Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Market Day!

I'm on a bit of a thing at the moment (yes, another one!). I'm trying to reduce the amount of processed foods in our diet, and I am also thinking about going a bit organic. I say "a bit" because I think it will be quite difficult to go fully organic, and I also don't know if I really want to - being seriously lazy and all that. I am quite happy with the (non-organic) fruit and vegetables I get from Martellis, and as far as being a one-stop greengrocer they are definitely the place to go. They have everything you could possibly need, including some organic items. For every item, they specify which country it was grown in, but there are only a few items that have the location of the producer within Australia. Strawberries are one such item, and I'm guessing this is just because the producer has their own label on the punnet. Not so helpful with zucchinis and carrots!
One of the other parts of my thing is trying to eat food which has not travelled so far. One of the great products Martelli's introduced me to was free-range eggs from Kellyville, which is only one suburb away. I'm not going to eggs from much closer unless I have the chooks in my own backyard! I have been buying these eggs for about a year, and feeling good about them, but I have also been reading a bit about free range eggs which has raised a couple of little niggles in the back of my mind which make me think it might not be as good as it is made out to be. It appears that you can legally label your eggs free-range as long as your chickens have access to the outdoors. This means you can put a poxy little door in one end of your shed, and even if your chickens never go out that poxy door, you can still say that they are free-range because they could go outside if they had the initiative to push their way through the thousand other chickens in their shed. And those farms whose chickens actually do go outside, but only to scratch around in a big pile of empty dirt with no grass anywhere in site? Still free range.

I was really hoping for something different. You know those pastoral images on the packaging of anything that's supposed to be natural - lush green grass, black and white cows contentedly grazing, chickens happily pecking, that's what I was hoping to find in suburban Sydney! So it was with some trepidation that I thought I would go to the Kellyville farm for a bit of a visit. I love the idea of being able to get locally produced, free range eggs with very little effort on my part. It's good to be able to do something good for yourself and the environment and still be lazy! And I was definitely not disappointed! There were the chickens, happily pecking around in lots of green grass, with plenty of room to flap and squawk and carry on like chickens generally should. As much as I am not the chicken expert, they seemed happy enough to me!

I was also very pleased to find out that this particular farm not only grow their own vegetables, which they sell to the public, but most of them are also organic! So I bought a whole jap pumpkin (which you can see in one of the photos above), some honey, a cucumber, and some roma tomatoes, which even though they are at the end of their season were absolutely beautiful! I'm pretty excited about this farm. It's only a 10 minute drive from home, and I think it will really help us to be more in touch with what is in season, and therefore eat food that is more tasty and more healthy.

In addition to my Kellyville jaunts, I am also going to make some more effort to go to some of the farmers markets. Last weekend I went to the Pyrmont Growers Market, and got lots of exciting things as you can see from the photos above. I'm very excited about the start of apple season. I think apples would be one of my top 5 foods! I got a few different varieties from a few different producers, and GKGK told me last night they are some of the best apples he has ever tasted! That oozy schmoozy cheese you can see is brie from SOMEONE. Unfortunately, I was very silly and didn't get any information from the producer, so now I have no idea who they are, so I can't easily get more. It is so smooth and so full flavoured, I almost ate the whole piece the minute I got home. The lavender came from a flower seller who was packing up and wanted to get rid of his remaining stock. I only paid $2 for it, and I have since remembered a lavender shortbread recipe I have tagged somewhere, so I am going to dry it and bake it!

I got lots of other exciting food but I'll blog about them later. For the moment, I just had to get my "thing" out there and spread my excitement about the Kellyville farm!