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Meet the Maker: Maya Neumann Hats

Written by . Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hats are as important as the horses at Melbourne Cup, but even if you’re not attending the race that stops the nation, there’s always a need for a good hat. Done well, a hat can transform your look.

Sydney milliner Maya Neumann is a self-confessed market girl. Her first batch of hats, a strange assortment shaped on pumpkins and flower pots, sold at London’s Camden Market in the early 80s.

Maya Neumann Hats have flown off the shelves of luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Le Bon Marché, yet it’s the thrill of meeting her customers that keeps Maya on the market circuit.

Local Market Guide recently spoke with Maya about her signature handmade hats and got her tips for looking your best, whether it be at the Melbourne Cup or lounging at the beach.

How long have you been a milliner for, and how did you get into it? Maya8v2

I've been making hats for just over 30 years. I’d been a teacher but wanted to do something else, but I wasn't sure what. Just to amuse myself while I was travelling (through India in the early 80s), I started collecting all kinds of different religious headwear. In Turkey, I ended up staying with the family of the only Whirling Dervish hat maker left in the world. So I went off to Whirling Dervish hat making classes, my first lessons in how to make a hat.

I didn't know what a hat block was (what you shape hats on) so I started making hats on pumpkins and flower pots! They were strange hats but people liked them.

My first hats were sold at London’s Camden Market. Then I came back to Australia and started teaching myself and learning from a milliner. I started with cocktail hats and bit by bit I learned what to do. 

How has hat wearing changed over the years?

I think what brought hats back into fashion was Princess Di, as she started wearing them and people adored her. Also people started becoming very aware of UV damage and realised that they had to look after their skin better.

What do you love about hats?

They enhance someone's total look. If you've found the right hat and it doesn't wear you, you wear it, it adds to your personality. You always notice someone wearing a hat before anyone else, as they stand out. If you get a great style, it really sets you apart. 

Maya2v2What can you tell us about Maya Neumann hats?

My hats are incredibly light and extremely durable—you can totally trash them, so they're great for wearing on the beach, on a bush walk or for travelling. They're bad for business because they last forever! But people just buy more, and I'm extremely lucky because everything I've made has sold.

Which are your most popular hats?

My Squash Hat and my Panama Style Hat. A Panama hat isn't actually from Panama; that’s a misnomer. It's woven from a palm that only grows in Ecuador. The hat that I do is a Panama style, but it’s not woven in Ecuador. All of my hats are made out of the same fibre (I only work with organic, non-synthetic material) and no two are the same.

Where do you source your materials from? Maya5v2

I have a fair-trade organisation that I set up with a church in the Philippines to promote their indigenous weaving skills. 

What do you love about the markets?

I just love people. The best thing about doing markets is that you meet such a fabulous range of people. I've got to say, I've just got the loveliest customers. I am a market girl through and through. I've never wanted a shop. If I had to choose where the hats are sold, whether it be at markets or the most upmarket shop in the world (and I've sold through Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Le Bon Marché in Paris), markets are more important to me.

Any tips for Melbourne Cup?

Wear something that makes you feel good, brings out your best features and matches your colouring. There are no hard and fast rules about wearing a hat that is very small or very large, because there are always exceptions to the rule. 

To find out more about Maya Neumann Hats and which markets to find her, check out:

https://mayaneumann.com

A bumper crop of fresh fruit and vegetables has taken over our Sydney markets early this season, so it's time to dust off those Summer recipes and get inspired!

From avocado toast to the classic Aussie pavlova, we’re a nation of fruit and vegetable lovers. Thanks to hot temperatures up north, we’ve got delicious fruit and vegetables at our Sydney markets just waiting to bring your creative recipes to life.

Because of the dry weather up north, we're reaping the benefits of early season fruit and vege crops at our Sydney growers markets. While supply peaks, prices are plummeting as our farmers markets are saturated with the overflow of fresh produce.

What fruit and vegetables can I get early at Sydney markets? Pineapples

Mangos, tomatoes and practically everything in between are on offer from our fruit market sellers.

Sweet Queensland pineapples have doubled in supply compared to the usual harvest, with farmers expecting their numbers to increase.

Strawberries are also bursting from our stalls, with very low prices and highly quality produce bring the sweet taste of Summer closer with every punnet.

We’re even expecting the early arrival of the highly-coveted mangos which generate a unique hype around the Christmas season. Compared to the low yield last season, this year’s harvests are expected to fill thousands of extra palettes.

Zucchini, lettuce, Lebanese cucumbers and tomatoes, the staples of delicious Summer salad recipes, are also coming in abundance.

Cauliflower and broccoli have burst from the ground to greet the warmer weather, providing the perfect accompaniment to the traditional Sunday roast.

Avocados, fast becoming a firm favourite Aussie staple, are making an early arrival as well, with the good harvest expected to continue into next year thanks to the mild Winter temperatures.

All this over-supply means lower prices and lots of choice, providing the perfect inspiration to get creative in the kitchen.

While this early start may have left our farmers in a bit of a sticky situation, increasing the need for fruit pickers (feel like lending a hand on a sweet staycation?), it's our duty to make the most of this home-grown goodness.

How to make the most of your fresh produceAvocadotreev2

*Jump on the avocado toast train

The avocado toast trend isn't going anywhere soon. Follow suit of many of Sydney’s top restaurants and start experimenting with your avo toast – here are some fresh idea to kick-start your tastebuds.

*Celebrate those sweet Summer fruits

The Wiggles got it right when they said, “Fruit salad, yummy yummy!” Fruit salads are a Summer favourite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz them up! If you haven’t perfected how to cut a mango yet, learn how to cut a mango here.

*Bring back the pav!

The classic Pavlova, traditionally crowning tables during the Aussie Christmas season, has seen many innovations over the years. Why not tap into your inner artist and decorate your pavlova with some creative flair?
*Say hello to cocktail season

Warm Summer nights & cocktails go hand-in-hand, so start testing out some new recipes with the sweet fruit from our sellers. Whether you blend up the on-trend frosé or the timeless piña colada, you're guaranteed to be the toast of the town with our fresh fruit and berries.

*Reach MasterChef level with these salad recipes

Salads don’t have to be boring. Add a twist to the traditional green salad and take salad inspiration from the king of wholefood cooking, Jamie Oliver. Our market sellers will also be full of ideas for how you can make the most of their prized produce.Fruitsalad

Why you should go local for your fruit and vegetables

Our market stalls source a wide range of the freshest, and not to mention organic, fruit and vegetables, ensuring that what ends up on your table is also tasty and good for your tummy.

Plus, with the over-supply of produce comes low prices, meaning supporting our local Aussie growers and sellers is good for your stomach and your wallet!

