a candle it burns more slowly, at a cooler temperature and will not blacken your container with dark soot”. Susan goes on to say that to get the scent in her candles she uses fragrance oils; the reason for this is their excellent compatibility with soy wax. “We do know that a lot of people prefer the essential oils in candles so we are currently in the process creating a separate line of candles that use essential oils. The new Essential Collection will be of the same standard using only soy wax, essential oils and the wick, no other ingredients will be added”.
Subi Scents has a massive range of candles with all sorts of scents, sizes and shapes. They have a tea light, which is $1.00, and a Maxi light, which is $3.00. In addition they do candles in gorgeous glass containers. The small is $10, the medium is $20 and the large is $26.00. The large candles will burn for 70 – 100 hours. The newest addition to the Subi Scents range is the ‘Organic Rubber Ducky Soap’ made from organic soap base, scented with French lavender and chamomile essential oil and topped with a yellow rubber ducky, which retails for $12.00. It is perfect for the kids and even comes in a free gift box!
You can buy a candle from Subi Scents at the SFM on a fortnightly basis or if you want you can order online at Subi Scents.
You can catch Susan this week at the markets and between you and me I recommend the Yazu & Bamboo Scented candle – it is a winner!
The Wild One
“The Wild One” is seven weeks old. In business terms they are merely old enough to be walking, but these girls are running! The training wheels are off and they are going full steam ahead in what promises to be an amazing business. What makes this so unbelievable is that the girls behind this new born business are only 20 years old.
Meet Michelle Hughes & Una Alagic, they are best friends from way back, meeting in year nine at Aranmore Catholic College. Both share the same passion and flare for all things raw, organic and fresh. The Wild One specialises in raw foods, so think Goji berries, seeds, nuts, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables as the main basis for all their recipes, combine that with Michelle’s many hours of experimenting and research and you have some of the most delicious food you will ever eat. When I asked Michelle how she got into the raw food industry she explains that as a professional model and spending three years abroad, meant she had to find foods that her body could handle without making her put on weight. “The modelling industry is strict on our bodies, but I wanted to maintain a healthy weight and be a healthy person”. “In Sydney raw foods were very accessible so I was able to eat a lot of raw salads, but when I moved to Auckland it was much harder to buy pre prepared raw foods and fresh produce was much harder to come by. So I started experimenting making my own raw food recipes and from there I haven’t looked back,” says Michelle.
When Michelle got back from her travels she started making her ‘seeded bread’ (now famous at the Markets) to which her Mum said she should sell to the food industry and well as they say the rest is history! The Wild One was born. The girls are two peas in a pod, when they first came to the Subi Farmers Market they were bursting with energy and ideas and had enthusiasm and confidence by the bucket load; seven weeks on and they are even more confident and enthusiastic. What makes the girls such a good team is that Michelle has the knowledge of raw foods and it’s benefits and is the one behind the “making” of the food. That is coupled with Una’s skills of being the entrepreneurial one, mainly because she is studying a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies, Commerce & Marketing at UWA and this results in their recipe for success. With Una at the helm for their marketing it makes sense as to why each week they come dressed in matching colours and matching lipstick, we once had a conversation that the stall had to look as good as the food tasted!
The Wild One has a few staple product lines that you can expect to find when you come to the markets. The seeded bread is Michelle’s specialty and is based on millet, chai seed and turmeric, this bread goes perfectly with Una’s mums Advar Sauce – the combination is absolutely amazing. They also have raw salads with toppings, the salads change each week but the toppings remain the same. You can get ‘sprinkles’, which is a mixture of goji, linseed and sesame seeds, Moroccan Nuts, a Guacamole and also a nut spread. The Wild One also makes a raw superfood blissball, which comes in a variety of flavours, but my favourite are the choc crunch and the cashew and goji berry. They also have a range of savoury bites, which changes each week; this weekend it will be a satay bite! There is also Una’s mum’s famous pumpkin soup, which really is something else. Lastly, for all of you with a sweet tooth, do not miss their mouth watering chai brownie and raw cakes, this week look out for the lemon and coconut cake. In winter they also offer a hot carob drink, which I am told, is beautiful. The great thing about this business is that they keep experimenting with new recipes so each week they can bring to you fresh raw foods that are completely natural with no hidden additives or preservatives. As Michelle says “ I am passionate about making this food accessible to everyone”
Although The Wild One are new to the food game, they have their sights set high. Michelle tells me that eventually they would love to open a cafe that is dedicated to raw food, “a cafe that is a great place to hang out and an even better place to eat”. They also plan to run cooking classes in the future so that people can learn how to make their own raw foods. In the meantime you can check them out each Saturday at the SFM and they will be popping up around town at other foodie events in the near future!
You know what I love about the stallholders at Subi Farmers Market, they are all such interesting characters and they all seem to be jacks-of-all-trades. Take for example Tony; he is the owner of the “Bratwurst Bar”, one of the most popular stalls at the markets. I am not joking you should see the queue for one of his famous Bratwursts – even when it’s pouring with rain, people are all still there waiting patiently with their umbrellas up and raincoats on, it is not unusual for the line to snake around the corner! But, I digress from my original “jacks-of-all-trades” comment. I say this because Tony started the Bratwurst Bar eight years ago and prior to this he was the Marketing and Operations Manager for a large International Auction company. Tony was also heavily involved in the music scene where he organised the booking and management of bands and special events around town. In the end though his passion for food won out and he now concentrates most of his energies on the Bratwurst Bar.
One would assume that to be involved with bratwurst, one would have to be German or perhaps have origins in Germany, but Tony doesn’t, which makes this story all the more successful. When I asked him why bratwurst he said that since a very young age he has always loved food and is a self taught cook. “It was over a coffee with a friend who is a small goods supplier, that the idea of the Bratwurst Bar was born” says Tony. “I used to work with a hotel booking their music and they wanted to do an Oktoberfest, after much liaison the idea came to fruition and that was the first time the Bratwurst Bar opened”. Since then Tony has not looked back and business has been going from strength to strength. He originally opened at the Fremantle Markets, where he operates three days a week – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He then joined the Subi Farmers Market in January 2010 and has been an integral member of the “Foodie” corner.
The Bratwurst Bar uses only the best local suppliers. Their bratwurst sausage is an authentic bratwurst, but it has no artificial flavours or preservatives and contains no gluten, which is its best asset as there are not many sausages around that are gluten free. The rolls are sourced from Abhi’s Bakery in Fremantle, who pride themselves on producing organic, natural breads and baked goods and of course the onions are also locally grown! The only thing that is not local are the massive pans that are used to cook the bratwurst and onions. Tony imports them from Germany and they are specifically designed to cook bratwurst sausage. They are huge and often the focal point when waiting in line for your Bratwurst. Tony tells me that they weigh a whopping 60-70 kilos and are about 80cm in diameter. “I am often asked about the pans, people are amazed at the size of them, I am constantly quizzed on them”.
If you visit Tony at Subiaco, you will also meet John who is his partner in crime. They have been friends for years and met while working in the music industry. John during the week is a school teacher who specialises in music. It is only on a Saturday that he moonlights as a bratwurst connoisseur! Tony and John work effortlessly together and are a well-oiled machine, trust me they have to be because they are in high demand! Tony laughs when I tell him that I don’t think he realises that each week they go through the same routine, each knowing exactly what needs to be done in preparation for what is going to be a busy morning. Tony’s follows with “yeah, I guess we have it down pat now”. The other nice thing about Tony is he is really passionate about the Subi Farmers Market. He has two girls that attend Subi primary school and he lives locally, so he takes pride in the fact that his business adds to that wonderful community feel that the markets has become so well known for.
A bratwurst will set you back $6.00, which is money well spent for an authentic German experience – come down and try a bratwurst with perfectly cooked onions, sauerkraut sauce in a freshly baked roll. It won’t disappoint as one blogger wrote…it’s a super breakfast treat! See you there.
Alive Juice is still in its infancy, but is the sky the limit! Just about to turn four months old this orange juice business is oozing with personality and passion, which can only be a juicy recipe for success.
Best friends Adrian and Les, started the business because both were looking for something that they could enjoy doing, that was socially enticing, had a positive impact on people’s health and something that both were passionate about. Adrian tells me that he has always been into healthy living and healthy food. He grew up on a farm, which added to his appreciation of fresh produce, although he admits that he probably didn’t realise how lucky he was as a younger kid. “I spent years in the construction and building industry, which was physically challenging, that coupled with my current career which is in Kung Fu, means I need to be physically healthy so having the juice business helps with that”. Now before I go on, it is worth mentioning that Adrian has a 3rd degree red belt in Kung Fu and when he is not running Alive Juice he is teaching and training people in defence fighting at the Malcom Sue Defence Fighting Club. Les on the other hand works in the area of company promotions; he designs company websites, creates company videos and is also a handy photographer. When I asked Les why he was interested in the health industry, he told me that his wife had faced what could have been a serious health issue, and from that he conducted research into healthy foods, specifically raw foods. He also has a family history of market gardeners, so one could assume it is in the blood.
What makes Alive Juice so different is that they use a very sophisticated machine. The machine uses a “cold press” method to squeeze the oranges into juice. I am told by Adrian that the key to an orange juice that is still high in nutrients and enzymes is to use the cold press method or more commonly known as the “slow” method, ultimately it keeps the integrity of the fruit intact so such things as it’s proteins remain in the juice. This is compared with the kind of juices that we all have at home, which are the ones that are based on speed, or a “fast” method of juicing. The problem with the fast method means that the fruit is compromised and it’s nutritional value decreases and flavour is changed significantly.
So how does the machine work? It uses centrifugal principle to divide the juice and the residue is automatically segregated, see I said it was sophisticated! In English it means that the orange falls into the machine from the conveyer belt, the blade then cuts the orange in half and the inbuilt squeezing mechanism squashes each half producing the cold pressed juice. The machine makes it possible to present fresh and nutritious juice to the user instantly and continuously. It can juice 20 – 25 oranges per minute and works on approximately 80 revs per minute. The other quirky thing is that the oranges actually have to be a certain size to work in the machine; I am told about the size of a tennis ball or 40 – 90mm!
