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Farmer on your plate 2023

Farmer on your plate 2023

Farmer on your plate 2023


It was a sweltering day on the Freo Esplanade for the 10th annual Farmer on your Plate  - an event well organised by volunteer group Farming Champions to shine a light on our local farmers and the produce they provide for our plates.


Araluen Hagan and I were there under a joint Slow Food and Locavore Store tent, sharing the message of Good, Clean and Fair food, and offering tastings of salad made with Black Barley, McCormick honey straight from the frame, bread baked with Gingin’s Willgrow Flour and of course perfect-on-a-hot day citrus cordials made by Araluen.


Mark Andrew and Vickie Shina of Marvick Farm joined us to offer tastings of their agrumatos, relishes and marmalades made with native citrus, including their delicious Kaffir Lime oil which just took out the Champion Agrumato and Best Flavoured Oil in Show at the Australian International Olive Awards held in Canberra last month. West Australian food ambassador Don Hancey was quick to pick up their Bush Tomato Relish as well as snaffling our sample bottle of the winning Kaffir lime oil to use in a cooking demonstration ( he sure knows the good stuff when he sees it).  


With some fabulous cooking on stage, informative talks (even debates) about current issues affecting farmers, and a range of beautiful Western Australian produce from all over the state it was disappointing that the heat deterred what was potentially a big city contingent keen to connect with the provenance of their food. The irony didn’t escape me that it was the farmers left standing steadfast, unable to escape the heat and unable to enjoy to a more relaxing Saturday in comfort – or go hang out by the beach. I guess we’re accustomed.


Those who braved the day were rewarded with the opportunity to taste everything from Carnarvon Sweeter Bananas gelato, Black Lime marmalade, Blueys Zarzoff hot sauce, Block 275 Canola oil, Cailo Chocolate and much more.  Watching Vince Garreffa, founder of Mondo’s meats, expertly cook the amazing Lake Janis Farm beef was an experience I won’t soon forget – and I’ll certainly never turn a steak more than once again!


The highlight for me was (as is often the case at these events) meeting the other farmers and connecting faces to names. It was lovely to meet Sue Daubney of Bannister Downs who has genuinely raised the bar with her ethical milk which we are proud to offer at the Locavore Store (She gave me the heads up we will soon have a 2 litre milk in a 100% recycled plastic bottle!! woohoo), as well as organiser Mary Nenke of Cambinata Farms– yabbie grower, agritourism advocate and RAS councillor who has transformed her family farm into a diversified business including farm-stay cottages. Suffice to say, we now have the latest Cambinata products – marinated yabbies and hand blended dukkah in store!


I also brought home some saltbush and native mint plants for the shop garden from Tucker Bush https://tuckerbush.com.au/ who stock a fabulous range of edible bush tucker plants naturally adapted to our climate and soil, which I plan to plant in the Locavore Store grazing garden at Binda Place. Saltbush is apparently rich in protein, calcium and trace minerals, while having lower sodium levels than table salt, and is also touted to be drought tolerant! Let’s see if it can cope with life on the Bindoon verge this summer! I’m keen to find out. 


Look out for Farmer on Your Plate next year, I hope this worthy event reaches a few more city dwellers next time. You can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/farmeronyourplate or join to show your support for our WA farmers by joining at https://farmingchampions.org.au/wp/get-involved/. Its free!


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Olives, Oil & Toil

Olives, Oil & Toil

Tamieka Preston

If you’re dreaming of an olive grove your grandchildren can enjoy, then Maggie Edmond’s new book, Olives, Oil & Toil is a must read, and although it’s full of the trials and tribulations, not to mention shear hard work such a dream manifests, its also full of heartwarming tales of overcoming adversity and a genuine sharing of love for the ancient art of olive growing.

