Thursday, 28 August 2014

CLS Ethical Shopping

Can you give us a little bit of background behind CLS Ethical Shopping 

CLS Ethical Shopping trades directly with a small group of Cambodian community development organisations and social enterprise businesses. The products that we have in our online store and market business are fair and ethically handmade by the organisations.

CLS Ethical Shopping also promotes and donates regular funds raised ethically handmade by the organisations.  CLS Ethical Shopping also promotes and donates regular funds raised from our product sales to the development organisation, Chumkriel Language School in Cambodia.

How did it come to be such an integral part of your world

I began CLS Ethical Shopping in 2010 after returning from my year long volunteer period with the community based development organisation Chumkriel Language School (CLS) in Cambodia (read more about them "here")

I wanted to remain involved and continue my support to CLS.  The perfect way to do this was to also support and trade with other Cambodian organisations by selling their gorgeous products here in Australia.

In 2012, when I had my baby son, CLS Ethical Shopping expanded to become a sustainable WAHM  (Work at Home Mum) Business whilst continuing to donate regularly to Chumkriel.

Getting the word out and educating people is a pretty hard job to do, but with social media and other marketing methods perhaps it's become just that little bit easier. What role do markets like Orange Grove play in not only maintaining the efficacy of Fair Trade, but helps get the word out there

Having a stall presence at markets such as Orange Grove, provides me with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with people and share my story and passion for sustainable development and fair trade principles.

It enables me to talk about the benefits that can be achieved by supporting small grass-root organisations that work hand-in-hand with vulnerable communities in Cambodia to improve their future prospects.  I find that sharing my personal experience is valued and appreciated far more than any advertising campaign.

Predominantly babies/childrens toys, clothing, accessories with some stuff in there for Mum too.  Why did you select this particular range

The organisations that I have chosen to trade were hand-selected whilst I lived in Cambodia.  I've chosen the range of products, not only for their bright colourful appearance and high quality craftmanship, but I also spent a lot of time learning about which organisation programmes were well run and had trustworthy backgrounds.

Some of the products are also my own designs that I get ethically handmade by the social enterprise Dorsu (which you can read more about "here").  The main example of this is the Eco Baby Bag, designed with practicality in mind - I needed a nappy bag that was compact and convenient.  Dorsu had the skills and ethical practices that I trusted and knew were worthy of supporting.

How would you sum up the world of CLS Ethical Shopping in 5 words

Community Learning Sustainability - my passion

And believe us when we say, the products at this stall are so beautifully made, full of gorgeous bright colours with the bonus of being durable and practical, along with such an inspiring person like Anna....well you would be foolish to not at least take a look at what the offerings are at her market stall!

You can keep up with all things CLS Ethical Shopping by following their facebook page which you can get to easily by simply clicking "this" link!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Leisa and her Brilliant Food

Brilliant Food, brilliant product, brilliant name!  What was it in particular about seafood that not only initially drew you to specialising in it but then to on share this passion with the public at large

Ocean trout was part of a signature dish at a restaurant I worked in.  I loved working with the product and learned my smoking craft from some Indian chefs in my apprenticeship in the mid '90's.

I just found that the superior qualities of ocean trout, combined with my smoking technique delivered a brilliant result!

Anytime I made this fish, the enjoyment of my friends had eating it was incredible, until one day one of my mates suggested off the cuff that I should sell it!

To get that first award (and then continue to garner more over time) must have been an amazing feeling and the ultimate positive reinforcement as to your chosen profession.  How hard is it to source your produce and what are the do's and don't's when purchasing good quality fish

The First award was a Bronze at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.  We've obviously improved over the years and now we achieve Champion, Gold and Silver Awards.

There are intangibles outside my control that can impact the results we get.  For example, the seasonality of the fish, the moods and taste buds of the judges and the competition we face. 

The true judges of all of this are the customers who come back regularly and who have been doing so for years.

My motivation is producing a consistently superior product for our customers: we are judged every time we put our product in the market place - a grower's market, in our stockists' outlets and through direct sales.  

I will always source the best quality ingredients available: it just makes the whole process that much more successful. Working with poor quality produce is not going to deliver the product that I want everyone to enjoy.  We only use Australian seafood, and the majority of our fresh ingredients are all Australian, and we don't use preservatives in our products.  

Much of our produce is farmed fish, so as long as farming conditions are good, supply is good.  We do have purchasing specifications with our suppliers which relate to the age of the fish from harvest, temperature of the fish received and how the fish is stored. We also request that our fish is filleted in dry conditions (a dry fillet in preparation).  The texture of the flesh is really important and we know when something is not right that might be caused by age, temperature or water contact.

Tips for customers when buying fish from retail fishmongers: seafood should have a fresh clean smell; surface should be dry; if buying a whole fish, the gills should be red and the eyes should be clear.  If I was a customer, I'd be looking for overall damage......