Alive Juice uses only locally grown oranges, sourced from Gingin, Serpentine and Harvey. Les tells me that the oranges are picked fresh and squeezed within days of them being picked, which also adds to the freshness of the product. “We can serve the juice two ways. It can be served as it is straight out of the juicer at room temperature or we can pop the juice into our “slushy” machine which ultimately chills the juice” says Les. Adrian follows with “the best thing about our juice is that there is no water, sugar or ice added to the juice, the taste comes purely from the oranges natural sugars”.
So what are the benefits to having a healthy, freshly squeezed orange juice? Here are six very good reasons. Each glass of fresh orange juice provides you with your recommended daily dosage of Vitamin C. There are enough flavonoids in fresh orange juice that can help to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Along with being high in antioxidants fresh orange juice contains large amounts of dietary fibre, folates and thiamine. Studies carried out have shown that it can protect you against cancer and heart disease and improve the way your immune system responds to attacks. By drinking fresh orange juice you can reduce how much damage free radicals are doing to the cellular structure of your body. The various phyto-nutrients and flavonoids to be found in freshly squeezed orange juice can help to protect you against various degenerative diseases.
I think there is good reason why you should pop down this week to the SFM and grab a fresh squeezed juice. You can have a small (which is actually quite big) for $5.00 or a large for $8.00, either way you will be doing a great thing for your body, especially now it is winter!
Oh and if you can’t get to the SFM, Alive Juice also have a stall at the Fremantle markets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s, just inside the doors of the fruit and vegie precinct. See no excuse!
Spring Valley Orchard
Crisp, crunchy, juicy and deliciously fresh are all the delights that you will experience when you bite into a Pink Lady or Sundowner Apple from Spring Valley Orchard. Spring Valley Orchard is located in DonnyBrook and owned by Diana and Geoff Robb. It is situated in a picturesque location that is both quiet and beautiful, with an abundance of clean fresh air, maybe one of the reasons the apples are so good!
Diana is an interesting woman to chat with; she was born in India and for the most part grew up in the Himalayan Mountains but has also spent time in South East Asia and Australia. As an adult she has travelled a lot and lived in many places around the world, including Nigeria and England, but it wasn’t until she lived in Huston with her husband that she made the decision to move back to Australia to live a clean, pollution free existence. Diana tells me that she struggled to live in Huston because of the noise, pollution, thick smog and overwhelming busy lifestyle. “I realised that I needed to get back to a peaceful place that had clean air and tranquillity, somewhere that was a healthy place to live. So, I got my husband set up and organised, then headed back to Australia, with the plan that he would follow within the year. It took him four years but he finally he joined me on the orchard”. Apparently he is great at mowing the acres of lawn!
Diana has owned Spring Valley Orchard for five years. It was originally established as an orchard back in the 1920’s and when Diana bought the orchard it was somewhat run down and the previous owners had started to remove a lot of the trees, which meant that 2000 trees remained on the orchard when Diana took over. She now has 1500 apple trees and 600 plum trees. The two varieties of apples are Pink Ladies, (aka the Crisp Pink) and the Sundowner, (aka the Crisp Red) and Diana’s plum varieties are bewildering as there is too many to name. The fruit is picked as tree ripened fruit, all which is lovingly cared for by Diana and her small team.
The orchard is operated using the old fashioned organic farming method, no chemicals, sprays or pesticides are used. Although not certified organic, Spring Valley Orchard follows the ethos of traditional organic farming and in the future hopes to transition the orchard into running as a fulltime organic orchard. She hopes to create a multi-tiered approach including a herb nursery, bees for pollination and honey, chickens to range and fertilise the orchard and use natural methods to keep the grass and bugs under control.
What’s so amazing about this story is that Diana doesn’t come from a farming background, so you can imagine that buying the orchard and then making it viable was a massive learning curve. “Most of it is practical, common sense, but I made mistakes and learned gradually” says Diana “Mind you, I had to learn things like how to drive a fork lift, something that is completely unnatural to me”. Spring Valley Orchard’s main objective is to deliver a good honest product. “I want my customers to buy my product because they love the taste, care about how it was grown and want to eat a natural healthy, chemical free product”.
Spring Valley Orchard also has a few additional products derived from their apples and plums. Diana tells me they were developed over time, and inspired by her son who was a triathlete and was looking for a light weight product that was light enough to carry on a bike and light on his stomach, but had a high energy yield, say no more because Diana solved his problem. The first product is her “Dried Apples”, until you try them, I can’t explain how great they are. The process is so simple, the apples are peeled, (they have to be about a size of an orange), cored and then they are dried at 80 degrees and baked and it is as easy as that. No sugar, no honey no added ingredients, it is pure concentrated apple, which I can assure you is 10 times the flavour blast of an apple. Her other product is a “Plum Leather”, which she makes from her beautiful plums, but you will need to wait to January to get these. Both items make for a great snack and perfect for the kids school lunch box.
You can come down to the SFM and meet Diana every Saturday. If you do, have your $5.00 handy and you will walk away with a one kilo bag of apples. You can also purchase a bag of her dried apples for $4.00. For more information you can also visit her website.
See you there!
Spencer Brook Farm
Meet Annie & Neil Kavanagh, they are the owners of Spencer Brook Farm. Annie is a former photographer and Neil currently works as an engineer – seems to be an odd fit to be operating a free range pig farm and Annie readily admits that they are “accidental farmers”. “Nine years ago we bought this beautiful holiday house, which had 200 acres of garden, which now is all farming land” says Annie. “We sort of fell into the whole free-range, organic farming. To us it was natural for pigs to roam around, walking freely through the paddock, that’s what it was like back home in England. It wasn’t until we came here, that we realised it was the complete opposite to conventional pig farming in Australia”.
Spencer Brook Farm is 90km east of Perth, and it is a farm with a lot of history. Spencer Brook Farm was originally a 1500 acre estate built and farmed by the Wilding family for many years, producing award winning cattle and sheep. The lovely thing about the farm today is that it is farmed almost how it was farmed last century, using crop rotations and livestock to enrich the soil and deter weeds. The simple theory is that animals will fertilise the soil as they wander through the paddocks at the same time as reducing the weed burden. The principles of organic farming rely on the interdependence between animals and plants.
Spencer Brook Farm uses organic principles, however when the drought hit, it meant that essentially there was not enough organic grain to retain the certified organic status for their meat. Not deterred, Spencer Brook Farm took this in their stride and do their upmost to keep the animals fed with majority of organic grain, supplementing natural grain that meets the dietary requirements of the pigs. This means that their meat is marketed as “free-range” rather than “organic”, which ultimately means that the animal is living freely on the land, without synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics or growth promoters, being housed in a cage or Eco Shelter and feed hormones – which is the conventional pig farming way.
Annie has a very simple philosophy which is look after the welfare of her animals, ensuring that they are happy and healthy. When speaking with Annie, I can tell she is really passionate about her animal’s welfare and that she expects nothing less than the highest standard of care for them. Spencer Brook Farm is dedicated to producing the best quality meat possible, and the way they farm means they can easily meet this objective. Annie tells me that she came to realise quickly that people wanted meat that tasted great. “They didn’t so much worry that size or colour might be slightly different each time they bought it. It was more that they cared about the welfare of the animal and tastes of the meat, people are always telling me that my pork tastes like it used to back in the old days”. Because Spencer Brook Farm using organic farming principles means that the pigs will grow at their own pace, so the size of the pigs can vary as too, the product can take longer to get to the customers but, what is does ensure is a consistently good product.
Speaking of their products, it should be mentioned that Annie and Neil also believe in supporting rarer breeds of livestock, which not only increases biodiversity on their farm but helps save these magnificent breeds from extinction. See I wasn’t lying when I said that animal welfare was most important to Annie! Some of the breeds they have are free range Berkshire pigs, Organic Long Horned Wiltshire sheep and Dexter Cattle. These breeds produce wonderful meat and of course in the true spirit of Spencer Brook Farm they avoid all nasties once the meat is ready for packaging. This means they can provide a preservative and gluten free product. Their small goods do not have preservatives added so they don’t have that bright pink colour usually found in conventional meat; instead they have a more natural brown tint which makes for a much healthier product.
Spencer Brook Farm has an extensive product range. They do a Smoked Ham, Nitrate free Smoked Bacon, Dry – Aged Dexter Beef, Chorizo Sausage, Hogget, Fresh Pork Cuts, Pure Pork Sausages and Bacon Bones, which makes a great bacon soup. Their products are only available at the Subi Farmers Market and Mt Claremont Markets on a Saturday morning or you can order online via their website. Click Here.
Just when you thought Spencer Brook Farm couldn’t get any better – they have. They hold open days on the farm, where you can learn all about the farm and its farming ways, you can see, touch & taste. On their first open day they expected 20 or so people and ended up with 150! I should mention though that they are currently on hold as the farm suffered terrible damage in the recent storms, but Annie promises that once the farm is back to its former glory they will continue with the open days…I think it is something us city slickers should experience!
Extreme Superfoods was started 2 years ago, but it was a long time in the making. Damian suffered chronic fatigue syndrome, and through his struggle to find natural, raw and organic products to help him regain his health, he discovered what most would say was his calling. “Getting sick was most probably the best thing that happened to me. I think it was meant to be. I am now dedicated to helping others to heal themselves of all types of health problems, I am inspired to develop health products and self healing regimes, knowing that I am helping people get healthy and most importantly reach their full health potential” says Damian.