Maggie says, “The olive industry in all its forms is exciting and seductive.   It entices growers, attracts researchers, beckons retailers and lures food lovers. Olives, Oil & Toil brings together the stories and experiences of growers, sellers and processors, both big and small, over 25 years from 1995. It records for future generations the dedication, perseverance and passion of those involved in olive cultivation in WA and their pursuit of excellence.”

“This book will contradict any thoughts of a glamorous agricultural lifestyle. However, it is a testament to the rewards of growing olive trees, from resilient olive growers and those associated with the olive industry.”

For those who don’t remember, Maggie was long a local in the Northern Valleys, sharing her thoughts and opinions on all things food and produce for many years here in the NVNews, where she wrote a column for the food page. Perhaps better known for her lovely produce shop, Maggie’s Place in the Swan Valley, Maggie was also instrumental in supporting the WA Olive industry in its early years, and has remained a passionate advocate. 

Her book was a dream brought to fruition by a group of volunteers who donated their time to make it reality, its proceeds benefiting the industry directly.

Professor Stan Kailis, who has worked with the olive industry since its revival, comments: 

“To me, it was like meeting old friends, the olive and all those that had the courage and fortitude to take on an industry as old as 3,000 years...Olives, Oil & Toil is not only a human story, but its technical wisdom will benefit all olive growers and processors today and those in the future.”

Stories in the book include Guinea Grove Farm – A Shared Vision and Dream, by Rae Jefferies, tragic but hopeful;  Catherine Olive Lady of Orange Springs, Gingin, where Catherine Lee survived  a tornado, fire and floods, and an insect onslaught; and The Mediterranean Diet – the Doorway to Living Healthier and Longer. Amusing stories include Chapman River Olives – Possums, Owls and Shaker. Important historical details are included in Ian Rowe’s My Recollections of the Australian Olive Industry Revival 1995-2012.

Details about Olives, Oil & Toil are on the Dragonfly Publishing website: www.dragonflypublishing.com.au.

Purchases of the book and all other information can be made directly to Maggie Edmonds. Email: mpedmonds@bigpond.com or phone: 0429 055 099.

You can also buy the book from the Northern Valleys Locavore Store in Bindoon, along with olive oil from Regans Ridge, Marvick Farm and Esslemont Estate.

Proceeds from the sale of Olives, Oil & Toil will be used for a project directed by Professor Stan Kailis planned for 2024 to spread the word to consumers about the health benefits of olive oil, table olives and olive leaf tea.

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Berry Flaugnard

Berry Flaugnard

Clafoutis or flaugnard? Either way it's brilliant with berries...

For a long time I’ve been wanting to try making clafoutis – mainly because it’s a really fun word to say – however, upon making it I discovered that a genuine clafoutis must be made with cherries, and if the dish is made with any other fruit, its actually a flaugnard! Either way, this simple baked dessert (or breakfast) is absolutely delicious in a fruity, custardy way! It originated in Limousin, France and can be made with all locally sourced ingredients bar the sugar and vanilla. I used Little Creek pastured eggs, Willgrow flour, Devoted butter, Bannister Downsmilk and cream and fresh blackberries and raspberries from Berry Sweet.

  •  3 large eggs
  •  1/2 cup granulated sugar
  •  1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  •  1 cup full cream milk
  •  1/2 cup cream
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, optional
  •  2 cups fresh berries
  •  Powdered sugar, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease your pan generously with butter. I used a big cast iron skillet, but a pie tin or casserole dish also works, and ramekins are great for individual portions.
  2. Add eggs, sugar, and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk lightly. Add flour and continue whisking until smooth and lump free. Add the melted butter, followed by the milk, cream, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Keep whisking to ensure that the mixture is completely smooth, then pour into prepared pan. Scatter the fruit onto the batter.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the clafoutis is just set (it’s ok if it’s still a bit wobbly in the middle) and golden at the edges. Let cool slightly until lukewarm. Dust with icing  sugar, if you like. Cut into wedges and serve. *Note this goes exceptionally well served with McCormick's honey-lovers ice cream, available from the Northern Valleys Locavore Store.
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Wattle we eat

Wattle we eat

Wattle we eat?