Also, anyone who's visited our farmers markets before knows that the stallholders at our Sydney farmers markets are a wealth of knowledge and meal inspiration. The only thing more satisfying than tasting the delicious produce is hearing the stories behind how it got from farm to feast-ready, which is something unique to our local Sydney markets.

Find your local Sydney market

From Bondi to Blacktown and Castle Hill, our stallholders are ready to deliver the freshest fruit and vegetables. Our community farmers markets and fresh produce markets are the best spots to pick up all the fresh produce you need for your tasty recipes.

MangosSydney’s newest boutique market, Cambridge Markets in Watsons Bay (brought to you by the same team behind the Rose Bay Farmers Market), is also the perfect place to pick up inspiration

When it comes to Sunday markets and Saturday markets, Sydney really does deliver. View a full calendar of all our local markets here.

While you’re shopping at your local market, why not take a minute to discover what else is on offer? Visit Sydney’s best markets to discover not only delicious Australian produce, but also a wide range of artisan and boutique products.

Receive local market updates straight to your inbox and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date.

 

 

[Sources/references]

Fruit and vegetables going cheap as Queensland's warm winter causes bumper crops – ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-29/fruit-and-vegetables-going-cheap-queensland-bumper-crops/8848694  

Pineapple farmers in oversupply this winter after summer heatwave – ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-06-30/winter-pineapple-supply-doubles-queensland/8668334

Blooming good outlook for Queensland Christmas mangoes – ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-08-14/queensland-mango-outlook-good-with-early-season-prediction/8797316

Australia, our mango dreams have come early – National Geographic
http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/australia/australia-our-mango-dreams-have-come-early.aspx

Farmers picking an early and extended Queensland avocado harvest – ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-08-21/avocado-season-looks-promising-queensland/8826342

Spoilt for strawberry choice ruining lush fruit industry – The Queensland Times
https://www.qt.com.au/news/spoilt-for-strawberry-choice-ruining-lush-fruit-in/3215608/#/0

Prices wilt as heat brings on big crop – The Queensland Times
https://www.qt.com.au/news/prices-wilt-as-heat-brings-on-big-crop/3216523/

           

Cambridge Markets comes to Watsons Bay

Written by . Thursday, 07 September 2017

We chat to Madelienne Anderson and Rebecca Fox, co-curators of the Cambridge Markets, about their love of delicious food, their passion for supporting new businesses, and their tips for what to look for at this year’s market in Watsons Bay.

This spring, Cambridge Markets co-curators Madelienne and Rebecca are bringing Sydney’s best boutique market to one of Sydney’s most iconic and beautiful locations - Watsons Bay.

Having started off as a small local market in 2015 at Vaucluse Public School, Cambridge Markets is now one of the biggest mixed markets in the whole of Australia. Its reputation has grown with it, becoming a firm favourite thanks to its unusually high-quality offering of local, environmentally-friendly, and uniquely hand-crafted goods. cambridgeSpring17v2

And this September, as part of the Cambridge Spring Markets, we’ll be able to enjoy it in a wonderful new location – down by the waterfront. This exciting move is sure to make it one of the most enjoyable market experiences yet – as well as the most accessible. Situated right by the ferry terminal, it’s the perfect location for tourists as well as local day trippers.

We hear from Madelienne and Rebecca about how we can make the most out of our visit.

Why do you love markets?

We love them because they’re a hive of activity. They bring people together. They’re friendly places where stallholders are passionate about their products they sell, and where you a get a personal, one-on-one service. Our markets are located under the trees, so not only can you shop, but you’re also outside enjoying the fresh air.

What makes a great market?

We think a great market is one that’s well-curated, catering for what the community needs. For example, with Rose Bay Farmers Market we try to provide stalls with products, produce and food that aren’t readily available in Rose Bay, like organic and gluten-free options, or home-made hot food that isn’t in Rose Bay already, for instance dumplings, gözleme and pho.

Watsonsbay3At Cambridge Markets in Watsons Bay, we make sure that all 120 stalls are different to one another, providing a variety of quality stalls and delicious international hot food stalls. We love it too that many of our stallholders are the owners or creators; We love their passion behind it, and we love supporting small and new businesses.

Have you noticed any trends in the market stalls?

Yes, we think there are more and more small, online and new businesses finding that markets are a place to sell their wares, and to also promote themselves. Markets used to be thought of as either junkie or hippie or second-hand, but now they’ve evolved to professionally-run events with a range of different quality products. They’re a great point of sale opportunity, a way to connect to customers, and overall an amazing tool in helping to establish businesses.

They’re also happy places that cross over all ages and socio-economic groups. The quality of the stalls today are outstanding and the food you can get from these passionate stallholders is simply scrumptious. We love the food businesses that are started by the matriarch of the family and run as family businesses. A perfect example of this is Eat Fuh, started by Mama Fuh, a refugee from Watsonsbay1Vietnam. Now her whole family is involved, and it is a very successful market stall business - in fact, she has such a following that people go specifically to markets to find her beef pho soup.

What should we look out for at the Spring Markets?

We have 120 great stalls, with the most amazing array of products, produce and food. For instance there’s Coco Ribbon offering divine childrenswear; Kata Official selling their stunning crystals; For Artists Only offering cool labels; Feisty Little Mouse kids clothing, toys and accessories; Black Star Pastry, The Mill from Bowral’s glamping tent with Carousel clothing and Surface Store photography.

On top of that, you have all your favourite types of international hot food, like tacos and paella from Watsons Bay Hotel, dumplings and ramen from Rocco’s Ramen, Kingsmore Hamburgers, Hooked on Pokè, Sisters Gözleme, and many more.

Cant wait to visit?

Watsonsbay2The first market will be held from 10am-3pm on Sunday 17th September. Simply head down to Robertson Park, right on the Watsons Bay waterfront.

On the day, you can enjoy gourmet food, fun rides, or simply browse the work of some of Sydney’s most talented local designers, artists and creators.

Dozens of new stallholders will be announced each week.

To find out more, or keep an eye on future market dates, visit www.cambridgemarkets.com.au.

Spotlight on Blacktown Markets

Written by . Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Blacktown Markets are an institution, operating since 1994. Open every Sunday, they are located in the grounds of the historic Skyline Drive-In theatre, the last surviving drive-in in the Greater Sydney Area. Blacktown17.2v2

Just 30 minutes west of the Sydney CBD on a Sunday, Blacktown Markets offer fun for the whole family. For the last 30 years, they have been attracting people from all over Sydney. If you like your markets vibrant, friendly and unique, with delicious food on offer, this is the place to be.

What’s on offer?

Blacktown Markets are held every Sunday and are a feast.