Damian has over 13 years experience in the health industry, after getting sick and spending a lot of time and money on health products, he decided to get a job in a health food store in the hope that maybe he would get the products he thought he needed at a lower cost. It was here that he realised that the products available on the market were full of binders, fillers, flowing agents, anti-caking agents and synthetic vitamins and minerals which only hinder our bodies natural ability to heal itself. So he dived into researching natural, organic and raw products that would be more effective in redefining his health. He experimented with many concoctions, until he developed what is now called “Extreme Superfoods” a formula which is Australia’s most comprehensive superfood powder. Damian developed this formula using many certified organic superfoods, which he says assisted in healing his body from Chronic Fatigue. “It is an all in one superfood that includes such ingredients as algaes, grasses, berries, maca ,MSM , seaweeds, systemic enzymes and even the Australian wild superfood the Kakadu Plum. I also took inspiration from David Wolfe’s Longevity Program and have included his Noni fruit powder and 5 different medicinal mushrooms, which I believe takes your immune system to a whole new level”.
Extreme Superfoods sell a range of high integrity certified organic and ethically raw superfoods that are designed to supercharge your health. Damian’s main focus is to regenerate the human body, which is why his products contain naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidents, phytochemicals and DNA. He tells me that our bodies are so used to eating conventional foods, which gets stored in our body and causes all sorts of problems, that we then need a product that will help restore the body’s natural balance. “Using Extreme Superfoods designer detox products allows the body to shift toxins out, and only then can it start to repair and regenerate” says Damian. Alongside this, they also sell herbs, extracts and raw snack foods, such as Kale chips and Broccoli bits. Damien also sells literature on longevity and a range of certified organic skincare. Damian not only has a retail business, but he is also a wholesaler, and his products are distributed across Australia. Damian tells me that his main clientele are Practitioners and Personal Trainers. “Because it is not an everyday multivitamin, and a very complex product, it needs to be implemented by the correct person, a person who has the knowledge and training to be able to educate the end user for the best results”.
Speaking of being able to educate the end user, Damian has a partner-in–crime, Karri, who helps sell at the market and they are quite the dynamic duo. I mentioned earlier about Damian being a ball of energy, well add Karri to the mix and their combined energy and enthusiasm is almost overwhelming. Karri having a degree in Sports Physiology and who is currently a personal trainer means their collective level of knowledge is perfect for the business. As Damian agrees, his products are complimented by those who are also eating the right foods and exercising, something that Karri can help their customers with.
Now when you go down and visit Damian and Karri I have one word of warning, when Damian tells to you to open your mouth and stick out your tongue be prepared for the horrible taste of his Marine Phytoplankton. This whole concentrated raw food product is amazing and certainly worth the try as it gives you an amazing nourishing energy boost and its benefits are certainly worth it, but the taste takes some getting used to!
To learn more about Extreme Superfoods you can come down to the markets each Saturday morning and also visit the website http://www.extremesuperfoods.com/
They are big, rich and full of flavour! I am talking about the incredible Cinnamon Buns that are made with tender loving care by May Tapley, the founder of Spirals Cinnamon. These are no ordinary buns, they have this amazing quality about them that is quite hard to describe. Once you try one you will know what I mean and we can compare notes!
May is originally from Penang, her afterschool childhood is full of memories of baking, cooking and creating all sorts of wonderful cream cakes and sweet goodies, receiving her first cake mixer at the tender age of 14 seemed to cement May’s career path – the same mixer still sits proudly on display in her commercial kitchen. May’s successful baked goods business can be attributed to this wondrous childhood, along with the skills she has honed and the ability to create original recipes using fresh products, that contain no preservatives, colours or additives.
Spirals Cinnamon started in 2004, when I asked May why she decided that cinnamon buns would be her signature, she tells me that she lived in the U.S for 5 years and upon moving back to Australia, couldn’t find a good cinnamon bun, so she went about creating her own. “I used to cook in my kitchen at home, except my oven kept blowing up and after two years of fixing it, I got fed up and decided to renovate my laundry. It is now a certified commercial kitchen that I spend three to four days a week in, cooking up a storm”.
May’s cinnamon buns are not the only sweet goodie that she makes, she has this amazing Lemon Slice, which is fittingly called “Lemon Love”. When I asked May why she called her slice lemon love she tells me this quirky story, that when people called to place an order they would say “Can I please order a lemon, love”. Although they where referring to May as love she decided it made a great name for her lemon slice. This is not the only quirky name she has for her slices, there is also Choccie Chew, a mouth watering chocolate slice that is just divine. All the recipes that May cooks, have been developed by her over the years through experimentation and plenty of taste testing – mind you May is so slender it makes you wonder how she stays this way when surrounded by such temptation? I am told that her two boys get the perks of having a Mum that bakes, with pretty good after school treats!
Spiral Cinnamon has quite an extensive range of products. May also bakes a killer Apple Pie that uses chemical free apples; her apple crumble also uses these delightful apples. “My secret weapon is using only the freshest, chemical free ingredients that I can source. With my lemon tarts, I only use fresh lemon, with my chocolate slice I use top quality cocoa, and you notice the difference” says May. I am told that her Flourless Orange Cake is to die for, and that it is super healthy because it uses no flour or butter. Talk about not having to feel guilty when indulging! The other exciting new item May has added to her repertoire is the Friand. May tells me that she decided to make friand’s after having so many egg whites left over from making ice-cream, (yes she also makes ice-cream for her boys) so she decided she needed to find something to do with them, rather than wasting them, she is super sustainable and makes a variety of different flavoured friands, the Berry is my favourite!
So where can you taste these mouth watering treats? May does a few different markets around town, the Subi Farmers Market each Saturday and Upmarket at UWA, she has a few cafe’s in the CBD that carry her products as well as a few other outlets around town such as the Rugby. Spirals Cinnamon has a Facebook page which you can view, but I recommend coming down to the markets and experiencing these wonderful delights and I will let you in on a secret – if you come down early you can get a freshly baked cinnamon bun that is still deliciously warm from the oven, I promise it truly is one of those moments you will thank me for making you get up early!
S & C Fiolo
The sound of cockatoos having their breakfast whilst interviewing Sebastian Fiolo was rather endearing. As I spoke with Seb via the phone, I could hear the birds screeching in delight as they feasted on what is probably considered a smorgasbord of seeds, grasses, grains and the odd piece of fruit that has fallen to the ground for a cockatoo living in Karragullen.
Karragullen is where you will find the Fiolo family. S & C Fiolo was founded in 1958 by Sebastian’s father, he purchased what was a small orchard, previously owned by an Australian family and since then, with the assistance of the “second generation” has grown that one orchard into five orchards scattered across Karragullen. This is very much a family business, even at the age of 75 Seb’s father is still working on the orchards, as too his mother, sister Serena and brother in law Rob, this well oiled machine seems to have all it’s i’s dotted and t’s crossed – to witness this you just have to see them setting up their market stall on a Saturday morning to know this is the truth.
This fruit & vegetable business might have started from humble beginnings, but certainly has built itself an amazing reputation in the industry. When I asked Seb what they grow on their orchards, he tells me it is a bit of a “fruit salad”. “The main orchard and two others grow a variety of fruits, where as the other two are predominately apples” says Seb. “We have over 50 acres and 20,000 trees, which are a mix of stone fruit, apples, persimmons, you name it we grow it”. Seb’s father started out growing a range of vegetables in the 60’s, such as tomatoes, Brussel sprouts and peas and over time that has diversified into all sorts of fruits. Karragullen is a largely a fruit growing area, according to Seb, Karragullen has perfect soil for growing fruit trees.
S & C Fiolo pick for most part of the year. Picking starts in November and goes right through until July, with the team working an amazing 60 hour week. Seb tells me that they employ seasonal pickers to help at the height of harvest. “It is hard work, and it is tiring, but you know what I love that feeling of satisfaction in providing people with a top notch product, I enjoy what I do”. I asked Seb if he always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, he tells me that he actually started a Bachelor of Business, but the travel to Churchlands from Karragullen became difficult so he transferred to Tafe and at night completed is Diploma of Business and during the day worked in the orchards. He goes on to say that providing a premium product to people, securing repeat clientele and carrying on the family business is gratifying.
S & C Fiolo don’t have any web presence, because they just don’t need it. “The name S & C Fiolo has been around for over 50 years, we rely on word of mouth marketing, we have a well known product and those who know about it buy it” says Seb. “We sell directly from the shed located on the main orchard; our trade is second and third generation farmers, markets, and 30% to the larger chains such as Coles and Woolworths”. “What we like so much about selling directly to the public, either from the shed or at the markets, is that we know the product is as fresh as it can be. We choose the most premium time to pick, we pick as close to maturity as possible. This means that our customers get the best “feeding and eating” experience possible” says Seb.
“We go to the enth degrees to quality assure our product”. Seb tells me that they are subject to stringent testing multiple times of the year. The level of chemicals and residues are tested. “We never over use, we use the bare essentials – nothing more or nothing less” says Seb. In doing this, S & C Fiolo are doing their part in ensuring they are looking after the industry, assisting in the controlled protection of the area from pests. Seb then goes on to say that now it is the consumers turn to protect the industry. “They need to make the right decision and support local growers; they need to buy local produce. If they do this, then the industry will survive. If they continue to buy imported produce then the industry will become unstable and the pressure from overseas will be detrimental to the entire fruit and vegie industry” says Seb.
So what can we all do to ensure that the industry survives? Come down to the Subi Farmers Market each Saturday and buy the consistently fresh produce that S & C Fiolo provide, support local grown produce and support WA farmers – my bet is not only will you aid in supporting local growers, but your hip pocket will also benefit.
Honey Eater Honey
“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. It’s wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway; because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible”. I found this funny little quote when conducting my research into bees this week. I smiled, because from my research I have discovered that this seems rather true of the humble bee, well the part about completing the impossible. Worldwide, bees currently face a number of serious threats including the bee parasite – the verroa mite, an incursion of Asian Honey bees, and colony collapse disorder…seems impossible that the humble honey bee can still produce such superior honey under such stress!
