Saturday, 16 June 2012

Giving back to the farmers & the community

Farmers markets have become a new beginning to capturing flavours of home or organic produce to enrich our lives and take us back to the beginning of where we didn't have to compete with hormone induced meats or chemically grown vegetables. To respect the natural flavours of food and each of its individual simplistic produce.

Recently the Rotary club of Hampton have been working alongside Bayside City Council to run the Bayside Farmers Market which is nestled in the Trey Bit Reserve in Sandringham. This market holds approximately 50 stalls Of some outstanding local produce, held on the third Saturday of each month with some stall holders being regular participants and others changing from time to time.

It's pleasing to see that Rotary is putting themselves out in the community focusing on making a difference. By organising the Farmers Market, Hampton Rotary Club is focusing on raising funds to supply The Sandringham football club with a defibrillator and they will continue giving back to the community as the markets continue.

I've been to a few farmers markets and have often found it to be somewhat repetitive. Although I love fresh produce and enjoy admiring the fruit and veg in its natural vibrant colours of luscious green spinach, red radishes and the eye catching limes and lemons, I want more. I want to see more organic produce made from these home grown vegetables and fruit. I want too see people involving themselves more in showing others what they can make with such good produce. I want people to not only see but to taste the difference against organic produce v's store bought and realise that store bought may be easier to get but the quality is not always best.

Grabbing an egg and bacon sandwich from the Rotary sausage sizzle, drizzled with a touch of green tomato chutney, I begin my walk around the market. The market is quite busy, but not so busy you can't move or see the produce. A combination of gluten free stores, organic meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and more fill the reserve.

The produce that's on offer is amazing. Huge perfectly coloured scones sit in baskets with a crowd to only tell you they are as good as they look. A selection of spices and peppers with olive oils are abundant and gluten free cookie doughs and cakes provide tastings to show you how much gluten free products have developed over the years. These days in most products you don't even know you are eating gluten free. There are stores that provide treats for our best four legged friends, and yes these too are all organic. The selection is extraordinary.

But while I was walking the stores there was something that drew me away from these stores. It was the chutney I put into my egg and bacon sandwich. You can make an egg and bacon sandwich and it's just an egg and bacon sandwich. This chutney took it to the next level. I soon found out that this chutney was provided by a store holder, that had more than just green tomato chutney.

'New leaf preserves and sauces' show cased some amazing full flavoured produce from tomato chutney to there new eggplant kusundi. I'm a chutney lover and always choose chutneys over sauces, so it was heavens treat when there was a selection to taste. A try of the pear and cardamom was the first, filled with sweet delicate pears and a spice that stays on your palate. Perfect to go with perhaps some soft cheeses or your roast pork, it was great to see such a diverse variety from other chutneys.

I move to a more powerful chutney of tomato and ginger and wow what an amazing blast of flavour. I was amazed at how powerful this combination was. It was mind blowing with ginger and chilli flavours, 2 of my favourites to combine and then the acidity from the red tomatoes just made it so perfect. Fantastic for perhaps an Asian beef salad or a dash onto your BBQ prawns, this would just take your dish to a new level. New leaf preserves and sauces ( are at the market every month and is worth some time to try and buy. There's produce is sourced locally and are gluten free. Sold to markets around the out skirts of Melbourne you can easily check there market schedule so in case you run out of the good stuff, you can grab some at there next market.

It was a great farmers market and for all you locals in the area I highly suggest to give back to the community and support the Hampton Rotary club Farmers market. It's a fantastic morning out and a great opportunity to get your hands on some amazing produce.

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