*Stalls: Here you will find almost 240 stalls offering everything you could wish for, including, collectables, vintage and retro treasures and bric-a-brac, fashion, toys, plants, hardware, books, and handyman tools. Another reason people come here is for the food, both produce and hot food stalls. Taste for yourself the incredible range of different food on offer, there are Dutch delicacies, Cook Island dishes and donuts, Malaysian street food, Cambodian cooking, essential Italian coffee and plenty more.

*Atmosphere and entertainment: This is a place to bring the whole family, with different types of entertainment each week, maybe a jumping castle, or vintage pinball machines. They have even had comedy wrestling. Their promise is to always have something new on offer, to keep it interesting and fresh for everyone. You can even bring along your dog to enjoy the fun.

BLacktown17.3v2Popular stalls

The most popular stalls, certainly when the markets first open and people rush in, are the “garage sales” also known as flea markets or car boot sales. These are casual stalls offering serious bargains. These stalls are so popular, that some people come to Blacktown Markets for the biggest and best garage sale in Sydney, rather than combing their local streets.

There are so many other popular and unique stalls here, such as The Beard Mantra, selling a wide range of beard oils. Te Kina Wahine sells delicious Maori honey. There are stalls dedicated to collectables, such as Matchbox cars, both new and vintage.

Your mouth will be watering when you smell the hot food on offer. Here are just a few:

*Nhem and Co. offer incredible Cambodian cuisine;
*Master Sticks for Malaysian street food that is authentic and delicious;
*Sir BBQ sell amazing pork sliders with a vast range of different sauces;
*Dog Daze for the perfect Sunday burger;
*Panino Espresso for your essential caffeine hit and tasty Italian food; and
*take home treats from Tee-Lish Brownies—the best brownies in a wide range of flavours. These take-home trays always sell out. So too do the boxes of donuts from QuinkyDink Fresh Cream Donuts.

What has changed over the years? Blacktown17.1v2

Over the last thirty years, Blacktown Markets have been getting a lot bigger and busier. An incredible 4,000 to 4,500 people come to these markets each Sunday. They now have almost 240 stallholders, half permanent and the other half casual. This mix of stalls makes for an ever changing market that is as popular as ever.

So you want to host a stall?

Blacktown Markets let you begin as a casual stallholder and you can work only the Sundays you choose. If you are after a permanent stall, there are many reasons to come here. Aside from the popularity of the markets, letting you have access to thousands of shoppers without a storefront, there are no waiting lists, no contracts, set up fees or leases, just apply.

Blacktown17.4v2See their website for more information on becoming a casual stall holder or permanent stall holder.

Where and when?

Blacktown Markets are held every Sunday, from 7am-2pm, at the historic Skyline Drive In. For more details, see their Facebook page or website.

 

We’re a nation of passionate tea drinkers, with half of Australians drinking at least one cup a week. To celebrate Sydney’s Tea Festival, we find out more about this much-loved beverage, from its history and growth to its potential health benefits, and why markets are the perfect place to find the best blends.

Where does tea come from?

Apart from water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Tea drinking has been taking place for centuries, and remains a special, timeless routine for many. Tea2

All tea comes from the same plant, called Camellia sinensis, which is native to Burma and parts of China. Tea was first drunk by Chinese royalty as far back as the 2nd century BC, where it was primarily known for its medicinal properties. Some Chinese emperors liked it so much, they’re thought to have been buried with it!

European tea drinking was thought to have been started by tea aficionado Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II, who brought her favourite drink across from Portugal and gave it a fashionable, popular status in the UK. By 1750 it had become the UK’s national drink, and was traded as a valuable commodity (and, not unexpectedly, it also increased the demand for imported sugar).

By the time the UK introduced a tax reform, cutting the tax on tea from 119% to just 12.5%, tea consumption went up so much that the government actually saw an overall rise in revenue. New tea plantations started springing up around the globe, and with the invention of the teabag 1908, tea-drinking became accessible to people across the world, including Australia. The first Australian tea shop was thought to have been founded by Alfred Bushell in 1883 (Bushell’s still being a popular supermarket tea today).

The rise of tea

Tea1Where once you might have only had the choice between English Breakfast and Earl Grey, in recent years more diverse tea options have taken off, with seeming endless varieties of green, fruit and herbal teas being cultivated, bought and enjoyed. So whilst many people stick to their traditional ‘builder’s brew’, others have delved into a whole wealth of loose-leaf teas from around the world, particularly in Australia, where we’ve seen a boom in popular ‘wellness’ blends.

Many people still promote the health benefits of tea and its antioxidant properties. Some studies have shown it to help fight disease, boost immune energy and reduce stress.

What’s the difference between black tea and green tea?

Made from the same plant, the differences between green tea and black tea are simply a result of different processing methods.

Black tea

Black tea leaves are oxidised, a process which turns them from their natural green colour to a dark brown/black. Black tea is one of the most popular teas, and it contains caffeine as well as a stimulant called theophylline, both of which help people feel more alert. It also contains substances called polyphenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant properties.

Green Tea

Green tea leaves are unoxidised, which means they keep their original green colour –  the greener they are, the less oxygen they’ve been exposed to. Like black tea, green tea is thought to have a range of health benefits, and is the most popular tea choice in Japan, where it comes in a huge range of different varieties, from matcha to sencha.

Buy your tea at a market?LMGMIMTT1v2

As well as offering fresher, higher quality teas, made in smaller batches, markets are a fantastic place for you to experience and discover more about tea. You can learn about different varieties, where the leaves are grown, how they are processed and blended, and how the different methods subtly impact the taste.

Many Australians are passionate about farming and getting their food directly from the source, and this is a great chance to find out from stallholders exactly where their teas are sourced from, and how buying them can support tea-growers and their local communities. You can also sample tea from a wide range of different countries, and taste some of the rarest teas in the world.

The Sydney Tea Festival

The vibrant, busy Sydney Tea Festival gives you the chance to visit lots of tea stallholders, offering a huge range of loose leaf blends from many different countries. And you can do more than just browse the stalls too – enjoy interactive tea tastings, workshops, and ceremonies, and listen to insightful talks by Australia’s leading tea experts.

Why not pop down to the Sydney Tea Festival on Sunday 20th August and take a look for yourself? Or if you want to find tea sellers at a local market near you, check out our Market Calendar or subscribe to our Local Market Guide Newsletter.

[Sources/references]

Alan Macfarlane; Iris Macfarlane (2004). The Empire of Tea. The Overlook Press. p. 32. ISBN 1-58567-493-1.

Timeline: A short history of Australian tea - Australian Geographic

Food Culture: Drink your Tea - Australian Museum

http://www.delicious.com.au/drinks/non-alcoholic/article/can-you-guess-worlds-most-popular-tea/HWQxkydA

"Archaeologists discover world's oldest tea buried with ancient Chinese emperor". The Independent. Independent Print Limited.

How do I know it is Organic?