When the term “busy as bees” is thrown around, it is true, as that is exactly what the honey bee does. It frantically goes about its business collecting nectar and sweet deposits from plants and trees, so it can take it back to the hive, modify it and store it in the honeycomb. This becomes a food source for the colony and what makes them so unique is that this process aids their survival; they too aid ours, they are the prime pollinators for the planet, and are so intrinsically important to the eco-system.
Now that I have promoted the wondrous honey bee I would like to introduce you to the man behind Honey Eater Honey, Peter Vedeniapine. When chatting to Peter, his love for bees is evident, he speaks very fondly of his bees and their hives. Peter’s fascination with bees began back when he was 12 years old, growing up on a remote farm in Wales, Peter was encouraged to visit a neighbouring farm which had a bee farm. He tells me that his introduction to bees wasn’t what most people would say was natural. He was taught by an “old man”, (those are Peter words), who was an interesting character to say the least. “He didn’t teach me in the traditional way, the way most people would have been taught” says Peter. “I had to learn to overcome my fear of them first, it took a few stings, but in the end I learnt how to handle them”. Peter laughs when he tells me that his neighbour liked a beer or two and at the age of 12 Peter often wondered how he would get his rather round tummy into his protective suit. Laughs aside, Peter realised that he could get a yield from something that you didn’t have to grow. “It was like magic” says Peter, “So I researched bees, educated myself on everything to do with bees, and decided that I could earn a bit of pocket money from looking after my bees and collecting their honey”. By 17 years old he had eight of his own hives, which he sold when he went travelling and of course earned some good “pocket money” to spend whilst travelling.
Peter ended up coming to Australia on a scholarship and worked in various areas such as fertilizers and currently works with Agrofresh, a company that helps growers, packers, shippers, exporters and importers worldwide in delivering consistently high quality fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants through a range of 1-MCP (1 – Methylcyclopropene) based innovative technologies, products and services. But that is a whole other story. I asked Peter how he got back into honey again after such a long time. Apparently one day a friend came to Peter and said they had an interest in bees, Peter having an orchard in Pickering Brook at the time and having a sound knowledge of bees thought it would not only be good for the orchard, but he could also get back into something he was passionate about. He ended up with eight hives on his Pickering Brook orchard, which was 7 to 8 years ago. Surprisingly he actually had some of the bees at his house in the suburbs, which may sound uncommon, but the bees really thrived and Peter found himself yielding 150-200 grams of honey from one hive. I questioned Peter on the requirements needed to have bees in suburbia, he tells me that a permit is required from the council and of course the rules and regulations complied with, apparently though you can have two hives in your backyard? Amazing!
Peter then had the opportunity to buy more hives, it was then he also realised if he was to buy more hives, he would need more advanced extractors in order to collect the honey. It was then that he moved to Wooroloo, and since then he hasn’t looked back, now with a whopping twenty hives, seventeen of those being active. His property in Wooroloo is perfect for the bees; from all accounts it is a beautiful area, covered with Jarrah and Marri trees. Peter has a simple philosophy that you should be able to “live” where you live, that you should be in places that can sustain you. Makes sense when you think about the simplicity of a bees life – they too use nature to sustain itself and its colony. Peter tells me that his bees are just a hobby, but goes on to say that if you are going to have a hobby it might as well be one that you believe in. Peter’s son and partner’s son both help him with the bees, especially in the Spring time, which is the busiest time for beekeepers, Peter’s son also frequents the SFM each Saturday, to help out his dad, he also seems just as passionate as Peter.
I can honestly say that I didn’t realize how complicated the bee and honey business was until I started looking into it. I learnt from Peter, and my research all about the process involved with extracting the honey and maintaining the hives, the most fascinating, being “requeening” this is where Peter goes in and replaces the old queen with the new queen. He tells me he has become really good at finding them…no mean feat given the thousands of bees in the hive. Requeening is necessary as the old queen will not reproduce after a certain amount of time, therefore the hive will die and no more honey can be extracted. I think it is safe to say requeening is an art.
Honey Eater honey is available to buy at the Subi Farmers Market. This honey is so rich in flavour, and it is a really nice honey, only the other day I heard one of Peter’s regular customers say that it is so silky and smooth and that’s why they buy it. Peter also does Bee Pollen, for those who don’t know about bee pollen, it is one of nature’s best kept secrets. Bee pollen as a nutritional supplement assists in general immune system function, may reduce allergies, is alkalizing to the body, and provides strength, endurance and energy. It contains protein, carbohydrate, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. I suggest that you have a chat to Peter or his son, who is also very knowledgeable about this amazing product. For those of you who are in Midland you can also pick up a jar of honey from Gilbert’ Fresh Market, if not pop down on Saturday and visit Honey Eater Honey and see what the “buzz” is about.
Valley Flower Farm
Blooming Fantastic is the catch phrase that Valley Flower Farm uses. It is a great pun on words for this niche business. Valley Flower Farm was started six years ago when Gary and Tony realised that there was a gap in the market for high quality flowers, mainly lilies, which is their speciality. “We realised that we could provide Perth with a top end product. Tony has the expertise in growing and I have the expertise in marketing and development,” says Gary.
Located in Middle Swan, Valley Flower Farm has 11 acres, 5 of those used to grow the flowers, with room to expand onto the remaining acres in the future. The farm is made up of 13 employees and buy all accounts is a well-oiled machine, with administration, pickers, planters, dispatchers, drivers and sales people. Gary tells me that over time they have built the business literally from the ground up, to now being one of Perth’s well-known suppliers of flowers.
Valley Flower Farm grows Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Longiflorium, Gladioli and Chrysanthemums. This doesn’t seem like much of a range, however they grow multiple varieties of each type in all the colours of the rainbow, and this is what makes them a niche business. Gary tells me that Valley Flowers has a great relationship with other growers of varieties that they do not currently do, this means that they have the ability to be able to source other top quality flowers for the customers when needed. “We specifically specialise in only the 5 types because we want to offer the best product that Perth people can buy” says Gary.
“The thing that is most important to us is our customer. We go above and beyond to ensure our customers have the best experience, our process is critical in delivering this promise’ says Gary. When I asked how he could deliver this to his customers, he tells me that unlike other suppliers, he knows exactly what happens to their flowers from the moment they are planted to the moment they are sold. “Our flowers are picked in the early hours of the morning, put straight into water and then into the coolroom. They are there for 1 to 2 days before being placed in a refrigerated van and delivered directly to the buyer”. “The whole process happens quickly and efficiently, which means our flowers stay fresher for longer, this means we have satisfied customers”. Gary tells me he knows their process works because the customers keep coming back every week, every month and every year.
Gary is rather passionate when discussing his flowers. Having been a florist myself in a previous life, I actually know he is telling the truth when he says that “ a good way to tell if a lily is fresh, is to make sure they have nice strong, thick stems, nice luscious green foliage, and most importantly if you hold the lily on the horizontal and it droops down, it means it is not fresh. “Ours don’t do that, we ensure freshness,” says Gary. Valley Flowers are also passionate about making sure that their customers are educated on how to look after their product once they get their flowers home. Gary tells me that to educate their customers only helps their cause of bringing quality flowers to the masses. “If we treat them right and the customers treat them right, everyone is happy”.
Although Valley Flower Farm does not have a web presence yet, they are working on a shiny new website as I type. Gary tells me that they never needed a web presence, as the customer base has always needed to feel, touch and see the flowers in realtime. Now however Gary and the team realise that it is the perfect time to put the training wheels on and ride into the wonderful “cyber” world. Their new website will cater to brides looking for wedding flowers, to florists, to suppliers and well anyone looking for fresh flowers.
Until the website is launched you can find Valley Flower Farm at selected florists around Perth, top end delis, Boatshed in Cottesloe, selected IGA stores and of course at farmers markets. They are at four markets around Perth, and of course Subi is one of them. Every Saturday you can come down and buy a bunch of Oriental lilies for $17 – $18 dollars or a bunch of Asiatic Lillies for around $12.
So with Oriental lilies being one of the most popular flowers around at the moment and of course being Mother’s Day, why not buy a bunch from “a lily specialist” this weekend at the markets. Your Mum will love you!
Over the Moon
I am a massive fan of cheese, cheese on toast, cheese on pizza, cheese on pasta…cheese on anything really and any type of cheese will do just fine! Having said that though, I am not sure if any other cheeses will ever get a look in now I have tried Over the Moon Organic Cheese.
Over the Moon Organics started from humble beginnings. Juliet and husband David bought a 12-hectare farm, located halfway between the southwest towns of Albany and Denmark. They originally purchased the property because it had stables and Juliet being a professional horse rider thought perhaps they might be able to get some horses, but David said no! Juliet not one for defeat suggested a cow instead and David said yes, so “Molly” joined the farm. Molly being the good Jersey Cow she is produced too much milk for just Juliet, David and their daughter Georgia, therefore Juliet had to look for something to do with the excess milk. She decided that making cheese for their family and friends was a great idea, it was at this point they suggested she sell the cheese at a commercial level, this was where the real fun began!
Juliet took herself of to a “Commerical” cheese course and learnt the fine art of manufacturing cheese. When she arrived home she said to David she had discovered a new passion and wanted to start a cheese company, David agreed and so they added 6 more cows to the farm, then built a diary factory and then a cheese factory! They now have an amazing 19 cows used in the milking process and a fully-fledged business that is booming.
Over the Moon Organics is one of only four cheese makers in Australia that keep and milk their own herd exclusively for the purpose of making their cheeses. This is apparently very rare, what else is rare is that all the cows have names. Juliet tells me that Georgia (5 and a half) names all the heifers…one can only imagine they all have cute names if Molly is anything to go by! Speaking of Juliet and David’s children, Georgia is joined by, Luke (3 and a half) and Scarlett (1 and a half). I am told that everyone in the household has a job. Georgia’s is to name the heifers and milk the goats and Luke doesn’t miss the early morning wake up, opening the door and slipping into his wellies to help with the milking. David is “minister for finance” and the person responsible for naming the business. Juliet tells me she was truly impressed when driving back from Perth one evening and David thought of the name – apparently he has never had creativity in his bones! And, well Scarlett is a little bit small, but I am assured it won’t be long until she has her own set of wellies.