Last September I took samples of roasted whole and ground wattleseeds to be exhibited at Slow Food’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto event in Turin, Italy. The three species of Acacia, wild harvested in WA, joined a massive collection of beans, legumes and seeds from all over the world as part of the biodiversity trail to encourage preservation, and integration back into our diet, of all these wonderfully different varieties which offer high protein and fibre.

The amazing smell of the ground wattleseed permeated my tiny suitcase, and everything in it, and after I handed it over for the display I rather missed it! If you’ve never smelt it, it has almost the aroma of coffee – with a hint of nuts, spice along with a sort of woodiness. I was intrigued to learn more about this mainstay of the Indigenous diet, especially when Vincenzo Velletri from our Slow Food Convivium in Swan Valley told me it could be used to make a kind of coffee-like drink – as well as its traditional uses as a flour to make a damper or cake cooked in the fire.

So, when the Accelerating Wattle Seed Industry Workshop popped up on my radar last month I was keen to attend! As was Araluen Hagan from 14K Brewery, who has long been experimenting with drinks flavoured with wattleseed and was recently asked to make her special non-alcoholic cocktail, Native Decadence, featuring ground wattleseed, maple syrup, vanilla and cream, for the Worldwide Indigenous Tourism Summit held at Crown Casino in May.

Supported by AgriFutures Australia and Australian Native Food & Botanicals (ANFAB), the full day workshop covered topics ranging from growing information, varietal characteristics, nutritional values and product development and marketing, and was put together by Accelerating Wattleseed Production team; Peter Cunningham, Matthew Koop and Angus Jones.

Over 900 species of Acacias (wattles) grow naturally across Australia and many produce edible, delicious and highly nutritious seed. Farming these perennial legumes has enormous potential as a regenerative form of agriculture. Extensive field trials undertaken by these three fellows over the past few years was the focus of the morning, and videos and data outlining the knowledge base they have built up for those interested in growing wattle seed in commercial orchard environment was extremely interesting and well documented.

For me, the questions arising were not really about how to grow this crop – which after all is endemic to many regions of Australia, but how we cultivate this industry without completely losing touch with its Indigenous significance  – a topic discussed by Wardandi Bibbulmun woman Dale Tilbrook (who also opened with a lovely Welcome to Country), at the end of the day. While Dale acknowledged the importance of increasing the availability of wattleseed, she also expressed her concerns around how we can negotiate the marketing of the product to avoid it becoming a commodity. Her sentiments were echoed by Slow Food Leader Vincenzo Velletri, who was keen to highlight the importance of sustainable food production and retaining and expressing the story behind every food. 

The highlight of the day personally was connecting with the women behind the Wattleseed Collective (pictured below). Wattleseed Collective is a social enterprise working with Traditional Owner groups in the Kimberley region to create an annual, sustainable, commercial-scale collection and sale of Kimberley Wattleseed to benefit local

This fantastic group is backed by Environs Kimberley, the peak NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) who advocate for the strong protection and better management of Kimberley lands and waters. We are eagerly awaiting our first delivery of their wild-harvested seed to be at the Northern Valleys Locavore Store! I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about growing, eating or studying wattle for seed collection check out Wattleseed – a compact business case, and ANFAB is also a great resource.

Photo: Tessa Mossop and Louise Beames of Environs Kimberley with Mandy Shoveller and Jacko Shoveller of Yiriman Women Bush Knowledge Enterprises.

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So many ways with olives!

So many ways with olives!

Who knew there were so many ways to enjoy the humble olive? With trees around the region dripping with fruit that so often goes to the birds, the time was ripe for a workshop on preserving and curing olives. While we have many commercial olive groves in the region, most produce olive oil, and sadly, most of the table olives sold in supermarkets are imported ones. 