Written by . Sunday, 23 July 2017

Tips for buying organic produce

The higher premium for organic foods, because of the more expensive farming practices, means that consumers often want to know whether they should spend a bit extra and buy organic. What does organic mean? And how can you find out whether a product is actually organic? Rhubarbv2

What is organic?

Organic food is produced using organic farming practices, that is, without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers and sold to the consumer without added preservatives.

Organic farming practices are designed to:

*use best environmental practice in farming activities and regenerate the land and soil;

*not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs);

*provide healthy livestock habitats, and

*use recycling and promote self-sustaining biological cycles.

Is organic good for you?

There have been various studies to try to determine whether organic food is more nutritious than non-organic food. There is no one conclusive study. However, it appears that there may be some health benefits, including a higher level of antioxidants in organic food. One study estimated this difference to be between 19 percent and 69 percent higher in organic foods.[1]

One of the main attractions of organic food is the lack of harmful pesticide residue that can be found on non-organic food. Chemical pesticides are used in conventional farming to prevent damage from weeds, insects, rodents and fungus. Pesticide exposure has been linked to increased rates of chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. However, some experts warn that the amount of potential pesticide residue left on food is not sufficiently high in concentration to be harmful.

Another attraction for consumers in purchasing organic food is the farming practices used in producing organic meat and milk which are perceived as being kinder to animals. The livestock are raised without the use of hormones, antibiotics or food treated with pesticides.

VegesFinally, but importantly, taste is another reason people buy organic produce. The taste of organic vegetables, meat and milk is regarded by many people as far superior to the taste of non-organic produce.

The labelling debate

Any food products advertised as “organic” must follow strict guidelines. Countries have different organic certification standards. In Australia, there is a voluntary standard for growers and manufacturers wishing to label their products ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic’ (AS 6000–2009).

Some organic products are labelled as “certified” organic, whilst others are not. What is the difference and does it matter?

1. Certified organic

Some products bear a symbol, logo or other trade mark to show that they are certified organic. This certification is provided by various third party, private bodies that have minimum standards required for certification. In Australia, there is a move to try and standardise the organic standards across industries.

A business that labels its product as certified organic must ensure that its product is actually certified and conforms to the relevant certification standards on an ongoing basis.

Being certified as a producer is a big undertaking. In the case of farming practices, it requires developing and maintaining a whole system approach to farming. This process usually takes three years. For example, certified organic status as a farming producer requires a minimum period of three years of verified conformance with standards.[2]

2. Non-certified organic

It is expensive for small producers to have their products certified and many do not pursue certification. In order to claim their product is organic they must still use organic farming practices, however, their farm and products have not undergone a strict certification process.

Come to the marketsMangos

For products not “certified” organic, it is difficult for consumers to know whether the product is entirely organic. At the markets, you can speak with stallholders and learn about how their products are farmed or made. Market stallholders also tend to make smaller quantities than large commercial producers and have quality produce.

Come and visit your local markets and speak with the stallholders directly about how they made their product.

 

[Sources/references] Research with thanks to:

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) “Organic claims”
https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/groceries/organic-claims#-certified-products

“Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds” The Guardian, 11 July 2014
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

Australian Certified Organic “Farming certification”
https://aco.net.au/organiccertification/farming/

[1] “Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds” The Guardian, 11 July 2014 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/organic-food-more-antioxidants-study

[2] “Farming certification” Australian Certified Organic aco.net.au https://aco.net.au/organiccertification/farming/

Meet Two Creeks Honey

Written by . Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Two Creeks Honey make pure honey, harvested from the bushland in East Lindfield, Sydney. We find out more about how they started, their prize-winning honey and the benefits of beekeeping.

Starting out

Owners of Two Creeks Honey, Lynda and Rod Kay, started learning about beekeeping less than three years ago when they joined the North Shore Beekeepers Association and undertook a beekeeping course. They started with two hives and now have twenty hives scattered around East Lindfield and a busy honey-making business.Twocreekshoney1

Lynda says she and her husband “fell in love with beekeeping at the same rate”, enjoying a pastime they can do together. They also found their garden improved ten-fold having its own bees. For example, an orange tree and lemon tree without fruit for about fifteen years are now full with fruit.

The proliferation of hives meant more and more honey which Lynda and Rod wanted to capture and sell. Their honey and honey products are made in East Lindfield and sold at That Great Market in East Lindfield. It doesn’t get more locally made than that. Some of their twenty hives are now hosted by neighbours in East Lindfield who are also enjoying the benefits of having bees in their garden. 

Twocreekshoney3The honey

Bees will travel up to seven kilometres for food, but they will move to the strongest and nearest source. For the bees at Two Creeks, this is the Garigal National Park. Lynda says, whilst every extraction has its own individual taste, the distinctive flavour of Two Creeks Honey comes from the gum trees in the National Park. These trees produce a lot of pollen and nectar, so the bees can “feast” here.

The flavours in Two Creeks Honey you won’t find in commercial honey, which is usually a blend of honey from different sources. Commercial honey is also heavily processed with heating and filtering. This blending and processing leads to honey that has lost its particular nuance and flavour.

Each hive at Two Creeks makes about 50 kilograms of honey. When there is “nectar-flow” the honey is collected once every two weeks and, otherwise, once a month. At the end of autumn, there must be enough honey left in the hive to sustain it through winter. In late August and September, the hive expands with the birth of thousands of baby bees. 

The end of bees?

Bee colony collapse is happening all over the world. Lynda says, about thirty percent of our food requires pollination in order to be produced and bees are the most successful pollinators. This bee crisis doesn’t just impact fruit and vegetable production, but also meat production because of the reliance of livestock on grasses, crops and lucerne for food.

Lynda noticed a lack of bees in their own garden, before acquiring their hives. She thinks the widespread reliance on pesticides and insecticides nowadays is probably largely responsible for this decrease in bees.

Do you want to find out more about beekeeping? There are lots of beekeeping groups and information now available as more and more people are interested in keeping bees and helping pollination. 

Where?Twocreekhoney2

Come down to That Great Market, East Lindfield, and meet Lynda and Rod and check out their beautiful honey, in the form of liquid honey, creamed honey, and chocolate honey hearts. Their creamed honey is wrapped in paper, old-style, like butter. Last year, they won the Blue Ribbon at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for their creamed honey.

Two Creeks also sell a range of honey products, such as wax candles, lip balm and leather conditioner. Last year, they won the Blue Ribbon and the Champion Ribbon at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for their wax candles.

They are also happy to sell from their premises and will post products too. They make local deliveries of larger quantities of honey.