The great thing about Over the Moon and their cheese making process is that all the components that are required to make cheese are within stones throw of each other. The paddock is only meters away from the dairy factory and the cheese factory is in the same building. To most this wouldn’t mean much, but for Over the Moon it means everything. “It is the secret to making great cheese” says Juliet. “Traditionally, the milk would normally be pumped into vats, then transported for hours only to be poured into more vats for further processing. This constant movement breaks down the structure of the milk, reducing the cheese making quality”. The whole process is supervised by the strict eye of Juliet, who tells me she has four staff to help her make the cheese, but she is still very much hands on. The other great thing about this farm and their set up is that it allows Juliet and David to stay true to their passion regarding the welfare of their animals and the sustainable footprint of their business. “We are in the business of applying alternative and sustainable agricultural practices,” says Juliet.
Juliet tells me that they specialize in soft white cheeses, such as Brie and Feta. When I asked her what other cheeses they do, she told me that for now she wants to be known as a soft cheese specialist. “I learnt that making cheese is years in the process and that it is a very arduous task to develop a quality cheese. “Quality is important to us, we concentrate on one particular type of cheese and we won’t compromise on any aspect of that cheese”. “Being a niche – market organic cheese company is of the upmost importance to us, delivering superior cheese and milk is what makes it all worth while” says Juliet. That being said, they do manufacture some hard cheeses, but only the Swiss Brown cow is used for this, where as the Jersey cow is used for the soft cheese – I did say it was a fine art.
Over the Moon Organics success has been impressive to say the least. Their product is available in 30 – 40 retail locations such as Herdsman in Churchlands, Farmer Jacks in Subiaco, The Boatshed in Cottesloe and the IGA stores around Perth. They also sell at the Subi Farmers Market, Mt Claremont Farmers Market and the Albany Farmers Market Markets on Saturday mornings.
Oh, one last thing…did I mention their milk is like the old fashioned glass bottled milk, it gets that thin layer of cream at the top, but of course it is presented in a sustainable bio degradable plastic bottle – what’s not to love about that.
Organic Loafers began on the 17th of October 2009. I mention this date, as it was also the opening of the Subiaco Farmers Market. Yes that’s right we helped Loafers launch their business! And we are of course proud as punch that this brilliant bread business is booming.
Loafers began as a small, part time business, when they saw an advertisement in the local paper calling for people interested in having a stall at the markets. It is now a full time, well-oiled machine. Damian and Alaine work well together, Damian is a trained baker and has a degree in Food Science, he is perfectly suited to this bread-making gig. Damien’s Qualifications, coupled with Alaine who is currently in her final year of Marketing are a force to be reckoned with.
They both explain to me that their passion lies in delivering healthy, organic bread, which is nutritious and tastes fantastic. “Our business has evolved naturally, it has experienced it’s own organic evolution” says Alaine. They are so passionate about what they do; they even have a mission statement, which is to make a range of breads using certified organic flour and to make bread using traditional artisan techniques. By doing this they aim to maintain the art of traditional bread making, and promote the nutritional benefits of traditionally produced bread. How’s that for a statement!
Until this interview, I had not realized the process and hard work that goes into making a loaf of bread. As you can imagine being a food scientist, it is paramount that Damian researches the ingredients he uses. A lot of time is spent working out the composition of the grains, legumes and dough’s; making sure that the recipe is right and there are no implications to the dough’s ideology – that’s food scientist language! Damian spends a large portion of his time in development, as well as the hands on baking. He tells me that at the moment one of his big projects has been working with Scotch College to create a high fibre, high protein white bread that has “no junk” in it, for those who are wondering what Damian means by “junk”, it is all that unhealthy stuff pumped into bread these days, such as Bread Improvers, Synthetic Enzymes, Emulsifiers, Preservatives, Synthetic Polymers and Stabilisers.
Loafers all organic bread is really popular, not that I am surprised by this, as they have such unique breads like Quinoa and Linseed Loaf, which I will also add is an award winning bread…actually at the 2010 Perth Royal Show, Loafers won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize for their Traditional German Rye, Wholemeal sourdough and the Quinoa and Linseed Loaf, impressive to say the least!
Needless to say their bread has become hot property, with such places as Steve’s Hotel, Bar One, Centinnal, Rudy’s in Claremont, The Little Pantry and Tom’s Kitchen all using Loafers bread, seven days a week and of course you can still get your loaf of bread when you visit the Subi Farmers Market. Loafers have, and plan to remain true to its humble beginnings, although Damian tells me that he the future of Loafers is to grow and move to a larger premise, he wants to “keep it small and special, if we get to big it will lose its charm and quality. The quality of the bread is the most important aspect for us, it is crucial we deliver a perfect organic product”.
Now while we are on the topic of hot property…don’t miss out on Loafers famous hot cross buns this Easter, I promise they wont disappoint. Come down on Saturday to get your supply, but be quick, as they will sell out fast.
Click here for more information on Loafers.
“For us, food is history, tradition and cherished memories; for you, it’s a unique experience”. That is the opening quote on Dracula Catering’s website and it also succinctly sums up why Maria Girgorescu and her family do what they do.
Maria has been around food all her life, her passion for her Romanian heritage is evident when you talk to her about her business and the reasons why she loves it. Arriving in Australia in 2006, along with her daughter Raduca and her son Raul, they tried to embrace the foods on offer in Australia, but it was not long before the kids were asking Maria to cook food from their beloved Romania, and of course as we all know food can be a comfort, so eating their homeland food helped them to overcome their feelings of being homesick.
It was not long after that that Raduca came home from work and said to Maria, that she should transform her catering business into a speciality business and concentrate on delivering authentic, quality Romanian foods…and the rest is history.
Dracula Catering is a fantastic name for this family business. Maria and her family love to share their heritage and the myths and truths behind the famous Count Dracula and Transylvania. If you sign up for one of the cooking classes you will get a fascinating history lesson, as well as learn how to cook the Romanian way. Maria tells me that she loves nothing more than teaching people to cook. “It makes me proud that people are learning to cook Romanian food, I teach them traditional family recipes, passed down from generation to generation.” Maria tells me that the highlight of her cooking class is, of course eating the meal afterwards with your friends and your family. “Take pleasure in learning to cook the meal and then take time to enjoy your food”.
So what else does Dracula Catering do? Well if you pop down to the Subi Farmers Market you will discover that Dracula also have a relish or Zacusca, which is the traditional name, that is to die for. It is an autumn specialty in Romania, it is made in autumn before the cold winter season arrives, the Romanian people make this beautiful Zacusca out of the last of the seasons vegetables, and it has to be the most versatile relish ever! When I asked Maria what you could use it for she launched in to a massive list of ways you can use this yummy product. I am told that if you want to be a true Romanian, then you would eat it on bread. However, it goes wonderfully on cheese, pasta or even pizza. If you do come down to the SFM, you will no doubt be greeted by Ivan , Maria’s husband who stands out in the crowd offering free samples of their tasty relish on small pieces of bread, dotted with feta. I can guarantee this one little taste will make you scoot right on over to buy a jar….it packs quite the punch. While you are visiting the stall you can also try one of Dracula’s Romanian breakfast specialities, they are now making a traditional plum dumplings made with potato and plums and also a Ricotta dumpling made with polenta. I have tasted both and it is not surprising that these Romanian delicacies are delightful. Apparently Polenta is famous in Romania, Maria made me laugh when she told me that Polenta is used in many, many dishes and in a variety of ways, “we eat polenta for breakfast, it’s Ivan’s equivalent to your vegemite.” I think it is something we should all try for breakfast, so how about you pop down to the markets this week and try this Romanian breakfast delight.
For more information on Dracula Catering click here. Also for those who can’t make it to the SFM or the Fremantle Markets on a Sunday, then you can also find their relish at a select range of retailers around Perth.
“I never thought getting involved with farming, the organic world, nor markets, would be as rewarding as it has been”. “Dealing with those who understand the philosophy of seasonality, the ebbs and flows of farming and of course organic and biodynamic produce is a blessing….oh and the fact that a lot of my customers are now good friends is just an added bonus”. Meet Robyn, she is part of the ying that makes up the yang that is Redtail Ridge.
Funny enough, Robyn tells me she was a late comer to the farming and organic world. Formerly a public servant and a self confessed “city slicker”, Robyn found herself returning time and time again to the beautiful and picturesque Mamballup farm. In 2009, she decided to call it home, and the rest is history, because Robyn and Peter have become quite the dynamic duo!
Peter Gaebler started the Redtail Ridge Olive Grove Farm business in 1998. A former Abalone diver, with a passion for the land and his farming upbringing, he decided that he wanted to get back to his grassroots, and he, like many has never looked back.
Redtail Ridge has an old fashioned “mixed farming” approach. Not only are they 100% certified organic, but so are all the things they produce , from their award winning Olive Oil, to their meat,honey, eggs, salt and wines, hence the “mixed farming”. Both Peter and Robyn would make good jugglers, the two of them are hands-on with all aspects of the farm and farming process, from feeding to picking, to harvesting and selling, it is all executed and completed by them. “ Our passion comes from deep down, both of us grew up as country kids, so we appreciate the land, we understand it, farming the organic way means we are looking after nature, keeping it sustainable and giving back” says Robyn.