You also have some ridiculously delicious accompaniments which are seriously popular with market shoppers.  How long does it take for you to go from concept to final product and then have it not only produced but more importantly maintained to its original standard

Product development comes as a result of market awareness.  Two or three months would be a ballpark figure.  It takes time to perfect a recipe and undertake quality and shelf life testing before a product is released.

Shelf life testing alone takes a minimum of a month.  If the planets are lined up, then preparation is quick.  If not? Then it can be a time consuming and frustrating process. Luckily I have great staff in the factory who know their job and understand the importance of having things just right.

What is it about market life that plays an important role in the world of Brilliant Food and why (in your opinion) do they (eg: markets such as Orange Grove) play such an important role within the local community

Markets are essential: Brilliant Food started in grower's markets.  We are face-to-face with our customer every weekend, hearing all types of feedback.  It keeps us real. Very often we could have an ongoing over four weeks with a customer!

At the grower's markets, because we are so close to our customers, we can feel their needs and wants which is our platform in deciding which products we make.  It's also our platform to release a new product an d get feedback.

Our latest product (Smoked Barramundi & Sweet Chilli Dip) is doing that right now! Released about four weeks ago, we've actually adjusted the method in response to our observations and customer feedback.

Grower's Markets like Orange Grove, provide a meeting place for growers' and producers to stay in touch with consumers.  they're a great outdoor event (weather permitting!) and in the modern world, we need to protect these outdoor gathering events to keep us in touch with reality and away from our digital mod cons.....human contact is the key to our personal survival.

These markets are a sanctuary in many ways: they deliver a range of benefits.

How would you sum up the world of Brilliant Food in 5 words

Brilliant Food for brilliant people....brilliant is a good word!


Lucky us!  We have Leisa's amazing produce at market each week, which tastes as good as it looks, so for all you foodies out there in blog land our advice to you is get to Orange Grove Market each Saturday, sample what's on offer, check out the accompaniments also on show and then buy up big!  Remember: support local, buy's really the only way to go!

ps: gotta luv when a chef gives buying tips too!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hope for Ollie and how we can help

How and why did Hope for Ollie begin

HopeforOllie began in 2010 after my son Oliver (Ollie) was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) at 10 weeks of age.

After Ollie’s diagnosis, I felt I needed to do something proactive to help find a cure for my son and other little boys like him. I saw a niche in the market for high quality and modern handmade children’s clothing and decided, with the help of Ollie’s grandmother’s, to sew and sell children’s clothing and accessories and donate the net proceeds to DMD research. I always enjoyed sewing and Ollie’s grandmothers are seamstresses so it seemed like a practical way to raise money.

Over $36,000 has been donated to DMD clinical trials carried out by The Institute of Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

HopeforOllie is officially endorsed by The Children's Hospital at Westmead to act as a fundraising agent on their behalf.

Can you explain in layman's terms what Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is and the impact it has on not just those affected by it, but also the family, friends and overall life style

DMD causes all the muscles of the body to weaken and break down and affects approximately one boy in every 3,500 worldwide. DMD is severe enough to shorten life expectancy as it ultimately affects heart function and breathing. Average life expectancy is 25 to 30 years.

At the moment Ollie has reached many of his milestones and is managing to keep up with his pre-school peers. Ollie has a support person at pre-school to help him master the play equipment and participate in indoor activities to prevent fatigue. 

Having received a diagnosis at such a young age, I’m sure Ollie thinks that all boys wear night splints, do daily stretching exercises, take lots of vitamins, and have medical appointments every few months!

As a family, we have hope. Hope that one day a cure will be found or at least advances made in the quality of life of boys with DMD. At the present time, the only treatment that experts recommend to slow the decline in muscle strength and mobility is steroids.

You have chosen a creative outlet to channel your energies to not just promote awareness but raise much needed funds for research & development for DMD.  How far has this venture taken you to date both practically and more importantly emotionally

Since HopeforOllie began, I have come across so many wonderful and supportive people that genuinely want to do their bit to help. Local business support, fundraising events, donations of fabric and accessories, seamstress’ volunteering their time, photographers, the development of the website, and media attention (see below for the link to a recent TV grab) have all contributed to the success of HopeforOllie.

I am motivated to do whatever I can to find a cure for DMD. The continual positive feedback I receive keeps me going as does the pleasure of knowing that I am making a difference to the lives of all boys with DMD.

Where do you get your inspiration to sew these incredible pieces from, and more importantly, how involved in the selection process is Ollie himself

I let the fabric guide my designs rather than the designs guide my fabric choice. I trust my creative instinct when it comes to designing clothing and accessories. I follow this flow chart:

My clever and talented daughter Emily loves to sketch designs for HopeforOllie and is involved in the fabric selection process alongside Ollie. It is great to get their opinions!

I love being presented with ideas from friends, colleagues, parents and customers.