For more information, visit http://www.twocreekshoney.com.au or https://www.facebook.com/twocreekshoney

That Great Market is open on the 3rd Sunday each Month
East Lindfield Community Hall & Surrounds
9 Wellington Road, East Lindfield
9am to 2pm
https://www.facebook.com/thatgreatmarket/

Chilli – Heat up for Winter

Written by . Monday, 26 June 2017

A guide to the best chillies for your cooking

Some people can eat them straight, but for most of us chillies are added to our cooking or maybe our drinks. Chillies can make or break a dish. Here is a guide to the best chillies to buy and use in your cooking.

Chilli – it’s good for you

Chillies belong to the capsicum family, which also includes cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeno and, of course, capsicum. They are thought to have originated in Mexico.

Chillies are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, which is often called the “anti-infection” vitamin. They can help with fighting sinus congestion.Chilliv2

Capsaicin is the chemical compound that makes chillies taste hot. It is found mostly in the seeds and white membrane inside the chilli, although some also seeps into the flesh. Their spiciness is measured in Scoville heat units. The hotter the chilli, the more capsaicin it contains.

The power of capsaicin is well known. Herbal therapeutic creams use capsaicin to soothe muscles. Pepper spray also uses capsaicin.

Types of chilli

Much of the flavour of a chilli comes from its flesh. Chilli features in cooking all around the world, especially in Asia and Mexico, where they have perfected the balance of flavour and heat.

Here are some of the main types of chillies available in Australia and the types of dishes they are best suited to:

*Bell pepper (very mild): we call these capsicums in Australia. They are not spicy and can be eaten raw or cooked. Add to casseroles, sandwiches, pasta sauces and pizza. Or try them stuffed with rice or quinoa, meat and or vegetables, sprinkled with cheese and baked.

Capsicumv2*Long chilli (medium): these can be up to 15 centimetres long. They ripen from green to red. They are the most common type of chilli sold in Australia. Their heat levels will vary depending upon the season. The long green chillies are milder and are perfect for vegetable curries. Add long red chillies to salads, pasta sauces and meat curries.

*Jalapeno (medium): these are five to nine centimetres long. They are picked while green, but will ripen to red. Red jalapeno peppers, dried and smoked, are chipotle peppers. Jalapenos can be eaten fresh or pickled. They are often added to sandwiches, burgers, dips or sprinkled on dishes. Try adding them to your tuna salad.

*Cayenne pepper (medium): the thick skin of these chillies makes them suitable for grinding. They are usually ground to make cayenne powder which can add a kick to your cooking. The peppers were first grown and traded in the city of Cayenne in French Guiana. Try cayenne added with lemon juice as a dressing for dark green leaves, or add a little to an omelette.

*Bird’s eye (hot): these tiny two to four centimetre chillies can be exceptionally hot. They are often used in south-east Asian cooking, such as salads and Indonesia’s sambal ulek (chilli paste).

*Serrano (hot): these small chillies look like bird’s eye chilli but have a rounded tip like jalapenos, and when they ripen they are red, yellow and orange. They are often used in Mexican cooking. Add these to a salsa or chutney.

*Habanero (very hot): these are about five centimetres long and are named after the city of Havana, Cuba, where they were traded. They ripen to yellow, orange and red. These chillies are so hot that you must wear gloves to avoid burning your hands. Add a small amount of these to a spice blend for meat.Chilli

To deseed or not deseed?

In the world of chilli, there is considerable debate as to whether or not to deseed chillies. There are two schools of thought:

Seed lovers say do not bother deseeding chillies. They argue you will remove all of their heat and you would be better off adding less chilli, or substituting altogether with capsicum.

Seed removers argue that there is nothing wrong with deseeding chillies. Most of the flavour is contained in the flesh and you will still get some heat from using only the flesh. Also, the majority of the nutrients are contained in the flesh.

If you want to deseed a chilli, snap off the green stem at the end of the chilli, using a sharp knife cut down the length of the chilli to split it into two halves. Using either a knife or a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds.

You can keep the seeds and dry them to use in cooking or plant them to grow your own chilli plants.

When handling chillies, some people like to wear thin gloves. Usually, gloves are only needed for very hot chillies. However, it is good practice to thoroughly wash your hands after handling chillies and be cautious about touching your hands to your eyes—chillies cause a burning sensation if they come into contact with your eyes.

At the markets

Talk to your fresh produce stallholder for the chillies they have available and the best ones for your dish.

Try adding some chilli to your favourite recipes, or try a chilli that you haven’t eaten before. If you overdo it, remember milk based products, like cucumber raita, will soothe the burn.

 

Research with thanks to:

SBS Food: “The burning question: Do you deseed chillies?” http://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2016/04/19/burning-question-do-you-deseed-chillies

Good Food: “A user’s guide to chillies” http://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/a-users-guide-to-chillies-20130405-2hczq

Chasing Chilli: “Types of chilli peppers (Chilli 101)” http://chasingchilli.com.au/types-of-chilli-peppers-chilli-101/

The World’s Healthiest Foods “Chilli pepper, dried” http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=29

Margot Design captures Sydney

Written by . Thursday, 15 June 2017

Margot Warre, owner of Margot Design, speaks with us about her love for Sydney, her textile design work, and how she makes the products that have won her a loyal following. Margot1

Margot Warre loves Sydney. Her textile designs reflect the natural beauty of its beaches and landscape, and her time overseas, including studying design in Paris, has taught her that Sydney is where she wants to be. Now we can buy a piece of her Sydney at the markets.

A designer through and through

The creator of Margot Designs is internationally recognised textile designer, Margot Warre. Margot always knew she wanted to be a textile designer. Her grandmother was a founding partner of the iconic lingerie store, White Ivy, in Double Bay, and even created some of the lace and underwear for Queen Elizabeth II for her Coronation. And Margot’s mother is a painter and illustrator. Margot inherited the creativity of these women and also their love for fabric.

Margot2Margot learned to print, weave and dye. She has worked for Mokum Textiles, Warwick Fabrics and Sheridan. She lived for a couple of years near Sacre Coeur in Paris, during which time she attended the Parsons School of Design and studied Fine Arts, majoring in textile printing. It was here that she appreciated how different her aesthetic was to her fellow students from Europe and the US. For Margot, her colours were so bright and clear, and her designs and patterns were fresh, modern and based in nature. She wanted to bring this aesthetic home to Sydney, the city she loves.

Sydney – a palette

For Margot, Sydney is her inspiration—the light that is unique to Sydney, and its flowers, smells, summer heat, freshness and “the sparkle that Sydney gets”. A self-confessed water baby, Margot regards the beach as medicine and goes to the beach every chance she can, often ending her day there. The colours and movement of the beach landscape give her daily inspiration, as do the intricate shells and seaweed.

By design

Margot’s designs tell a story.

Mélange (French for “mixture and medley”) – Margot’s first collection is a mixture of colour, pattern and textiles inspired by the flowers of Sydney in summer. This collection comprises six floral designs printed on 100 percent silk Georgette, a beautiful draping, lightweight fabric with a crepe-like texture.

