Friday, 23 August 2013

Sharing the love with Brona

When did you first discover the joys known as Orange Grove Market

I've known about Orange Grove Markets for about 5 years but only visited for the first time last year when both our boys had finally turned 12 and their weekend sport commitments shifted from Saturdays to Sundays....leaving Saturdays free for marketing!

What is it about these markets that makes it stand out from others

My first visit last year was memorable.  I walked from Birchgrove early one sunny wintry morning.  The markets were already buzzing.

The stallholders were happy friendly and happy for me to taste their wares.  There was a colourful bustle of activity and aromas.  I quickly realised that future visits would require me to pack more carry bags into my backpack for my return trip home!

Is there a "simply must have to have, can't not buy" item and if so, why

My "must" items change depending on the season because my big love is the organic seasonal produce.  At the moment i love the rhubarb


and broccoli.

I usually buy a dozen eggs, some meat for the BBQ, a bunch of flowers (the proteas are amazing right now)

and occasionally some potted herbs or succulents.  I also love the smoked salmon packs as a treat.

When you swing by is it a solo or group expedition

Most of the time I walk up by myself.  I love the early morning quiet time to myself at the end of another busy week.  Occasionally my husband joins me on the walk for a lovely long chat about life, the universe and everything (and OFM knows the answer to THAT question is 42!!)....including our next week's menu!

For anyone who has yet to be introduced to the Saturday Morning Ritual known as Orange Grove Markets, what 5 words of encouragement would you use

Vibrant, colourful, aromatic, fresh eclectic


And on that high note we say a MASSIVE thank you to Brona not only for taking some time to share her love of our markets but for doing couple of amazing pictorial/snap shot blogs which you can check out "here" and "here".

Friday, 16 August 2013

Arlington's: the place where Sago meets Coconuts

Can you give us a little bit of history as to the beginnings of what is now a well entrenched fave Orange Grove Market institution known as Arlington's

Arlington's started out as a fruit & veg/gourmet food store in Seaforth 23 years ago. During this time the brains of the operation (Peter Arlington) created a range of yummy hommus dips to sell at the shop.

The demand grew to the point that we were supplying other shops around Sydney and the range or products grew to include tapioca & yoghurt.

With the huge workload something had to give and we eventually sold the shopfront 3 years ago.  And we haven't looked back since.....

So how long have Arlington's been part of the Orange Grove Market family

At least 3 years

From personal experience, we know that you can't simply stop at buying just "one". What has been the biggest turnover of a single item in a single market day

Thai Chilli Lime Hommus wins every time at both (yep, luckily Arlington's also do our Frenchs Forest Market on a Sunday)....especially at Christmas!

The coconuts are to be seen absolutely everywhere in Summer.  Where do you source these from and why do you think they are the "bomb", so to speak

The coconuts are sourced from Thailand and are the "bomb" because they are the best drink available to rehydrate, while being low in calories, and full of nutrients.  (They are especially helpful with the dreaded weekend hangover!)

What is it about Orange Grove Markets that makes it what it is

Being a family of music lovers, we always enjoy having a spot next to the musicians at Orange Grove!


And there you have it.  A teeny insight in to the phenomena known as Arlington's and trust us when we say, there will be no way you can walk away without purchasing at least two of their yummies.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Sharing the love with Crystal Thomas

How long has Orange Grove Markets been in your life?

We have been going to the markets for as long as they've been there.  I remember when it was a few hay bales and some organic just kept growing!

Are you one of those "got the list, fly in, fly out" type of shoppers or do you like to make a it slow and easy, embracing life, the universe and everything type of experiences

My parents are the ultimate planners.  They go armed with green bags and list.  First is the fruit and veg near the entrance, then the egg stall, then yoghurt from the stall behind the buskers.

My mum then gets a goat's milk smoothie and they head home (across the road), drop off all their goodies and head back to the markets.

My Mum loves to browse all the clothe stalls and my Dad flees (he hates shopping!) and joins the infamous queue for the ultimate bacon & egg roll.

Is there an absolute must-buy every week item and why

A chilli latte from Mayan Coffee, to consume while watching the pony rides and the awesome Inner West multi-tasking Dads - who hold 5 bags, 2 bacon & egg rolls and still manage to film their kids on the ponies while the Mums have a much deserved break with their least that is what I have observed!

Do you have an all time number one favourite recipe made with produce from our markets and are you prepared to share it or would you have to kill us first!

