Mirboo Farm is situated in the hamlet of Mirboo, smack in the middle of the glorious Strezleki Ranges, 11km from Mirboo North. Mirboo Farm is a 10 acre small commercial garlic producer run by Kirsten and David Jones, who are moving into their 6th year of production. Kirsten uses organic methods to produce around 500kg of Red Italian hardneck, Monaro Purple, and Red Italian softneck varieties, outstanding in flavour and juiciness, and easy to peel. New this season is Spanish Roja, a long storing variety that will keep through till September.
Mirboo Farm have spent five years experimenting with garlic varieties to find the cultivars that enjoy the local climate and soil type. Garlic likes a cold winter, and the average annual 1200ml rain, mostly over winter/spring, then a late-warming Spring /early Summer. The warmth and drying-off period Oct/Nov are most important for a good crop, as the bulbing process happens very late in garlic development. In 2014, Mirboo Farm’s Monaro Purple garlic was awarded a Silver Medal at the RASV Fine Food Awards, and although Kirsten says she grows garlic for enjoyment, and the satisfaction of producing wonderful Australian food, a little kudos is nice too!
This season's garlic will be avaliable for eating and planting through till May. In addition to growing garlic, managing a huge herd of 6 angus steers, and some wayward chooks, Kirsten and her daughter Felicity also enjoy running a local produce business, The Meeniyan Store, focusing exclusively on bringing our wonderful local produce straight from the farm to a store. Kirsten also manages the kitchen garden there.
Mirboo farm garlic is available from the Prom Country Farmers Market this Saturday February 20th. You’ll find Kirsten, and more than 20 other local producers in the grounds of the FWMAC Hall in Foster’s Main Street from 8am-12noon.
Understanding where your food came from is important because you are what you eat. The Prom Country Farmers Market is lucky to have over twenty stall holders who aim to provide you with the best quality produce they can. Our feature stall holder is no exception.
Wayne Cripps has been fishing professionally for decades. In a very heavily regulated industry, Wayne and his wife Linda are beholden to the weather, tides, catch limits and size restrictions. This means they sell you the most local, fresh fish you can imagine. Corner Inlet is home to many fish species, and most commonly Wayne has Gummy Shark, King George Whiting and Flathead available at the market.
At times, Wayne’s spot at the market is bare because he couldn’t get out in our terrible weather, or the catch was small and there wasn’t enough to go around, but when he can, his loyal band of appreciative customers support his hard work.
Everyone has a different approach on how to cook fish, but an easy way to tackle it is to coat the fillets in well-seasoned plain flour and fry in a small amount of olive oil in a medium-hot pan. You can tell it’s ready when the fish changes from clear to solid in colour. It will only take a few minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, so make sure the rest of your meal is ready before cooking the fish.
Stall Holder Profiles
Granny Schmidt's Apple Strudel
Charles from Granny Schmidt's Apple Strudel is our feature smallholder this month. Few of our stallholders offer only one item for sale, but Charles specialises and only offers handmade apple strudel. Charles began making strudel in 1978.
His original recipe was more in line with traditional European recipes, where pastry is the focus and filling is the lesser component.
Charles' recipe has evolved and now his strudel contains 70% apple, source from orchards in Warragul. Charles offers strudel by the slice or as a whole log. The strudels freeze well for later use.
Deep Creek Nursery
Continuing the profile series of our stallholders, we'd like to (re)introduce Silvia Cardona from Deep Creek Nursery in Foster. Silvia has been attending the market for four and a half years with her range of mostly edible plants with her partner Paul and their boys Sebastian and Gabriel. Silvia has propagated plants for several local nurseries for over ten years. She became interested in the importance of growing heirloom vegetables from open pollinated seed when she started her own vegetable patch at home because it was hard to find the old fashioned rich flavored varieties. Using heirloom varieties enabled Silvia to start collecting seeds for future crops. Silvia now propagates these seeds and offers a range of heirloom vegetable seedlings, herbs, edible and medicinal plants, and some natives.
Silvia is happy to chat about her plants and the conditions they prefer so that you are able to get the best out of them. This week the selection of seedlings will include kohlrabi, red kale, tuscan kale, broccoli, silverbeet, celery, mixed lettuce, leeks, coriander, beans and tamarillo trees. As a special offer for February, perennial coriander and chocolate chillies will be on sale while stocks last.
The Prom Country Farmers Market is held in the grounds of the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre on the third Saturday of each Month between 8am and 12noon. Come along this Saturday, 25 dedicated producers would love to talk to you about why they love cooking, growing, catching, picking and making for you.
Juneen’s Gourmet Catering
Winter is finally upon us, and while it’s cold and wet, the levels in local dams are starting to improve. For those of us who don’t rely on reticulated water, things were looking a bit grim. This month’s feature producer is Juneen Schulz from Juneen’s Gourmet Catering. Juneen has been attending the market since it’s inception, and is one of the driving forces behind it’s operation.
