Wednesday, March 23, 2016


To be a locavore, one really needs to find their local market, or if they can buy produce in their local town. I live at Baralaba, which makes it difficult to buy local produce. I do remember years ago a family moved here from Victoria and they put a lot of effort into planting grapes, growing asparagus and other vegetables.  Unfortunately they didn't last.....was it to soon or was it just too far  to transport  their product. I do know that I did buy their produce then, but maybe not enough people did. Incidentally some of the asparagus I have in my garden now was dug out of their paddocks long after they left.

Because I take our meat to the markets in Rockhampton and Yeppoon, I am lucky that I go to the markets often enough (every two weeks) to be able to get all my fruit and veg there.

I find that the local market (farmers market if you are lucky enough to have one) is the best place to buy your produce. You can and should engage with the stall holder. Ask them if the produce is theirs, ask them how they grow it, ask them whatever you want. If they are open to your questions (provided they are about their produce and not the meaning of life) then you will be able to make the judgement whether you want to buy their product. For instance, they may not be organics, but may try to reduce and limit the amount of chemicals used.

As a stall holder myself, I know how important relationships are. I know how great it is to have conversations about food. I know that the customer needs to have the peace of mind to know that what you tell them is fair dinkum and that you are farming responsibly. If they aren't completely transparent, maybe you need to wonder whether what they are saying is correct. If your market is not a designated farmers market or if said farmers market allows wholesalers in, you as the customer really need to shop where you feel that you can trust that the stall holder is telling you the facts.

I've gotten to know who is who at the markets and I've worked out who's fruit and veg will last the best. Although I like to support everyone and I just make sure I use the shorter life stuff first! Also keep in mind that some of the wholesalers do also sell local produce, alongside the non local. If they are wise, they will label the local stuff.

And of course don't forget the people that make stuff! It's not just about the food, but supporting local businesses.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chickens and Roosters

This afternoon we processed 7 poultry. We have had an explosion of chooks over the last 12 months and have been trying very hard to cull them all before Easter. I can just imagine one of our guests walking into their tent (a lot of the family are camping) and standing on an egg, or  a chicken walking in and scaring the heck out of one of the kids......this is what happens when you have real free range chicken. In the past we've really just done the roosters, but numbers are ridiculous, so hens are going too.

Tonight I decided to just put all the feet and necks into the crock pot and I'm going to have a go at a continuous broth. It won't be continuous for too long, probably only about 3 days - I'll see how it goes. I normally mix it up a bit and use chicken carcasses, feet, trotters, pork bones and beef bones. The idea of a continuous broth, is that after the first 12 hours, you start drawing stock off and using it. Then you top up with more water and throw in any bones or vegetable water that you have. Make sure that you cook it for several hours before using it, if they are bones that have already been chewed on!

Dinner was pork osso bucco, stir fried vegies and mashed potato and pumpkin. Potatoes were the only thing not local, except for all the spices etc in the osso bucco. I threw the bones into the crock pot too.

I went to the markets last weekend and stocked up on LOTS of fruit and veg for the party.
My list:
button squash
snake beans
guada beans
sweet corn
baby corn
red onions (this will be the last of them)
sweet potato - white and orange

If I can't prepare a feast with that, then I'm no sort of cook!!! These are all grown Locally, so I'm very lucky to have such good farmers in the area. In my garden I have lettuce, ceylon spinach, kankong, perenial spinach, silver beet (not much of these two survived summer, but what's left is going well now), kale, eggplant and plenty of herbs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

One week of locavore living

Well, a week in - how has eating local been for you? Kim stopped at our not so local roadside stall on Tuesday and yay, we have avocados again! Every week we go to Biggenden and we often come back home through Gin Gin.  This is a small town on the Bruce highway near Bundaberg and so is Part of a large veggie growing region.  It has seasonal produce and has been pretty sparse of late. Last year we were eating avos with everything so I'm looking forward to it. At 6 for $5 it's pretty good value.  He did however forget to stop at the other stall that sells really good corn.

Do you stop at roadside stalls? It's good when you have regular ones because you get to know what's good and what's not. Sometimes you even get to meet the farmer, which is always a bonus.

Traveling is a great way to see what food is growing elsewhere and you can start to work out what should be in season. Seasonal food is healthier than food that has been stored - tastier too. I'm off to the markets this weekend and to do my fortnightly fruit and veg shop. Just in time too, as the fridge is getting a bit bare. The other good thing about eating local and in season is the keeping time. Food lasts longer when you get it fresh.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Locavore Party

Kim and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage this April. I am also turning 50! We decided that we'd celebrate this at Easter time, so that there was plenty of time for people to travel - my family is spread from Central Qld to Northern NSW, and Kim's is as far as Western Qld and Western Australia, so people need a little time to travel.