What can people do to help you on your journey

HopeforOllie’s main aim is to raise much needed funds for DMD clinical trials carried out by The Institute of Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Raising awareness of DMD is crucial to finding a cure. You can support HopeforOllie by purchasing items online (click "here") , or in person at our soon to be launched shopfront in the Leichhardt Forum, and at various markets in the inner west (including Orange Grove, the Norton St Festa and the Five Dock Ferragosto). 

To keep up to date with the HopeforOllie journey, you can sign up to the newsletter on the website and follow us on Facebook (click "here")  and Twitter (click "here")


Now Ollie and his family were featured on TV, so click on the grab "here".  It's definitely worth the watch to help raise that all important awareness of this aggressive disease. Of course there is also another way we can show support!  Buy up some of Patricia's amazing creations at market (or online when she's not there), shake the hand of the little man known as Ollie and show the infamous support that Inner Westies are known for!  

Let's make difference!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Snapshot goings on











Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Farmer's Wife

It's only been in recent times that you have been the "face" of The Farmer's Wife (which we adore!).  How long as The Farmer's Wife been part of the Orange Grove Market community and when did you take over the reins

I've been "The Farmer's Wife" for just over 4 years.  The Farmer's Wife has been part of Organic Food Markets for many years with the original Farmer's Wife being from Mudgee.

Wendy with one of the many loyal The Farmer's Wife fans

What is it about market life that makes it all worthwhile

I love coming to markets and seeing all my lovely customers (young and old) enjoying our produce, especially my jams and chutneys which are all home made by moi!

I love working with other stallholders. Ensuring that the customer is happy with my produce is a fantastic experience and when the sun shines there is no better way to spend a morning!

What has been one of the biggest or bizarre orders of any product you have had to date

I make in total approximately 45 different products and am amazed at the requests for something I don't have/make

Always with a smile and love to share despite/inspite early starts.  From start to finish, how long does it take to stock up/load up and get ready for market day

I try to cook 4 to 5 jams and/or chutneys every day otherwise I can't keep up.  Once a week I collect eggs from the markets and once a month I drive to Mudgee to pick up the best honey you will ever eat! 

It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to Orange Grove Market and 1 hour to set up, but only 30 mins to pack down and then when at home it's time for the ceremonial feet up/cup of tea!

If you could sum up Orange Grove Market in 5 words, what would they be

Great food, atmosphere, customers and happiness!!


We love the, we know YOU love them so huge thanks to Wendy for spending some time and giving us a little bit of insight in to exactly how that Farmer got the Wife!

we couldn't resist putting this sexy new display for The Farmer's Wife...cause it kind of sums her up to a tee: stylish, old fashioned and a permanent fixture in all our lives!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Thursday, 12 June 2014

5 questions with Moo & More

How Long have you been at Orange Grove Market?

Moo & More have been at Orange Grove Market since around 2008

We know at times you have had to put up a "gate" made from crates so you can actually finish setting up before trading, but what is the record number of milk/cheese/yoghurt you have sold in one day?

Being predominantly a Jersey dairy stall winter is our busiest time, with the exception of Easter & Christmas market time.  Our record for milk sales is 1076 litres at a single market (and that was just MILK!).

Best cheese day we sold 214 pieces

Best day for our exceptional tomatoes was a quarter of a tonne!

Before becoming a Moo'er, what was your previous life & why the change?

Both of us were in the Hospitality Industry for around 20 years and were/are dedicated foodies who genuinely enjoyed the interaction with people we met along the way.  But Tony is from the Land and was wanting to get back to it somehow, and as we were used to working long hours in hospitality, weekend market life was not an issue.

We wanted the independence of working for ourselves and promoting the things we believed in. The Moo part of Moo & More was born out of our close friendship and association with Malcolm Rose, a Jersey dairy farmer from Wooloomin near Tamworth.

Doing markets allowed us to bring Malcom's premium quality milk to Sydneysiders. Something that he simply could not achieve otherwise.  We love our market life and wouldn't change it for anything, inspite (or even despite) the early mornings & intense workload to ensure all our produce is the freshest you can buy.

(ps: for those who may already know, Malcolm's dairy was featured recently on Matt Moran's "Paddock to Plate" and take it from us, it's beyond sublime! and must buy each market!)

What is the best aspect of market life for the Moo'ers?

Without a doubt, the best aspect of market life are our customers.  Their loyalty and commitment to us has been humbling.  We love that they share their high's and low's with us, as we do with them.

We love the wonderful sense of community that exists between all of us - customers and stallholders.

We especially love the children that we have known since before they were born, who now walk in to our stall and say "Hi Libby!  Hi Tony!"

We know that you are strong supporters of "buy local" and helping to keep those on the Land keep on keeping on.  What more can we (as a community) do to keep this mantra alive and educate others?

We should all maintain integrity in what we do.  We should help our customers to understand their choices.  We should be generous with our knowledge and of our time.


We would like to thank Libby & Tony for sharing their story with us and you can find them every Saturday, rain, hail or shine, and always but always with a smile. Word to the wise: get in early cause these guys sell out in a blink of an eye!