Juneen is an excellent home cook who is passionate about seasonal food and local produce. With the exception of her delicious fruit cakes and anzac biscuits which don’t have any fresh fruit in them, the baking and preserves that Juneen makes feature heavily with fresh, seasonal ingredients, many of which she has grown in her own permaculture garden. Cumquat marmalade and lemon butter are both popular at this time of year, while many local refrigerators will always have a place for
Juneen’s salad dressing. Juneen’s spice cumquats are something a bit different to eat with ice cream, or to top a cheesecake or dessert cake you’d like to dress up. If you are a lover of fruit cake you are in for a treat. I used to make one at Christmas each year, but after trying Juneen’s, I don’t bother. It is easily one of the best fruit cakes I have eaten, and there is always one in my cake tin, year round. The Prom Country Farmers Market is held on the third Saturday of each month between 8am and 12 noon in the grounds of the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre in Main Street Foster. Come along and re stock you pantry, fridge and garden.
Fisher's Farm Produce
This month's feature producer is Fisher's Farm Produce, our local honey providore. Based in Dumbalk, Sharon and Rob have kept bees for several years. Beekeeping sounds like a romantic and easy past-time, and it is at times, but to look after the bees properly requires time and dedication.
When they are having an active honey producing time (usually Spring and Summer), bees need to be watched to ensure they have sufficient space. As they produce honey, which they are stockpiling for food, they can run out of room quickly in the hive. Keeping an eye on their conditions and activity is essential to ensure they have sufficient room, either by adding another storey to their hive, or by removing honey (robbing the hive). Hives are only robbed when the beekeeper is sure the bees will have sufficient honey, or the ability to produce more, before the weather deteriorates again, making them stay inside and also having reduced access to appropriate food externally.
Sharon and Rob offer a range of local honeys, from their own property and other areas in the district. Pieces of honeycomb are also available, and if you are lucky, Sharon will have some Creamed Honey, a winter treat.
Have a chat to them about bees, and about the different varieties of honey they have. Each food source for the bees results in a different flavour in the honey - some strong, some mild. Sharon and Rob can help you chose the best variety for your taste.
Golden Creek Olives
Last season their oils were recognised at 2014 Australian Olive Association 18th National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Show
• Gold Award for Class 2: (Min 200lt) - Medium - Golden Creek Olives Arbequina/Picual • Silver Award for Class 2: (Min 200lt) - Medium - Golden Creek Olives - Frantoio • Bronze Award for Class 5: Ultra Boutique - Golden Creek Olives - Coratina
Golden Creek Olives will have the 2015 Olio Fresco oil available at the Prom Country Farmers' Market this month but the rest of the oil will be released in September
The weather may have finally become wintery, but it's all part of the cycle of the seasons, and there is still plenty going on in lives of Prom Country Farmers Market's producers. Golden Creek Olives have been attending the Prom Country Farmers market since it first began. Lyn and Andrew Jamieson craft Extra Virgin Olive Oil from olives grown on their property and Fish Creek. They have a passion for producing varietal oils of exquisite aromas and flavours to complement different foods and uses.
Since 1999, they have owned and operated their olive groves and processing facility, growing seven oil-producing olive tree varieties originating from Italy, Greece and Spain.
Golden Creek Olives operate one of the few olive presses in the area, enabling them to produce extra virgin olive oils on-site from their own freshly hand-picked olives and for other growers, using modern 2 phase cold processing equipment to ensure the extra virgin olive oils meet the highest industry standards.
Southern Gippsland offers us rich rewards with our extra virgin olive oils having crisp, fresh flavours and aromas associated with cool climate conditions.
Golden Creek Olives have just completed their harvest for the 2015 season. This unseasonally dry weather has been great for giving time to pick when the olive fruit are at their best for flavour characteristics. The picking season started early this year, Andrew and Lyn picked 8 tonnes of fruit from 30th April to July 9th, producing 1100 litres of extra virgin olive oil. They processed 23 tonnes of olives for other growers over this period also, fitting in their own picking and processing in between contract processes. While 2015 has provided their second biggest crop their focus is very much on producing high oil quality rather than quantity.
Golden Creek Olives provide oil for use at the Foster Primary School BBQ on market days, and for in the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program at the school. Andrew and Lyn encourage you to come along to the market and taste their oils to choose the variety which best matches your expectations and palate. Their oils range from mild to robust, so there is an oil to suit every use in the kitchen.
Amber Creek Farm
Winter weather has set in this past week but the market still operates regardless of the weather. We are lucky to be able to hire the hall if the weather is very unpleasant for stallholders and customers. This month we feature our local free range pork producer Amber Creek Farm.
Located at Fish Creek the farm is 165 acres and two enterprises are run from the property. Sawmilling and timber framing is the main enterprise and growing high quality pasture raised pork for local customers is a what Amber Creek is known for at the market.