Conchetta Sultan, co-author of the Cugini in Cucina Cookbook and authentic Italian cook, believes we can all be making the most of the olives dropping on our doorstops and loves to encourage people to scour their local streets and neighbours trees to collect olives of all varieties.

“Crisp olive pickles that last for years without any preservatives can easily be made in the home kitchen,” she says. “But there are a few important rules to follow!”

She was in Bindoon on Sunday sharing her many years of knowledge, along with recipes from her Sicilian heritage to the fourteen keen participants of her workshop held in the Locavore Store kitchen. There was much chopping and crushing, slicing and salting going on, and many, many jars (some recycled) were filled with delicious olives.

“It was a really informative and thoroughly enjoyable afternoon that included grazing on fabulous fresh Italian antipasto with the various olive recipes just learnt. Conchetta is a knowledgeable, warm and friendly teacher,” said Louise Oliver who came across from the coast for the day with a group of friends.

“Conchetta was very engaging and taught us all about traditional Sicilian olive curing in the lovely Locavore kitchen. My favourite dish was the fresh and finely chopped olive salad which we made as a team,” shared Julianna Mason.


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Crowning the persimmon

Crowning the persimmon

An autumnal evening beneath heavily-laden persimmon trees in a Karragullen orchard was the romantic idea dreamt up by the Perth Hills Future committee and the Hills Orchard Improvement Group – to not only celebrate the season of this little-known fruit, but also consolidate their shared vision for the future of the prolifically productive region.
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Locavore recogised as a leader in sustainability

Locavore recogised as a leader in sustainability

In exciting news last week I learned that the Northern Valleys Locavore Store had been selected as one of 30 West Australian finalists in the prestigious 2023 Telstra Best of Business Awards program!

 It has been a rigorous judging process requiring extensive documentation of contributions and outcomes of the business as well as future strategies and philosophies, some of which had to be presented in a live video format!

We also had to demonstrate the impact we had in our chosen category – Promoting Sustainability – and had to show that we were reducing our environmental impact by driving sustainable change within our industry for a cleaner and healthier planet.

Since reducing the carbon footprint of our food is our primary focus, this was the easiest part!  We know that reducing the distance the food travels saves an enormous amount of fuel, energy and wages. All the other things we care about at the store such as reducing plastic use, conserving energy use and eliminating food waste also contributed to us meeting the sustainability criteria.

The Telstra awards program has been running for more that 25 years and consists of 4 stages – all requiring an in-depth look at how the business operates in terms of strategy and vision, customers and marketing, systems, people and culture, innovation and technology, social responsibility and financial acumen – and whatever happens next it has been a very valuable process! I’m not generally one to go for awards, but I have to say the way this one has been designed makes it an excellent learning experience.

I do want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the producers who have come on board at the store – they are crucial to our success and without them we would be nothing! I really appreciate many of them have taken a risk and changed the way they operate to work with our system – which has been very brave and forward-thinking of them. They are all small businesses too, and change, though inevitable, is not always easy. Of course I’d like to thank all of the wonderful Locavore Store team too – they are a fantastic bunch and we really do have fun working together and I feel very proud of what we’ve achieved.

We will join the other West Australian finalists – approximately 5 for each of the 6 categories – Accelerating Women, Championing Health, Embracing Innovation, Indigenous Excellence, Outstanding Growth and Promoting Sustainability at a black tie dinner at Crown on 14 February 2023 to find out the state winners – I’ll keep you posted!

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Terra Madre 2022

Terra Madre
Ever since I first learned about the Slow Food movement and the amazing work they do in preserving our food heritage and supporting the ideals of Good, Clean and Fair produce, I have wanted to attend their flagship event Terra Madre, held every two years in Turin, Italy. Meaning ‘Mother Earth’ Terra Madre is a celebration of food and tastes from all over the globe as well as an opportunity to bring together world leaders in food sustainability, biodiversity and climate change to discuss our changing food landscape - all topics close to heart! As it turns out – this is to be my year, and I was delighted to be asked by the Slow Food Swan Valley and Eastern regions Convivium to attend as their delegate, representing our local food community here in the Swan Valley and Northern Valleys region and to gather information about the latest in food politics, innovation and developments worldwide.

