Anyone for garlic?

It’s been a big week this week, so this post is a little late. We had 3 new stall holders join us on Tuesday, giving us the largest number of stall holders outside of the peak summer season so far (and one was missing due to illness). We’ve gained biodynamic veggie grower from Milton, Louise Tucker, otherwise known as Merry Maiden’s Veggies, and SCPA will be having a regular presence with their own stall for up to 3 members to share each week. This week, Christa brought along her seedlings for sale, all propogated by herself.

I get a real thrill when another producer calls me to enquire about a stall at the market. Word has spread and growers are realising that this market is another important outlet for their produce where they can get a much fairer return for their efforts. It’s serious stuff for them. Most always come along to check it out before they come on board. It’s a business decision with weighty consequences, as much as any bricks-and-mortar business decision. When another grower turns up with their ute, that says to me they’ve judged our market to be an enterprise worthy of their investment. Their faith in us is what inspires me and the rest of the management committee to do as much as we can to keep this market on the path of integrity and authenticity that has got us this far.

So, to garlic!! We’re close… we’re so close. Oh, and onions are appearing now too — they were for sale this week. Greg “Freddo” Summerhayes from Upriver Garlic was our 3rd new stall holder. His crop is juuuust about ready to go, but this week he was selling garlic scapes. They’re the long, curly stalk that looks like it’s about to flower (it’s not) from the garlic plant. They’re a great garlic substitute until the bulbs are ready for harvest. Just chop them up like green onions (or shallots, or whatever you happen to call them) and chuck them in.

Not only was it a big week for new stall holders, we also held our first fundraiser for the One Village initiative, “Our Shared Table”. Many of our stall holders donated a dish of food created from their own produce and visitors could fill a plate from the table for a $5 donation. We raised $225 to help small communities in Uganda undertake projects that improve their quality of life. The fundraiser is all about supporting Ugandan communities by sharing food in our community. Many parallels can be drawn between what others are doing in Uganda and what we’re doing here. A strong local food system makes a strong local community. Think global, act local.

A big thank you to the committee members who pulled it together and to the stall holders who made the effort to bring a dish of food for the table. It was all delicious and the response from people was very enthusiastic. I think we should do it again next year, much bigger (don’t shoot me).

But wait, that’s not all! The very next day, Sandra (pictured in the photo above, serving) and I drove down to Tilba at the crack of dawn to interview Nic and Erica Dibden of South Coast Cheese as part of the market’s verification process. What an inspiring morning it was. They are very lucky people (that’s “luck” spelled w-o-r-k). I hope to have some photos up on the website soon, with the edited video and a short article to follow soon after. Yes, it’s been a huge week. Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come.