Dan and Amelia from Amber Creek Farm are artisanal producers, not a commodity producer. The products are a direct reflection of the region and environment they come from and are shaped by skilled people who turn them from raw materials into things people can eat or use in their lives. The business does not aim to produce the most pork or the most timber for the cheapest price; rather they produce what the land and workers can comfortably create without mining the soil, or relying on mechanization to replace skilled workmanship.
Dan and Amelia subscribe to the assumption that not all food is the same. Price and quantity are not the only factors one should consider when choosing what to put on the table. Quality, nutritive value, local provenance, flavour and the integrity of the farming practices used to produce the goods are all factors that should be given consideration.
The price of Amber Creek Farm products is a reflection of the total imbedded cost of the item. By practising ethical farming and sourcing ethical timber, these recovery methods are not leaving a legacy of denuded land and environmental problems for future generations to repair. On the contrary, they are sequestering carbon, reducing waste, improving soil biology, planting trees, protecting and increasing habitat for wildlife and reducing nutrient run off into waterways.
Amber Creek Farm pigs live in grass paddocks with unfettered access to water, shade and choice of pasture. Their pasture diet is supplemented with grain, fruit, and vegetables.
Fresh cuts of vacuum sealed pork will be available this Saturday, as will smallgoods made from Amber Creek Pork by Rosedale Butchery. The smallgoods include delicious thick cut bacon, homestyle ham, polish sausage (Gluten Free), cabana (Gluten Free), and cheese kransky (Gluten Free).
Amber Creek Farm also offer bulk packs at a significant discount. You can order quarter (approximately 10kg), half, or whole pigs packed to your requirements. These are a great option to share between friends or family.
If you haven’t tried Amber Creek Pork yet, call in and see Amelia at the market on Saturday morning and choose from the huge variety. The flavour will amaze you.
All Things Cheese
The weeks are rushing by quickly, and we are already up to our third market for the year. The market continues to provide an outlet for local producers, and a place for local people to buy quality at a reasonable prices. Introducing another producer this week, a familiar face since the market's inception is Rod Faudel, from Faudel Farmhouse cheese and All Things Cheese.
All Things Cheese is a family owned business with a passion for creating products of the highest quality using the best ingredients available. Rod, Anna and Andrew are the proud owners of Faudel Farmhouse Cheese and Twin Oak Farm located in the picturesque rolling hills of Korumburra which provides plenty of lush green grass and is an idealistic area for dairying.
In 1994 Rod and Carol established a small cheese making operation called Faudel Goat Cheese Company, to supply speciality award winning goat cheese to major cities around Australia. The business since then has concentrated on direct marketing via the local farmers markets. In 2013 Anna and Andrew commenced ownership of the Fairbrother family farm where the cows are milked and the cakes are baked. Centered on the farm are two beautiful old Oak trees. Newly called Twin Oak farm, the tradition continues with a new focus to provide fresh, natural, wholesome family food using milk produced from the cows. Fresh milk is collected twice daily by Andrew and delivered to Faudel Farmhouse Cheese where the cheese made by Rod. Anna then uses the cheese in the Twin Oak Farm kitchen to make a range of delightful baked cheesecakes, quiches, pies and sausage rolls. Cooking time is a family affair with Andrew's mum (Robyn), Sister (Melissa) and Anna's sister (April) all helping to bake for the weekend markets. Eggs are collected daily from the chickens which are free range and vegetables grown seasonally. All other products are sourced from local farmers markets and/or Victorian producers. Rod also brings along his farmhouse cheese staples including Chèvre and marinated Fetta made from goat milk.
The Prom Country Farmers Market will set up again the Saturday morning on the lawn adjacent to the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre. While small in size, the stallholders offer excellent quality produce. You may not have had the opportunity to learn about each producer, or they may have altered their range, so I'll (re)introduce you over coming months. Larkrise Soap is based in Foster and operated by Ros and Jon. Larkrise produce natural handmade soaps, liquid soap, shaving cream, lotions and creams and household cleaning products. The perfume in the products comes only from essential oils from plants, and some are left completely fragrance free. The latest addition to the range are Larkrise eco-clean household cleaning products: surface spray, cleaning paste, laundry soap and gel, dish soap and shower and bath cleaner. Larkrise soaps and non-toxic cleaning goodies are handmade, using only the finest ingredients. With no synthetic fragrances, no dyes, no palm oil, no chemicals with unpronounceable names, the products are mild, gentle and friendly to all the family and to the environment. They're kind to your skin and the skin of even the most delicate member of your family. They're completely biodegradable because they contain only a few truly natural ingredients. If you have particular questions about sensitivities, or which product to use for a cleaning task, talk to Ros and Jon at the market this Saturday.
Prom Country Farmers Market, South Gippsland , Foster