When you dine at Derailleur, you're supporting the Wangaratta Farmers' Market. Much of our fresh, seasonal produce comes from that monthly event or direct from growers. Each week. Yep, it takes an effort to source these fruits, veggies and meats locally. It'd be much easier to nip into a big supermarket or in our case ring up a wholesale supplier - but here's why I shop the way I do:
It's real food - fresh from the farm. It tastes better, and it lasts. A punnet of market strawberries lasts a week in our fridge; buy them at the supermarket and I'd be lucky to get three days before they're mouldy.
You learn to know your seasons. Food bought at farmers' markets is seasonal; not sprayed with gas or chemicals and cool-stored until needed. Seasonality also means variety - figs, apricots, tomatoes and basil in Summer and broccoli and cauliflower in Winter. When you always buy from the Big Two, it's easy to lose touch of what food grows when locally.
Locally grown means fewer food miles. The fresh food comes from nearby and energy hasn't been wasted transporting it to a supermarket distribution centre - or half way around the world - and back again.
It supports local farmers and local jobs. We're helping a local farmer and small business down the road rather than a large corporation. Farmers get near one hundred percent of the revenue of food they sell at the market. Shops get as high as a seventy-six percent share of the final price while growers get squeezed. Dr Nick Rose, Fair Food editor and campaigner lists a whole swag of other benefits, but for me, food security's a major perk.
It's social. I get to talk to the farmer who's grown the food. Plus, who hasn't gone to the market and enjoyed chatting with people they haven't seen for ages? Wear a dodgy outfit and I'm guaranteed to see everyone I know... What? Hold on, I always wear those 70's shirts...
It's a food ideas-fest. I get inspiration seeing the food on display and talking to stall holders. I buy what I can and then trot back to Derailleur chock-full of ideas about how I might transform it into a delicious dish. Though usually, when it arrives at the Derailleur kitchen, my chefs have other ideas - often better and more creative than mine!
Over a year ago I started going to my local farmers market.
I found Peter Ross and his tomatoes from Yarrawonga, Sally and Jeff Colson and their oranges and lemons at Taminick, then there's Raffaela Samson at Terra Nostra Olive Oil in Whorouly (I order twenty-litre drums of their oil, they must think I drink it!) Michael Renoux keeps us supplied with French apple cider vinegar for our house dressing and Carol's King Valley Walnuts go into our baklava. Myrtleford's Dominic Torcaso delivers Dutch cream potatoes for our gnocchi. We also have his fresh basil, parsley, eggplants, zucchini and cucumber. Maybe he'll drop in some okra soon for a curry?
Let's get real. I know I can't get all of Derailleur's food locally, but I try before I buy elsewhere. Imagine if we all supported our market and it prospered to the point where our cafe - and you - could source more than fifty percent of our fresh fruit and vegetables locally. There's a goal for us all.
Do you buy local produce? And if so what do you make with it?
The next Wangaratta Farmers Market is open April 9th 8am to 12-noon at Apex Park. The market is open on the 2nd Saturday of the month come rain hail or shine.