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!