Yes I do!!! It's a raw cabbage salad:
  • 1/2 a cabbage (white or savoy)
  • several birds eye chilli (depending on how you feel about spice)
  • several garlic cloves
  • several French eschalots
  • a lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Finely slice the cabbage and put into a heat-proof bowl.  Chop the chilli, garlic and eschalot, then put them in a pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Cook on medium heat until transparent/golden and turn off the heat.  Squeeze desired amount of lemon juice, add to them to the pan immediately (before the olive oil cools down).  Tip the mixture on to the raw cabbage and mix through.

The heat from the mixture softens the cabbage without cooking it.  

Serve!!!!  It's crunchy an delicious and goes really well with a piece of meat or fish or boiled potatoes to soak up the juices.

this is NOT a photo of the recipe but it's so beautiful 
and made with produce from the markets we simply HAD to include it!

If you had to sum up the Orange Grove Market Inner Westie Saturday ritual in 5 words, what would they be?

Vibrant, community-spirited, delicious and heart-warming!

And with that we thank Crystal for sharing not just her love and photos but an AMAZING recipe!  We think it needs to be tested and tasted sooner rather than later

Friday, 2 August 2013

5 Questions with Andrew, Therese and Near River

How did Near River get to be..Near (the) River?

Almost 7 years ago we left Sydney to set up our organic market farm and follow our dream of being farmers.  We'd recently been re-inspired by attending a David Suzuki lecture that had him finishing the presentation with the words "and for heavens sake, eat organic foods".

After much searching we found our piece of paradise and it has proved to be well sited with shelter from the west and south and an open easterly aspect providing warming morning sun.

The previous owners had been there for 15 years and had run their horses on the 22 acres of alluvial river flats, so the soil was in pretty good shape as it hadn't been chemically farmed for that length of time.

The Pappinbarra River forms the northern boundary of the property and it drains in to the Hastings River which flows past Port Macquarie.

The name finally came to us when our first Telstra bill arrived, with the property name "Near River" as the phone bills can be useful at times!

What was your life prior to Near River

I'm Sydney born and bread and had been a "city farmer" running my own landscaping and garden care centre for 12 years.  I then spent 2 years with a large commercial landscaper (leading many of the teams that planted the 800,000 trees and grasses on the M7 motorway) before doing the "tree change".

We lived in Coogee so got to spend time by the ocean, so one of the parameters for the property was that it had to be no more than an hour away from the coast. Therese (who is originally from Ireland) has a career in Project Management with Mobile Communications carriers and works in Sydney 4 days each week.  I then travel down on Friday evenings with a load of fresh produce and we man the stall together each Saturday morning before returning to the farm for the weekend.

You are now a fully entrenched and much loved trader at Orange Grove Markets.  How do you find life as a stallie

We love the opportunity to interact directly with our customers.  As farmers we have an untold number of variables to deal with, so receiving accolades from the end user in person is the added reward for what we do.  

Each week we are both pleasantly surprised by the unsolicited feedback that we get aside from our commitment to supplying our community with nutrient dense food, it's what keeps us going.

You are passionate and an advocate for living a more sustainable life.  What would be 3 basic steps that we could all do in order to assist in reducing our own carbon footprint, small though it may be

Eat Local Food: and as customers at Orange Grove Markets you are already doing that but the benefits run very deep.  By doing this, your food is as close to its nutritional peak as it can be.  Your money stays in your community.  Food is seasonal for a reason and our bodies respond to that: your farmers will be happy!

If you eat meat, ensure it is sustainably raised: aside from the benefit to the animal's health which is then reflected in the quality of the meat, pasture raised enterprises have a much lighter impact on the environment than feedlots and the like.

Pass on your knowledge of cooking food to a younger generation (or go find out for yourself!): growing your own food, even if it's just some herbs at the back door, has you connected with the soil, the seasons and nature. And the benefits of home cooking and sharing meals made with love are many.  We are keen supporters of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Scheme (click "here" for more information) and are so pleased that funding has now been provided to have this available in every school.

Through being a marketeer, what has been one of the more profound experiences you have had in your time at Orange Grove Markets

The most profound experiences are always with the children where parents say things like "My daughter doesn't normally eat any tomatoes but I couldn't keep her away from yours - they're so sweet and tasty".

It's also about connection and feedback - finding out how people use our preserves, or how they cook with our garlic or the meals and celebrations they have had using our ducks and chickens or how many people rave about our eggs ("I can't eat any other eggs now" is a common refrain).

Allowing people to shake the hand of the farmer that grows their food and then taking that food into their homes and families is a most profound and empowering experience for us.


Now we could not let this piece end without a stand out photo taken of said farmer, but before we do we thank Andrew & Therese for being who they are, continually sharing their amazing produce and sharing a little bit of their lives with us and thankfully you can catch up with them every Saturday at Orange Grove Markets!