This year’s event focusses on Regenerative Farming – a real interest of mine. I’ve been following the progression of regenerative farming techniques locally for several years, as well as being a part of implementing the ideas on our own farm in Mooliabeenee. I can't wait to hear what's happening in the rest of the world, and see how regenerative farming principles have been applied on other farms and what changes this has had already on sustainability in our food system.

Since the Slow Food network is a genuinely grass roots organization its purpose is to engage everyone involved with our food network –  from growers and chefs to academics and scientists and not forgetting the equally important 'co-producers' - those who eat the food! So I’m banking on the promise that there will be plenty of eating and sampling different foods as well as talking about them! Be sure to watch this space, as well as the Northern Valleys Locavore Store Facebook page to hear my live updates from the event. 

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Slow Food communities, this video is a great one to watch. And if you want to know more, check out their website.

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Our produce joins the biodiversity trail in Turin!

As I’ve mentioned previously in NVN Weekly, I’m joining Slow Food delegates and foodies from around the world in Turin, Italy for Terra Madre Salone Del Gusto 2022! The event takes place every two years to celebrate and showcase Good, Clean and Fair food as well as discuss the challenges facing our food system. The week has finally arrived, and here I am in sunny Turin ready to take part in this exciting event.

As part of the biodiversity installation, all delegates were asked to bring food samples from their region to contribute to the Arc of Taste – which this year will display grains and flours, pulses and legumes, and dried fruit and nuts. From the Locavore Store, I chose to bring along one of my favourite grains – our unique Black Barley grown by Roger Duggan in New Norcia. If you haven’t yet tried this fantastic heirloom grain you should! You can also read the story here. For the nut section, I couldn’t go past Sandalwood nuts from our friends Maureen and Clive Tonkin in Moora. Along with their popular Westways Wildflowers, the Tonkins have been collecting the fallen sandalwood nuts from a failed sandalwood plantation on their property and value adding to this high protein bush food by roasting, salting and everyone’s favourite – covering them in chocolate!

For the final category, legumes, we consulted with the Noongar Land Enterprise Group(NLE), a not-for-profit Aboriginal-led grower group based down south in Noongar Boodjar country. NLE have been planting and collecting bush foods as part of their mission to provide more opportunities for Aboriginal people to take part in the cultivation of indigenous foods and cultural tourism. It was suggested that wattle seeds harvested from the Acacia bush were the ideal example to represent Western Australia. Wattles seeds have been used by Aboriginal people to make a type of flour and can be used to make bread cooked in hot coals, or eaten raw out of pods. They are highly nutritious and – as I was excited to learn – can be ground and roasted to make a coffee type drink! This is definitely something I’m keen to investigate further.
These samples will join hundreds of others brought by Slow Food members representing small and artisan producers from their parts of the world!

For more news from Terra Madre stay tuned! I’ll be posting more updates on the Locavore Store social pages (Facebook and Instagram), as well as presenting (online) at the Slow Food High Tea on 2 October – which you can buy tickets for here.
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Someone's telling porky pies...

Someone's telling porky pies...

If you’ve ever scrutinised the bacon packaging in a supermarket fridge, you would have encountered a curious thing. While the trusty green and gold ‘Made in Australia’ logo indicates the country of origin, it also tells us the percentage of Australian ingredients
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Food security – right or privilage?

Food security is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as: when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
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Beef with Benefits - Why grass fed is better.

Beef with Benefits - Why grass fed is better.

Why grass fed beef is better for the animal, for you and the planet.
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