Peter’s passion for organics saw the birth of The Organic & Biodynamic Meats Western Australia Co-operative. This collective was started in 2007, and was established because there were many Organic livestock producers, who became fed up with having to sell their NASAA Certified Organic cattle on the conventional market because there wasn’t a certified abattoir close by. Supported by Dardanup Butchering Company, who supported the idea of providing consumers with organic & biodynamic meat, meant they had come full circle and the coop commenced trading. “Like many organic farmers, it is important to be recognised and appreciated, not only for the top quality produce, but also for the hard yards we put into bringing our customers the best tasting meat they will ever have”. “There are no synthetic herbicides or pesticides, artificial fertilizers, reproductive or growth hormones, GMO’s, or veterinary pharmaceuticals used to grow our meat so it contains no harmful synthetic chemicals and is a completely natural food, “as nature intended”. As you know I am vegetarian, but one must ask why you would buy meat anywhere else, expect from members of the coop?
Redtail Ridge is a well oiled machine, with Robyn and Peter departing Mamballup on a Thursday evening, to arrive in Perth by Friday, so that they can do their entire meat deliveries (to the door) of their loyal customers, then prepare for the Markets on Saturday and Sunday. Oh and don’t think they do this together, they don’t. While Peter is at one market, Robyn is at another!!! Now that’s called teamwork….I did say they are each others ying and yang and I wasn’t lying.
So apart from coming down to the SFM and buying the great organic produce from Redtail Ridge, and experiencing organic produce at its best, there is one more thing you can do….. A rain dance! Yes you heard me correctly…Robyn tells me that they desperately need some rain. Now before you all say,”well it’s only some water, what’s the big deal”? Robyn tells me that to feed their cattle organic hay they need to grow it on the farm, with no rain, means no hay, which means unhappy cattle…and let’s face it who wants to turn this smile upside down! So start rain dancing now!
“I love Herbs! Not just any one type. All herbs can be used for medicinal purposes, they can heal you!” I sing to them, talk to them….crazy I know, but I really do love them”. Meet Leesa Cadwell, she is the owner of The Greenhouse, a name that truly reflects what she does. The Greenhouse produces Certified Organic herbs and vegetable seedlings, which are grown from seed to sell on her 5 acres of property near Moore River.
Leesa tells me that she has for, most of her life been in love with herbs. She has always had a passion for what they can do and how they can benefit the human body. “Herbs have been used for centuries and centuries, not enough people know how great they are, nor do they know how to get the most benefit from them. If I can educate my customers on the substantial positive impact that herbs can have on their health, then I am a happy woman” says Leesa.
Four years ago, Leesa saw an ad in the paper, advertising an all organic seedling business. She tells me she had a Eureka moment. “I can do that!” and, since that moment, Leesa has not looked back. A former sewer of sports apparel it seems a far cry between the two occupations, but like Leesa points out “it has a nice synergy; I used to sew uniforms, now I sow my seedlings”.
The Greenhouse produce a range of non-hybrid/open pollinated organic herb and vegetable seeds, which are used to produce a special homemade organic seedling mix, that ensures the seeds get the best possible start and become healthy living food. Each seedling mix is freshly made, which I am told is why Leesa’s seeds & seedlings are the best! The Greenhouse has an extensive list of both culinary and medicinal herbs, but she will also make to order. If Leesa does not have a certain herb that you need, she goes out of her way to get it for you. That is how passionate she is about her product, the belief that her herbs will assist with keeping the body balanced. The Greenhouse also does a range of seasonally based Organic Vegetable Seeds and Seedlings, and just to add to the mix they also have a range of dried herbs from Herb Growers Network of W.A and dried teas from the Bogbean Herbal Farm.
Just when you thought this one woman band was satisfied with her organic seedling business, you can think again. Leesa is also the President of the Organic Association of Western Australia. The Organic Association of Western Australia (OGAWA) is a not for profit organisation which was founded in October 1976. OGAWA connects organic growers, consumers and gardeners with the aim of promoting the benefits and joys of clean, nutritious organic food. If this wasn’t enough, in 2009, she with fellow Organic crusader, Jude Blereau from Whole Food Cooking, started the Trust Organic Festival. The Trust Organic Festival is an initiative by the Organic Federation of Australia and the Organic Association of Western Australia. The festival is in its third year, and from all accounts is going from strength to strength. Leesa and Jude make a formidable team, both supremely passionate about spreading the word about the Organic and Biodynamic Industry to the wider community. This year the festival aims to showcase some of WA’s best organic and biodynamic produce. With Panel discussions, Cooking Demonstrations, Organic stalls and much, much more it should not be missed. It is being held this Saturday, the 2nd of April at the Subi Farmers Market, from 8.00am. Come down and Learn, Eat, Live, Garden and Play.
If you would like to meet this pocket rocket, AKA, Leesa, then head down to the Subi Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. The Greenhouse also sells some of their range at different retail outlets so click here for more information on where to go. If you head to the SFM, you can also meet one of Leesa’s sons Jarrod, who helps her out at the stall and it, is safe to say has caught the same bug as his mum, the passion for herbs, organic and healthy foods as well as a greater safety of the environment. It’s rather impressive really!!!
Ok, so I have to be honest…….I am vegetarian, so interviewing Julia and Penny from Gingin Beef was kind of strange…. it is safe to say I don’t know much about meat and consequently needed quite the education lesson. Poor Julia kept saying “Oh god Katie, sorry you probably don’t want to hear that”, when discussing the process that takes place with Dry-Aging meat.
So with that confession out of the way, I can safely say that, I now know so much more about meat, especially the farming process that Gingin Beef employ. Gingin Beef have four generations of cattle breeding expertise to draw upon and a wealth of knowledge to impart, especially for vegetarians like me. Maxine Greville, inherited the farm from her uncle 13 years ago, and since then, her husband Chris, daughters Penny and Julia have never looked back. They have made the home that Maxine grew up in, and the farm she so dearly loved into a thriving business, that might I add, they are all very, very passionate about.
So what is so special about Gingin Beef? They pride themselves on producing beef the way nature intended - full of flavour and completely natural! Gingin Beef is “grass fed”, grown without hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified inputs, grain feeding or feedlot confinement, and is the very reason why 6 years ago they decided that they wanted to sell direct to their customers. They no longer wanted to supply to the bigger meat producers, due to the lack of industry recognition and appreciation for their “premium quality”, “grass fed”, “chemical free” and “hormone free” meat. Gingin wanted their customers to know the great lengths that they go to, ensuring that the meat they produced is completely natural, that the animal was born and raised on the property ensuring quality and consistency, and that the cattle live a happy, stress-free life.
For a novice to the meat industry, I found it interesting that Julia and Penny were so passionate about looking after the welfare of their Murray Grey and Angus cattle! Julia told me “ good grass fed meat is hard to find, we are so obsessive with our customers knowing that we treat our animals well and that we do the right thing by them”. She goes on to say “ that feeding grain to cattle changes the fat composition of the meat, increasing bacteria and modifying the natural taste of the meat, feeding grain to cattle also makes them get fatter quickly, meaning that the farmers can get them to market faster”. Julia believes that is why Gingin Beef is so successful, “we put the hard “longer” yards into producing all natural meat, meat that tastes like it should, it might take 6-8 weeks longer, but it’s worth it for the end product”.
This attention to detail and level of care, might be the reason why they have had such a successful calving season. Julia tells me that in the last 3 weeks they have welcomed 9 sets of twins into the world. This is an unusually high amount of twins, apparently you can expect 15 sets over a 4 month period!! Pretty impressive really.
Gingin Beef sell at a few different locations. You can buy direct on their website www.ginginbeef.com, or you can visit them at the Subi Farmers Market each Saturday morning from 8.00am to 12.00pm, they also sell at the Western Farmers Palmyra Markets on a Sunday. Their meat is also available from the butcher at Innaloo. Speaking of the Butcher, Tom and his apprentice, also called Tom, will be taking over from Penny and Julia selling at the Markets. Julia tells me that Tom is “ a really nice chap, he is very knowledgeable about meat, and especially grass fed cattle and the dry-ageing process. It is worth mentioning that Gingin Beef dry age all their beef up to 28 days, which I am told is restaurant quality. “He will really be able to help our customer, by imparting his knowledge and helping to educate people about our great “free – range” meat and also the best way to cook and eat it” says Julia.
Gingin Beef’s philosophy is to produce and sell the best quality grass-fed beef in Western Australia. Their catch phrase is “Taste the difference”. And from a non-meat eater, Julia almost convinced me to convert!!!!! Instead I got my Dad to trial it for me, he gave it two thumbs up, trust me when I say he is extremely fussy when it comes to meat…so it must have been good!!!
Have you been searching for a natural alternative for pain relief? A heat pack that will stay in place long after you’ve first positioned it? Are you tired of shuffling around or sitting like a statue so your heat pack hits the right spot?
These are the questions that you will answer when you first visit the Therma-Eze website. I think many of us can say we have used those awkward heat packs that you ever so gentle place on your shoulders, only for it to slowly slip off with the first hint of movement or place a heat pack on your lower back and then try and figure out how to keep it there……maybe you have been as inventive as my dad and strapped your heat pack on with a belt??? Well those days are over!!
Therma-Eze is the brain child of the Hoover family. Back in 2008, Angela became victim to a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis, called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Her arthritis was so severe that she spent a year in bed. Overcome with the pain and multitude of drugs, she wanted to find a natural non-harmful why to reduce her pain. Her Mum, Noelene, also an arthritis sufferer designed a “wrap around” style heat pack that Angela could use on her thoracic area. The “wrap around” idea came from many frustrating days of Angela and her mum using the standard heat packs that require you to be stationary when using them, or use your hands to hold them in place, which naturally makes it difficult to get on with your everyday life.