Because it was my party I decided to do a themed party - no colours or costumes - Local Food would be the focus. I'm not going to be a Nazi about it, but I am going to endeavour to have all the meat and produce as local produce. I can source quite a few vegies locally and of course we have all the meat you could want, so it's not too hard really.

The menu, very loosely (because it will depend on what I can get this weekend) will be spit pig, roast beef and roast turkey. Sides will be potato bake, tossed salad and a roast vegie salad. Nibblies of prawns, salami and cheese etc.

Some of the usual suspects for these things will be hard to source locally so I have to allow for a few things.
  • Potatoes aren't available locally at the moment, so I will be subbing sweet potatoes. Luckily our local guy has had white sweet potatoes, so I think I will fool the kids!
  • There is not much in the way of salad greens around at present, except hydroponics, which I don't normally like to eat. However, this weekend I will just have to suck it up and buy some hydroponic lettuce - at least it supports a local farmer. I have been trying to grow lettuce for months now and every time I plant seedlings, the heat just kills them. I have finally managed to get some endive to survive, and so along with some Ceylon spinach I might have enough for a few salads. However people are staying all weekend, so I need some back up stuff too.
  • Roast veggie salad is easy, as I can get zucchini and tomatoes  and I have eggplant growing. I also still have some local onions and local garlic.
Desert will be pavlova, fruit salad, cheese (quark) cake and choc macadamia cake and my cream, so 80% of the ingredients will be from here or the local markets.

Bread will be homemade. My brother is coming from Gunnedah so I've asked him to bring some bread flour - it's milled in Gunnedah - that's local to him. My sister is bringing the prawns - they are local to her. Another brother (if I remember to ask him) is bringing cheese from the Sunshine Coast - that's local to him. I also have two brothers bringing home made cheese and I have a little bit of homemade cheese too. We will be making our own dips - from my quark and other local and homegrown things.

Anyone who is travelling is encouraged to stop at any road side stalls too - but that is another topic for another day.....roadside stalls are my favourite stop when travelling!

So eating locally is not hard, it just requires thought.....and staying away from supermarkets. To shop local, you need to go to the local markets, local butchers or greengrocers may also support local farmers. Remember to ask when you are shopping. The more we ask for it, the more likely shopkeepers will take notice.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 2 Locavore Challenge

I was very lucky to get given a big bag of fresh peanuts (raw) the other day. These were picked up on a road side stall by a friend.  I'll shell them all and use some to make peanut butter and we'll use some for snacks, plus party nibbles.

Tonight's dinner which was frightfully late.....Due to many and various reasons - I did spend quite a bit of time in the garden this afternoon, perhaps that had something to do with it!

Chicken wings and USA ribs cooked in the oven in a sesame, soy, ginger, garlic (etc) sauce, with rice (not local) and veggies (all local) baked in the oven. This wings and ribs were home grown.

What did you eat today that was locally produced?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Locavore Challenge

I am hosting a Locavore Party over the Easter period. There are a couple of significant events that I want to celebrate and Easter weekend is a good opportunity to get people from far and wide together. I decided to have a theme of "Locavore" as to me that means, supporting local business, local farmers and local communities - they are all connected. Too few people realise the interconnectedness, and as that's my main philosophy, why not emphasize it. So.....I had a brain wave tonight while eating my dinner, that our main food is Local and leading up to the party I will highlight my local food choices

Tonights dinner was delicous!

Steak,chips and salad (I do apologise for the half eaten picture, but the brain wave to record it only happened half way through when I realised how good it was)

Topside steak - our own and as good as any rump I've eaten anytime! Edmund BBQ'd this(while he was cooking the chips) while I chopped and mixed up a resting marinade - garlic, chili, parsley, basil, lime juice and olive oil - OO not local :(, the rest is mine or local.
Salad - Ceylon spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, fetta, lime juice, fermented carrots - carrots not local.
Chips, not local, but organic and cooked in goat tallow from our goats.......

I then had to bottle my kombucha and decided on using some lovely local ginger to second ferment.

What do you eat regularly that's local? Please follow along with my locavore challenge and see what you can find and eat that's either home grown or'll be fun and rewarding!