*Popular design: Yesterday, today and tomorrow is a stunning blue, floral design, colourful and vibrant. The design is inspired by the plant of the same name which Margot’s mother used to point out to her as a child.

La Mer (French for “the sea”) – Margot’s second collection is inspired by watching storms roll in and change the colours of the sea in winter. This collection comprises four designs printed on a silk, wool twill base cloth.

*Popular design: Jardin de la mer (French for “garden of the sea”) features a Jacaranda blue that rains down upon Sydney. Margot3

Her upcoming collection will be released shortly and is inspired by the art deco buildings of Sydney.

Margot’s designs are available as cotton linen throws, which can double as beach towels or picnic rugs, scarves, cushions, and framed, limited edition prints. She also has available, at the markets only, small artworks priced at $15.

Making the art sustainable

Margot uses sustainable, natural fabrics in all of her designs—silk, wool, linen and cotton. There are no synthetic fabrics used, no mass production. All of her work is hand finished.

The work is produced in Sydney, because Margot wants her work to come from here. She oversees the production and works directly with the people who manufacture the work. They also care about the quality of the product and are proud of it too.

Margot4Where?

Margot Design products are available at markets, the first being The Market Tales, Precinct 75 at St Peters, with potentially some upcoming markets in Paddington and Avalon. You can also purchase direct from www.margotdesign.com.au or you can contact Margot to visit her in her studio.

For more information see her website or visit https://www.facebook.com/margotdesign.com.au/

 

Rose Bay Farmers Market

Written by . Monday, 05 June 2017

The Eastern Suburbs have welcomed Rose Bay Farmers Market with open arms. The new weekly market is perfectly located in a leafy park, mid-way between New South Head Road and Old South Head Road. The market offers a quality line-up of produce stalls and a range of gift items too. Whether you are after a quick stock-up, a leisurely morning or a lunchtime snack, you won’t be disappointed.

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Piles of fresh produce are ready for the taking including The Regional Store which is laden with fresh Macleay Valley grown fruit and vege. Once a month the market is also proud to be collaborating with the Rose Bay Community Garden who are harvesting their seasonal produce for purchase. Boasting a zero food mile footprint, it is showcasing sustainable practice at its best!

Locals can also stock up on fresh eggs and organic, grass fed meats thanks to The Ethical Farmers, there are delicious breads and baked treats from Organic Bread Bar, raw desserts from Cream Fork, nut butters from Yummee Gluten Free, hand cultured butter from Pepe Saya, fresh creamy milk from The Pines in Kiama (milked the day before!), fresh seafood and beautiful native flowers from Sweetpea and Honeybee to name a few..

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The organisers, Cambridge Markets have created a lovely local market with a range of core stalls and a handful of changing merchants to mix it up each week. From French market baskets to gourmet and organic goodies as well as an activity space for the kiddies, there is something for everyone.

Spread the word – this local market is here to stay!

Every Tuesday – 8am to 2pm

Pannerong Reserve
Corner Newcastle St and Wilberforce Ave,
Rose Bay

https://www.cambridgemarkets.com.au/

Avoca Beachside Markets always impress. They offer a range of select, unique stalls, are visually stunning and even have a shuttle bus to and from the local pub. Come to Avoca Beachside Markets and see for yourself. Avocastage2

Just over one hour north of Sydney, Avoca feels like another world. Avoca Beachside Markets offer a special experience for market goers. So if you like your markets unique, relaxing and beautiful, this is the place to be.

Creative duo and owners of Fixx Events, Bianca and Brad Cardis, first started the Avoca Beachside Markets seven years ago. They wanted high quality, selective markets in their own community. With their extensive experience in the arts world, together with Brad’s background in organising big events, they have brought a new creative vision to the Central Coast.

What’s on offer?

Avoca3Avoca Beachside Markets are held on the fourth Sunday each month and are a feast.

*Stalls: These markets have had a waiting list of stallholders from day one and you can see why. There are over 120 stalls with local artisans selling exceptional fashion, homewares, jewellery, art, plants and foodie goods. These markets pride themselves on their Australian produce, with eighty percent of their produce locally made.

*Atmosphere and entertainment: Bianca and her team have made the markets visually attractive and distinct. The markets have a creative, bohemian vibe, with flags, backdrops and quirky, hula hoop signs. All add to an outdoor space that is welcoming and reflects the relaxed Central Coast. Performers take centre stage here as part of the Avoca Beachside Markets Music Momentum Programme, so be prepared to be entertained with live acts by excellent, local and emerging artists.

*Transport: A shuttle bus runs every fifteen minutes from the Avoca Beach Hotel to the markets and back again. This lets you have a beer at the end of a day of shopping and relaxing at the markets. It also cuts down on the traffic going to and from the markets. There is even an “after party” at the Avoca Beach Hotel which everyone is invited to come along to. This is great for live entertainment and some cheap, tasty food before heading home.

Neon Garage - Cretive Space & Workshops

In March last year, Bianca and Brad launched the creative space, Neon Garage, co-ordinating events and workshops and helping performers get their start.

Neon Garage’s workshops offer you the opportunity to learn directly from local artisans and producers. More of these workshops are coming up later this year. Here are some of the big hit workshops:

  • Farrah’s Stone - Alexandra Farrah is an illustrator working with a range of media. In this workshop, she teaches techniques and practical skills in watercolour painting. Participants get to complete their own A4 watercolour to take home.
  • Fermenting Australia - led by fermenting revivalist and nutritionist, Sammi Zajko, these fermenting vegetables workshops are a must. They were incredibly popular last year and are being run all over New South Wales as people seize on the fermenting food trend.

Keep an eye out for workshops coming up on the Neon Garage website. https://www.facebook.com/neongarage/NeonGarage1v2

Avoca Beachside Markets are held at Heazlett Park Foreshore every fourth Sunday, from 9am-2pm, with the next one being held on Sunday, 28 May 2017.

Put it in your diary and see you at Avoca Beachside Markets. See their Facebook page for more details: Avoca Beachside Markets

 

With approximately 1500 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in Australia alone, it’s time to take notice. The Rozelle Collectors Market Charity Auction is supporting the fight against the disease with a unique antiques roadshow and charity auction.

Rozelle Collectors Market will be hosting a roadshow and fundraising auction to help raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer on Saturday 20 May 2017. IMG 0693v2

From 10am you have the opportunity to have your vintage treasures professionally valued ‘Antiques Roadshow’ style for a paper note donation (from $5).

The charity auction will kick off at 12pm and will be hosted by Adam from Aussie Pickers and Lawson’s Auctioneers.

The eclectic auction items range from vintage leather bags to tribal art, a retro robot, an antique library chair, an old netted fisherman’s buoy, workshops, framing, food and shopping vouchers. You can even bid for a marketing internship or a tour of Atlassian.