Their design was simple, yet genius, they designed and manufactured a range of heat packs that are specific to certain parts of your body. Each pack is specifically tailored to mould to that part of the body and is held in place by a Velcro patch, for the neck/shoulder packs they have pockets for counter weights, which ensure a snug fit. The materials used to make the heat packs are also simple, Polar Fleece and Lupin Seeds! The polar fleece was chosen for comfort and durability, not to mention the variety of colours….and let’s face it, we all want to look good when easing our pain!! I am also told polar fleece retains heat better than the corduroy heat packs that you commonly see on the market. The lupin seeds were chosen because of their lighter weight compared to wheat, they also have near to no odour once they are heated and they retain their heat for far longer. The other great thing is that the packs are completely chemical free.
Therma-Eze currently has seven heat packs available, covering all the major areas on the body including a pack for the neck, shoulders, thoracic, wrist, ankle, knee and lower back. But here’s the best part, they have also designed an eighth pack called the “Preggie-Pack”. Angela tells me it was “designed to ease discomfort for expectant mums, it sits securely on the pelvis while the Lupin filled belt distributes soothing warmth over the hip-bones and groin”. How great is that!!! To see these heats packs in action you can see them on the very funky mannequins Angela has at her stall or she will let you test one and give you a demonstration on exactly how to use and place them.
The price point for these little gems is more than reasonable when you consider that Angela does majority of the sewing and all the filling of the packs. Prices vary depending on what type of pack you are getting, but start from $25.95 for the ankle-pack, up to $59.95 for the thoracic-pack. You can purchase online or if you would like to speak to the lady behind this wonderful product, then come down to the Subi Farmers Market on Saturday. For more information visit Therma-Eze website
Chai Baba is an interesting name for a business and the women behind it, is even more interesting. Jessica Sibson is the founder of Chai Baba Masala Tea, formally a nurse looking to create an independent income to supplement her profession, in doing so, she created the raging success that is all things chai.
Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with ‘pie’) is the word for tea in many parts of the world. For those, who unlike myself are Chai Latte drinkers, and are caffeine addicts, here is a quick crash course on what a “Chai” is?? Masala chai (literally “spiced tea”) is a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. The traditional masala chai is a bracing, strongly spiced beverage brewed with so-called “warm” spices. The basic chai wallah tea uses fresh ginger and green cardamom pods.
So now that you know what “Chai” is, I can now go on to tell you that Jess was not satisfied with the variety of Chai tea on the market. She realised that there was a large demand out there for a chai tea that contained less (to no) caffeine and of course less sugar, being a former nurse Jess was very conscious of this fact, and naturally has an infinity to healthy, non-harmful and pure products. So when developing her Masala tea she went to great lengths to ensure that her recipe not only contained the core ingredients that make a extraordinary chai tea, but was a healthier option compared with those currently on the market. Jess tells me that her “Masala Chai is strong and natural, and that’s what sets her apart from the others”. Not surprisingly, Jess’s Masala Tea is stocked in some of the Western Suburbs most well known shops, such as Licorice Fine Foods, Baker & Hale, and of course she has her wonderful stall at the Subi Farmers Market.
Chai Baba at the Subi Farmers Market is not just the hot and iced Chai drinks, it is much, much more. Jess and her team also make the most amazing fresh juices, which contain such ingredients as organic beetroot and ginger, lemon and lime. Sticking with their Indian theme they also make Lassi’s, which is a blend of yogurt with water, salt, and spices, Jess makes three flavours, Mango, Cardamon, and Rosewater. So if “Chai” is not your cup of tea then you can try one of her other delicious drinks.
Just when you think I am finished I have one more exciting piece of news…..Jess in a few days time will be opening her first café! With her fiancée and a small team, Jess will open “The Attic” on Wednesday the 16th of March. The Attic is located in the gorgeous suburb of Fremantle, (yes in one of those awesome, old high ceiling buildings). Jess tells me that when designing the space she wanted to put to good use her years of collecting antiques & retro furniture. I am told that the space is “really sustainable, and eco-friendly, it keeps strong the idea of recycle and reuse”. I am told that the old antique lights are to die for, as too the artists Muriel that has been painted on the wall.
The Attic will be serving a “thoughtful” European style menu, with tapas style food, salads and gourmet wraps. A little birdie also tells me that “Tom the Greek” (another Subi Farmers Market Stall) will also be providing their tasty Greek treats. You will also be able to taste test the two new flavours of Chai that Jess has just finished creating….Yum!
The Attic will be one of those places that you will feel instantly comfortable in, a place that makes you feel like you have come home……I know that’s a big statement, but it’s one I think Jess and her team will easily achieve and surpass! You will find it them at 16 Bannister St, Fremantle.
Gluten Free Cookie Company
The Gluten Free Cookie Company came to be in 1977. Founder Jenny Holton started her business when she realised the demand for “gluten free” foods was increasing at a rapid rate. Having owned a string of successful restaurants, she noticed that more and more of her customers were asking for gluten free options, while wanting to provide this for her customers she discovered that there were limited options available, and those that were available were of poor quality. Jenny tells me that she decided “she could do better”, and so she started making a variety of gluten free cookies.
Jenny is very passionate about “gluten free” products; her desire to create delicious cookies and breads goes beyond the fact that she too has an intolerance to gluten. She has spent many years experimenting to get just the right flavour, texture and consistency. Most of us know that some gluten free products are bland; lack flavour and a lot of the time resemble sawdust!! Well I can safely say that Jenny has mastered her recipes and brings to the gluten free world tasty treats that will not disappoint.
In the last 5 years Jenny has really started to focus on her extensive range of breads, and according to Jenny it has taken those 5 years to make a perfect “gluten free loaf”. That said she tells me “it’s still not perfect, but it is getting there, every Sunday I clear the kitchen and start to make different loaves of bread, I wait for the lightbulb to go off and sometimes it takes 7 or 8 lightbulbs before I get a the right recipe”. But her customers are the telling sign that it is perfect, Jenny has a massive repeat clientele and might I add that 30% of those are not even gluten intolerant, but rather like the fact that her bread is very much like a European bread and so it appeals to a wider audience. Especially those who like a “farmhouse” heavier style loaf.
Jenny’s bread gets two complaints, the first being that it makes wonderful toast and so there is never enough to make a sandwich and the second being that it tastes so much like normal bread, that more often than not is sent back with the words, “I think I have been given the wrong roll, I wanted the gluten free one”!! As far as complaints go I reckon these are not so bad……
Jenny is in the midst of refurbishing and fitting out a new warehouse in Leederville which is soon to be finished, with this will come a website and the ability to order online. For now though you will have to come down to the Subi Farmers Market to get your bread. As for the cookies Jenny is well known with some of the larger shopping chains such as IGA, Farmer Jacks, Herdsman Fresh and Fresh Provisions, but of course you can buy her wonderful cookies at the Subi Farmers Market too. Now if you’re wondering about price, Jenny’s bread is very reasonably priced at $7.00 – $8.00 per loaf, and for a packet of cookies you are looking at $6.00.
Jenny has quite the product range, from a Mulit-seed Loaf, a Quinoa Loaf, a Buckwheat Loaf, even a Fennel & Fig Loaf, and that’s just to mention a few. Now for the best kept secret…..Jenny makes wonderful Hot Cross Buns! With Easter fast approaching make sure you come down to the Subi Farmers Market to buy either your “traditional” or “chocolate” gluten free hot cross buns….but you better be quick!!!!
Fremantle Market Seafood
Edmund Phillips and his business partners have been bringing the freshest seafood to our doors for the last year and a half. When I say “to our doors” I really do mean it. Fremantle Market Seafood is a home delivery business; they are like those gorgeous old-fashioned milk delivery services, the ones where they actually provide the “shop to door” customer service!
These days the “home delivery” concept really is a dying practice when it comes to customer service, so when I asked Ed why they chose to run their business this way, he said that it is because people are time poor, families are busy worrying about everything from kids to work to appointments etc, etc. Ed and his partners decided that they wanted to take the hard work out of the equation for their customers; the easiest way to do this was to create an “on-line” business and then deliver direct. Ed makes me laugh because he says, “ everyone is shopping online today, so it is only appropriate that you can catch your fish online too”. Ed & the team personally call each customer to arrange the delivery time, which is generally between 4.00pm & 8.00pm. This personalised service means that your fish is in a temperature-controlled environment, which adds to their mission to bring you the freshest quality seafood.
So together with their desire to bring top quality fish to the West Australian end user, as well as great customer service “to your door”, they really are proving that they can swim with the big fish. They buy direct from the fisherman (the first catch of the day), ensuring that you get the freshest seafood available.
This family owned business prides itself, not only on providing the freshest seafood, but they have over 33 varieties of fish, prawns and shell fish to tempt your taste buds. When I asked Ed what his favourite fish was he said “something mild”, probably snapper”! He goes on to tell me that their range of fish is more on the mild side, as they try to cater to the tastes of families and kids.
Now if you are wondering, as I was, how much their seafood costs then you will be pleasantly surprised. Ed tells me that their seafood is very reasonably priced, as they don’t want people to see seafood as a “luxury item”. For $120-$130 you can get 2-3 weeks worth of seafood. They even have specials on offer such as the “Starter Pack”, “Single Pack”, “Deluxe Pack” and an “Entertainers Pack”…..to see what’s in these fabulous packs simply visit the website www.freomarketseafood.com.au
Currently Fremantle Market Seafood delivers to the Western Suburbs. If you are outside their delivery area you can always order online and then pick your order up from the Subi Farmers Market, each Saturday from 8.00am till 12.00pm.
I think Fremantle Market Seafood’s home delivery service and online ordering system are it’s best assets, that and the guaranteed freshness has me Hook, Line and Sinker!
Fourteen years ago Camilla Sundbladh began her skincare journey, she tells me that it was one of those “ah ha” moments in life, you know the one when the penny drops and you ask yourself why you didn’t do this sooner!!!
Camilla grew up in Sweden and was inspired by her Grandmother, who used and understood nature and all it had to offer. Camilla was lucky enough as a kid to learn about the healing elements of plants and foods, and as most kids she was very opened to this wonderful experience. Like most teenagers Camilla lost interest until one day when she was reading an article in a Health & Wellbeing Magazine, and was disgusted at what she was reading. The article discussed all the harmful side effects from the nasty chemicals that are used in skincare products. Camilla promptly went into her bathroom cupboard and was horrified to see that the skincare products she was using contained these harsh chemicals.