A full list of auction items is on the charity Facebook or Instagram page.

About Rozelle Collectors Market:

With a history spanning over twenty years, Rozelle Collectors Market is widely regarded as one of the first in Sydney’s now bustling market scene. An essential component of Rozelle’s eclectic community, Rozelle Collectors Market is loved by locals and out-of-towners alike.

The open-air market is dedicated to pre-loved goods and takes place every Saturday and Sunday within the grounds of the historic Rozelle Public School. Packed full of stalls, from one-off pop ups through to longstanding stallholders that specialise in vintage, bric-a-brac and antique wares, Rozelle Collectors Market was taken over by a new operator in 2016, and has continued to evolve whilst retaining its original charm.

The market also prides itself on showcasing local entertainers and artisanal provedores alongside its range of stalls, making for a fun day out for all the family.

Supporting an important cause:

Organised by longtime stallholder John Moran and his family, the Rozelle Collectors Market Charity Auction is supporting the fight against ovarian cancer. Moran Family Feb 2016

John and his wife Megan decided to organise the event following their own experiences with the disease. Megan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2015 and after a 17 month battle, is now in remission. Nevertheless, with an average of four women in Australia diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day, the Morans are determined to continue raising awareness of the silent killer.

The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer currently sits at just 43%, so it’s important women of all ages know what to look out for. As well as the auction, the Morans have organised an information stall where visitors can find out everything they need to know about the disease.

How you can get involved:

Head down to Rozelle Markets from 10am and enjoy a great day at one of Sydney’s most popular antiques, vintage, retro and collectibles markets. All donations will go towards ovarian cancer research and can be made on the day, or via the fundraising page below:

https://ovariancancer.secure.force.com/Fundraise/fundraising1617/RozelleMarketsCharityAuctionforOvarianCancer

Rozelle Collectors Market

Rozelle Public School, 663 Darling Street, Rozelle.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

10am – 12pm

Further Information:

https://www.facebook.com/rozellemarketsovariancancer/

https://www.instagram.com/popuppaddy/

http://www.localmarketguide.com.au/1038-rozelle-collectors-market

 

 

Brussels sprouts are making a comeback. They are packed with vitamins and when cooked right are sweet and irresistible. Brussels sprouts* are good for you, rich in vitamin antioxidants, including Vitamin C and Vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, and Vitamin K. They are also high in fibre, providing 4 grams of fibre in every cup.

Here are tips for buying, cooking and storing your sprouts.

How are sprouts grown? Brussels2

Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family, Brassica, which includes broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Looking like miniature cabbages, they measure between 2.5 and 4 centimetres. They grow on a central stalk, measuring about 60 to 120cm, rather than on the ground like broccoli and cabbage. Each stalk contains 15 to 20 sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Brussels, Belgium, in the 13th Century. Some have said that the town of Brussels looks like a Brussels sprout when viewed on a map.

Brussels sprouts are available all year round and are at their best from autumn through to early spring. Choose sprouts that are firm, compact and bright green. The smaller they are, the sweeter.

How to cook sprouts

Brussels sprouts, when cooked properly, are crisp and dense in texture, like a true miniature cabbage. Their flavour is sweet.

It is important not to overcook sprouts as they lose their nutritional value and emit an unpleasant sulphur smell.

They can be boiled, steamed, parboiled and then sautéed or they can be roasted. They can also be eaten raw and shredded in salads and stir fries.

To steam them, so they cook evenly and quickly, cut each sprout into quarters and steam them for five minutes. Alternatively, cut a deep cross into the base to enable the heat to enter the middle of the sprout and steam for seven to ten minutes, depending upon their size. Test regularly, using a knife, to avoid overcooking. Eat steamed or use one of the variations below.

If you are sautéing the Brussels sprouts, but not straight after steaming, cool them in an ice bath, this will help them stay bright green. Also, when sautéing, use a large pan so that they have space and to stop them from steaming further.

Brussels3v2Here are some of the best ways to serve and eat sprouts:

*Combine cooked Brussels sprouts with red onion, walnuts and a mild flavoured cheese such as goat cheese or feta.

*Toss cooked sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a cooked salad.

*Shred finely and add raw to a salad for crunch and vivid green colour, or add to your favourite stir fry.

*Sautee with bacon and onion.

*Delicious when roasted, let them become crisp and golden brown with some burned leaves for depth of flavour, and toss with balsamic vinegar and honey.

*Roast with olive oil and herbs, or roast together with sweet potato for a colourful side dish.

*Roast until crisp, add bacon, béchamel sauce and a crispy bread crumb topping for a gratin.

*The traditional UK Christmas dinner includes Brussels sprouts served with cooked chestnuts.

How best to store sprouts

Keep sprouts unwashed and untrimmed in the vegetable compartment of the fridge. They are best eaten within three to four days, but can be kept unwashed in a moist towel in a perforated plastic bag, or in a bowl lined with paper towelling for 10 days.

If you are able to purchase Brussels sprouts on the stalk, these will last for up to a month in the fridge if stored with a moist paper towel around the stub.Brussels1v2

They can also be snap frozen. To freeze, rinse and dry the sprouts and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes. After refreshing in cold water, drain and freeze in freezer bags or containers.

Your local fresh produce seller

Stop in and see your fresh produce seller at your local markets for your tastiest Brussels sprouts.

*Wait - we know what you’re thinking, we’re calling them Brussels sprouts (plural), when you’ve heard them called Brussel sprouts (singular), right? No it’s not a typo, there’s been big debate about that and you can read all about it here.

 

Research with thanks to:

“Brussels Sprouts” Brussels.info, http://brussels.info

“Flemish sautéed Brussels sprouts”, Global Table Adventure, http://globaltableadventure.com

“Brussels sprouts”, whfoods.org, The world’s healthiest foods, http://whfoods.com

 

More than one million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. This is taking a massive toll on the environment. But there are things you can do to reduce your usage of plastic.

Plastic Bags – The Shocking Stats

A staggering ten tonnes of plastic waste litter Sydney Harbour and its foreshores each year. And plastic bags are a significant contributor. Plasticbags2

It’s not just the look of this amount of rubbish that matters either. For sea life, a plastic bag resembles a jellyfish, something eatable. This is why fish, birds and turtles often die from plastic ingestion, the bags and waste caught in their stomachs. Worldwide, one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year from plastic in our oceans.

Here are some facts on plastic bags:

*worldwide, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used each year, this is more than one million bags being used every minute

*46 percent of plastics float and they can drift for years before settling in the ocean

*plastic takes between 500 and 1,000 years to degrade

*only about 3 percent of plastic bags are recycled - did you know you could recycle them?

Go Plastic-free at the Markets

Many markets and market goers support plastic-free shopping. People want to buy fresh local produce made using sustainable farming practices with minimal environmental impact. This means fresh food, without packaging.

Some market retailers implement plastic-free initiatives and market goers expect plastic-free shopping, often bringing their own reusable bags to the market or purchasing reusable bags there.

Retailers and consumers will lead change in this area, as government bans on plastic bags have been slow to come into force. In Australia, single-use plastic bags have been banned in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the ACT. There are no bans in place in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The Queensland government has said their ban will come into effect next year.

Tips for Cutting out Plastic

In addition to bringing your reusable bags to the markets and other shops, here are some tips for reducing your plastic usage: Plasticbags3v2

*bring your own washable coffee cup for your next cup of coffee

*carry water in a washable canteen rather than buying bottled water

*carry reusable utensils in your bag to use when you are out

*travel with a small cloth bag for unexpected purchases

* favour retailers who don't package their goods

*at home, use reusable food covers

*pack kids lunches, and your own, using reusable cloth sandwich sleeves and reusable food wrap

*recycle any plastic that you do have to use - many supermarket chains have dedicated bins to collect plastic bags and wrappings that aren’t collected by local councils in normal garbage and recycling collections.

Plasticbags1No More Plastic

Plastic pollution is a global problem with action being taken only by some governments. Consumers and retailers will have to lead the way on reducing the use of plastic bags and packaging, and shopping at the markets is a good way to start. See you at the markets, with your reusable bags ready for shopping and your own coffee cup!

 

Research with thanks to:

*“22 facts about plastic pollution (and 10 things we can do about it)” Ecowatch, http://www.ecowatch.com

*“Sydney Harbour hidden plastic pollution is killing endangered turtles and marine life” ABC News, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-12/sydney-harbour-hidden-plastics-threatening-endangered-turtles/8263368

*Plastic bag recycling http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/bags/SydneyNSW

 

Australia - a coffee culture

Coffee is the go-to drink for many Australians. The way we order our coffee is important, but so is the source of our coffee. And now, more than ever, Australians want to know what goes into their coffee.

We invented the flat white but many enjoy the long black, espresso or macchiato. The taste of these coffees turns on the quality of the beans used. Little wonder we are becoming more knowledgeable and selective about the source of our coffee beans. Coffee1

How much coffee do you drink?

Coffee is consumed by nearly half the Australian population. One in three people aged 19-30 years, and two in three people aged 51-70 years, drink coffee. The median amount of coffee consumed daily is 330 mls, which is about one large mug.

How do you take your coffee?

Everyone has their own preferences for how they take their coffee – is yours a flat white, cappuccino, latte, long black or short black? Here are some newer ways of making coffee that are taking off:

Pour-over coffee: this is made using freshly ground coffee in a filter and a “pour-over dripper” which holds the filter. The coffee is not “plunged” into water, like the French press, instead water is slow dripped over the coffee. This method is slow and emphasises the flavour of the coffee beans.

Filter coffee: people are again buying coffee filters for home. As with pour-over coffee, the quality of the coffee bean is paramount because the flavours are extracted more slowly than with other types of coffee. Filter roast coffee is usually lighter than espresso roast, having been less developed in the roaster. The final finish is milder than the more caramelised finish of the espresso roast.

Cold brew: this type of coffee is replacing the traditional “iced coffee”. It is made by steeping fresh ground coffee in cold water for between 12 and 24 hours. The cool temperature of the water and the lack of movement mean that not as much flavour is extracted from the beans. Some retailers use twice as many beans in making the cold brew so that drinkers get the full “hit” of flavour.

CoffeeFarmWhere in the world does your coffee come from?

Because the new trends in the way coffee is consumed emphasise the flavour of the bean, it isn’t surprising that people are increasingly interested in where their coffee is sourced. Like wine grapes, there are regional differences depending upon where the coffee bean is grown.

Black coffee drinkers in particular will want to source single origin coffee. This means the coffee has been supplied by one farm or estate, rather than a blend.

The two main coffee trees are Arabica, which produces about 70 percent of the world’s coffee bean harvest, and Robusta, which produces the remainder.

Coffee is best grown in warmer climates and therefore usually comes from the “coffee belt” which is roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Brazil is the biggest producer, followed by Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ethiopia, India and other countries.

Between these countries and within them too, there are variations in rainfall, temperature and soil conditions which, similar to the growing of grapes for wine, impact the flavour of the beans and the ultimate cup of coffee. There are also different types of coffee bean varietals, for example, common varietals of the Arabica tree are Bourbon, Caturra and Typica. All produce a slightly different flavour.

With so many variants and influences, the coffee bean is sounding more and more like the wine grape.

Will the coffee run out?

Coffee farming worldwide is likely to be affected by climate change which has brought about more erratic rainfall in some areas, and an increase in pests and diseases. The Climate Institute in Australia estimated that by 2050 climate change will have halved the area suitable for coffee production. Given the poverty of many coffee producing nations, there is a lack of diversification of crop and a lack of investment and research in ensuring continuing coffee production.

In 2010, the Initiative for Coffee and Climate was founded by key players in the private development and research sectors, to address issues arising from changing climate conditions. Their pilot programs are being run in partnership with coffee farmers in Brazil, Tanzania, Trifinio (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) and Vietnam, which are some of the biggest producers in the world. Coffee3

The hope is that with attention now being given to the sustainability of coffee production and real investment in new production methods, some of the worst predictions won’t be realised.

Is “Fair Trade” and organic coffee worth it?

In the coffee trade, the “Fair Trade” certification is important – it guarantees a minimum price and this assists farmers who are often from some of the world’s poorest nations. The “Fair Trade” organisation also supports research programs relating to climate change which will help bolster the resilience of farmers to changes in climate and resulting market conditions.

As for organic – the proof is in the taste. Organic coffee is grown without the use of chemicals and artificial pesticides, and using only natural fertilizers. Coffee that is grown conventionally is heavily reliant upon synthetic pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. This affects the crop, the farmers who are handling it, and the soil and environment. 

Organic coffee allows for more sustainable crop production, and is also supposed to be higher in anti-oxidants – so it is better for you and tastes better too. 

Your local coffee seller

Stop in and see your coffee seller at your local markets.

Visit the Saporium Market in Rosebery, held every Saturday from 10am-3pm, and visit

Welcome Dose Coffee which has a “bean-to-cup” philosophy. 

or The Little Marionette at Pyrmont Growers Market on 4th Saturday each month.

Toby's Estate Coffee at Northside Produce Market

[Research:]

Australian Bureau of Statistics “Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12” http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.007~2011-12~Main%20Features~Non-alcoholic%20beverages~701

National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/coffee/map.html

Climate Institute: http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/coffee.html

Initiative for Coffee and Climate http://www.coffeeandclimate.org/about-cc.html ]

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