From that day on Camilla decided that she would no longer subject her body to these poisons and decided to look around for natural products, she travelled around the world trying to find a natural product that she was happy with. She landed in San Francisco and found herself at the renowned Rainbow Health Food Shop, where she found products that were natural but still contained some harmful chemicals. Still not satisfied she arrived back in Australia and started researching plants and foods that she could turn into a skincare range. She spoke constantly with her Grandmother and drew on her wisdom and knowledge, greatly helping her to produce a bio-compatible formula that helps promote healthy and supple skin.
Camilla started making herself skincare products, but of course to make a batch meant that she would have some left over which she decided to package up. She let her previous creative design skills as an Architectural Designer shine through, and had a ball designing and hand making her packaging. It did not take long for her friends to start telling her that she should be selling her fantastic products, and so Xquisit Organics was born. In 1997 she hit the ground running with 5 products and now 14 years later has an amazing 18 products in her range, with another 5 coming soon, all made from organic ingredients, many sourced directly from organic farms in Australia. Not only is Xquisit Organics one of the very few organic skincare ranges available, but Camilla manufactures all the products herself….yes that’s right manufactured in her Fremantle workshop. Camilla goes to great lengths to ensure that her product is of the highest quality, making only small batches at any given time, which means that your product is quality assured to be fresh.
Speaking of her Fremantle workshop, Camilla is about to launch her Xquisit Room, set to open on the 1st of March. These therapy rooms will be used for healing remedies such as massage and Reiki. When you visit the Xquisit Rooms you might even be lucky enough to see inside the workshop were this amazing product is produced.
When I asked Camilla which of her 18 products was her favourite, she states her “Body Dew” followed closely by her daily moisturizer (with added sunscreen). Her range is vast, from Facemasks to lip balms, cleansers to toners as well as hand and foot balms, the products range from $10.00 up to $50.00. Camilla is very savvy when it comes to her products. You can either buy direct from her or online on her sleek website xquisit.com.au, she is also at the Subi Farmers Markets every weekend. For more info on Xquisit Organics visit her website where you can also join her on facebook where she is constantly imparting her knowledge on all this skincare! Oh and did I mention that if you go and join her facebook page, you could go into the February Freebie Draw to win a fabulous Xquisit Organics product. Come down and check out Xquisit Organics this week and discover what your skin is missing!
Here at the Subi Farmers Market we are very lucky……maybe blessed is a better word, because we get to experience the superb mastery of Riki Kaspi. For those of you who have not encountered Riki and her Moroccan Inspired Marinades then you are in for a wonderful treat.
Most people will remember Riki as the owner and chef of the acclaimed Riki Blake’s Café in North Perth, which closed its doors in 2009. After her extremely successful business, she and her husband Heni took well-earned break travelling to their homeland, and reigniting their passion for Israeli cuisine.
Upon her return to Australia, she found she had many of her old restaurant customers complaining that they were unable to create, nor find a product that would allow them to cook Moroccan style food. Armed with this Riki decided that she wanted to be able to provide the Chermoula Marinades that would allow her customers to recreate similar “restaurant” quality dishes without having to go outside their home. When you ask Riki what her main inspiration is she will tell you that she took a lot of motivation from Blake’s and wanted to provide “authentic Moroccan flavours” that could be used with chicken, lamb & fish. She spent many months experimenting to get the flavours just right , the result being 5 fabulous marinades, a Chicken Chermoula, Lamb Chermoula , Fish Chermoula and also two Harrissa’s a Mild & Hot.
For those who don’t know what a Chermoula is, it is a marinade that is made from the right mix of spices, herbs, garlic, salt and oils. Riki however describes her Chermoula as the perfect blend of freshly toasted, hand ground, spices, combined with fresh herbs, “this wonderful poetry of flavours now allows you to cook your very on Moroccan dishes, in your own kitchen”. It is worth mentioning that Riki’s marinades contain 12 different spices including cumin, coriander, cinnamon and paprika, mint, parsley, onion and garlic all hand ground into a paste. Riki’s well thought out marinades mean that all you need to do is combine onion, tinned tomatoes, your choice of meat,add dried fruit such as prunes, apricots, dates and a tablespoon of honey served on a beautiful golden mound of cous cous and hey presto your Moroccan dish is complete. How easy is that!
Riki’s stall at the Subi Farmers Markets is fittingly called “Moroccan Spices”, you will immediately notice the attention to detail, with Moroccan inspired décor, packaging and of course Riki and her flare for Moroccan fashion!! It really is a wonderful sight.
You can purchase a small part of Moroccan heaven each week at the markets, a 200 gram jar is $10.00. Riki and her team have only been trading at the SFM for 2 and a half months, but you would never know this given they are selling 200 jars a day!!! At the same time you can also purchase the Cous Cous that Riki recommends best compliments her marinades.
Now for the best part…Riki let me in on a secret while interviewing her this week at the Markets she will be introducing her famous Dukkah to the mix……and I can tell you now it wont disappoint, so don’t miss out!
Blazing Saddles Chilli Plant Co
Blazing Saddles Chilli Plant Co is the name of the hottest new stall at the Subi Farmers Market. I say “hottest” for two reasons, the obvious being that the heat in the Chilli Plants they sell are scored at 8/10 for the Seven Brothers variety and 15/20 for the Partymix variety. However this is not the only reason the Chilli Co is hot property! The founder of Blazing Saddles is 11 years old…yes that’s right he is 11!! I can’t tell you how many people walked past me at the information stand on Saturday morning saying “how cool are those kids”!!
Callum tells me that the idea for the Chilli Plant business was born over a meal at the local Chinese Restaurant. Callum’s Dad, and older brother (14 years) make up this formidable team. They burst onto the Subi Farmers Market scene two weeks ago , rolling up in a pale blue vintage kombi van packed to the brim with exotic looking Chilli Plants. Between you and me I think Dad is only around to drive the boys to the selling location, as he becomes rather redundant once the selling begins and you watch Callum and his brother work their magic on the customers. Both are knowledgeable and ever so polite telling their customers not only how to look after their newly acquired plant, but also suggesting recipes that the chillis go best in! Listening to both boys sell their product with such zeal and a “matter of fact” attitude makes you want to buy the plant then and there…I am fairly sure that those who had not intended to by a plant walked away with one anyway!
The Chilli Business has been hard work for the boys as they juggle school and the responsibility of looking after the chilli plants from seedlings into semi mature plants. The boys tell me that before they could afford the reticulation in the plant growing area they had to get up at 4.45am to water the plants and rotate them so the right amount of sun hit them at exactly the right time. Apparently, now that Dad has installed the reticulation the boys don’t have to get up so early to baby the plants!! That said though it is worth mentioning that all three of them decided that if they were to get into the plant business, then growing them from seeds was the only way to go. This way they could be fully aware of how the plant was treated from seed to sell, this no doubt adds to the passion that all three have for their product.
The Chilli Plants are $15.00 each, whether you want to buy a gift for someone or need a chilli plant to kick start your vege garden I recommend that you pop down to the Subi Farmers Market to see them for yourself…and maybe if you’re lucky you will see the “fire in the eyes” of the boys who are sell this wonderful product.
For more information and for other selling locations visit www.blazingsaddleschilliplants.com. Oh and did I mention that you will also find some delicious recipes that best compliment their chillis on their website ……now isn’t that service!
When asked what El Asador brings to the Subi Farmers Market, the answer is easy “a taste of Argentine” says Emily Deleuil the Creative Director behind El Asador. In March El Asador will celebrate its first birthday, and this small business really deserves to celebrate. In its short life its Chimichurri has won First Place at the Royal Show 2010 in the Vegetable and Vinegar section as well as an amazing third place in the Pesto category for the Chimichurri Verde.
A lot can be said for passion, with Max Pineiro at the helm, his love for his “place of birth” is evident in the products that he creates. His childhood was spent learning and appreciating the Argentinean way of cooking, fast being the “Asador” of his family, the result being products that are based on Argentinean recipes with a modern adaptable twist. As Emily said “We were always having friends over for barbeques and they would ask for the recipes so that they too could recreate that “Argentinean taste” using great Australian meat”, and so El Asador was born.
El Asador is fast becoming known for their authentic freshly made sauces, delicious and nutritious teas and also dried herbs and barbecue seasons, salts and rubs helping you to create authentic Argentinean cuisine at home. Their sauces are vegetarian and vegan friendly and surprisingly Gluten Free. Max and Emily’s products do not contain artificial colours or preservatives so their sauces are healthy, versatile and easy to use so that it can be used in everyday meals.
Their Chimichurri sauce and other products are also very reasonable in price, which also makes the product so attractive. You can buy a 300g pot for $13.95 or and 80g pouch of Seasons, Herbs or Salts for $8.95. Of course they have thought of everything as they also produce a Dulce de Leche, for those who haven’t heard of this before it is a popular Spanish sweet milk which according to Max and Emily can be used on pancakes, cheesecakes, cakes and every sweet meal you make. “If a recipe requires you to make caramel this can also be used as a convenient simple and delicious alternative”. And don’t worry for all the tea lovers out there they also make Yerba Mate (coming soon) which is a healthy, unique and nutritious tea that is drunk throughout Argentina and said to improve health and vitality. It also comes in a range of flavors lemon, orange, mint and natural.
El Asador really is a recipe for success, Emily and Max work seamlessly as a team and merely watching them work their magic together is inspiration enough to go home and create a small part of Argentina in your own kitchen!!
So where can you find this fantastically unique product? At the Subi Farmers Markets each fortnight, you will also find them at most of the Food Festivals around Perth.
You can also visit their website www.elasador.com.au for more information.