There’s a lot of tree shaking going on in Australia this time of year. From April until July, olive farmers are getting up early to harvest their olive trees – in this case, to operate their mechanical tree shakers.
At Gwydir Grove, they’re working their way through acres of land, ‘tickling’ the trees until all the olives fall down. They collect trillions, passing them on to production, and the rounds of pressing begin.
Gwydir Grove takes us behind their production plant doors to help us understand how the olive oils you eat end up on your table.
The perfect conditions for growing olive oil
There’s something special about the lands from which the Gwydir Grove olives grow. Nestled in between country towns Moree and Inverell, Northern NSW, this part of the Moree Plains overlies a portion of the Great Artesian Basin.
For Gwydir Grove, this means extensive access to underground water resources. And when there’s not enough water from below or above, the Gwydir River that runs through helps to feed the olive trees too, and nourish the rich black soils that house them – the perfect olive-growing conditions.
Two women, 85,000 trees and plenty of pressing
As one of Australia’s finest olive oil producers, Gwydir Grove started 20 years ago, when ‘ladies of the land’, owner Margi Kirkby and Jenni Birch, planted new olive trees. While waiting for the trees to grow, they harvested all the local olive trees they could find, and using a second-hand olive press, began selling the oils in local shops.
Today they continue to grow, press, blend and harvest on the land. When it’s harvesting season, Margi and Jenni and their team trawl the trees to gather the fruit and send it in truckloads to the processing plant for pressing and bottling.
The olives are moved into a crusher and pulped, pipped and turned into mush. The mush is churned continuously for almost an hour, at temperatures below 27 degree Celsius, ‘cold pressed’ to ensure quality.
It binds together and separates from olive sludge or ‘pomace’, which is re-processed for a second-rate virgin oil or pomace oil. From mush and sludge, luminous green oil is produced. It is tested on site for quality, and then sent away for further testing to achieve ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ (EVOO) status.
What classifies oil as extra virgin olive oil?
To classify as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVVO) the oil from the first pressing needs to contain a certain level of fatty acids, namely oleic acid which is monounsaturated – ‘the good fats’ – responsible for great health. EVVO confirms the oil is chemical free and that only a small amount of heat was used during production. It also implies the fruit of the olive trees were disease-free and harvested at the ideal time.
Australia has one of the highest levels of quality controls in the world for rating EVOO (look for the EVOO symbol; if it doesn’t say ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’, it’s not) – good news for us.
While Extra Virgin olive oil is considered the most premium of olive oil, Virgin oil is produced from the second pressing – or the second-grade of olives – by cold pressing that requires little heat. It’s also free of chemicals.
Olive oil or ‘pure’ olive oil is the commercial grade product you’ll find in grocery stores. This oil consists of the leftover oil that’s been through multiple pressings, and has gone through heat, chemical solvents, high pressure and filtration treatments in the production process, and is mixed with a tiny amount of virgin oil to restore flavour and colour.
Light and extra light olive oil are produced from the last pressing of olives, and are more refined and of lower quality than the others. Being refined means it’s been heavily tested during the final production process and offers none of the benefits that make up Extra Virgin Olive Oil’s powerful reputation as a superior natural product.
Tried and tested: what types of olive oil are most popular?
Locally produced olive oil is better for you. Compared to importehttps://www.localmarketguide.com.au/files/blog/local-market-guide/d products, they’ve been in storage for less time, meaning they’ve retained more nutrients. Try a few of Gwydir Grove’s award-winning favourites:
*Splurge on olive oil of the highest kind. Treat yourself to Gwydir Grove’s sought-after ‘cloudy oil’. The cloudier the oil, the fresher it is, full of antioxidants and polyphenols, and grassy green and creamy. Although harder to come by and generally triple the price of older olive oil, this cloudy oil – also known as ‘Nuevello’ – is an absolute culinary treat.
*Feast on Gwydir Grove’s most famous. ‘Agrumato’ is an Italian word meaning ‘citrus’ – not an essence but the real citrus. In Gwydir Grove’s Agrumato olive oil, the zest in the rind creates unique flavours, from blood orange and mandarin to lemon and lime.
*Try the truffle oil. This year, Margi has coupled Gwydir Grove’s olive oil with specially selected truffle oil from the Margaret River region. The results have tasters raving.
Where you can find Gwydir Grove?
You’ll also find them at plenty of food and wine festivals throughout the year.
Find out more at the Gwydir Grove website http://www.gwydirgrove.com.au
It may surprise you to learn that Australia is one of the top 10 honey producers in the world And we’re known for producing a high quality product.
So what’s the buzz when it comes to using Australian honey?
How do we use Australian honey?
Of the approximately 30,000 tonnes of Australian produced every year – 45 per cent of it coming from NSW – we use most of it right here, mainly for eating of course. But we also use honey for medicinal reasons – some believe it can help heal cuts, burns and scars. Manuka honey, native to Southeast Australia (and also New Zealand), is famous for this.
The rest of Australia’s honey is sent overseas: between 9,000 and 12,000 tonnes to 38 countries, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
How is quality Australian honey made?
Now while we’re talking honey, sweet shoppers, it would be odd to not pay respects to its maker. For without him (and her Majesty), we would have none of it. And unless you’re a melittologist (i.e. someone who studies bees), you might not know too much about the honeybee.
These little creatures are crucial to our communities. Our natural pollinators, they spend their time spreading pollen, visiting various flowers to collect nectar, and transforming it into honey.
Beekeeper Andrew, from Maya Sunny Honey in Sydney, believes that without bees, there is no life. One of almost 12,000 registered beekeepers – or honey farmers – in our country, he uses a unique approach to make honey as pure and as raw as it can be.
Placing jars upside down on a hive, the bees make their way directly into the jars to produce the honeycomb from scratch. According to Andrew, it takes about 450 bees to complete one small jar in four to six weeks, depending on the season. It takes 1,000 bees take two months to fill a larger one.
That’s a lot of humming!
How to use (and enjoy) honey
All this hard work in the hives means we get to reap the benefits. Here are some sticky notes on how to make the most of honey, especially during our winter months.. (Just keep in mind, when consuming, that the recommended daily honey intake is 50-100 grams.)
– Soak up the sweet season. While honey can be produced all year round, the ideal time to eat it is during Autumn. The health of flowers at this time of year means bees produce the best quality honey.
– Start early. Consume honey in the morning, when your body might need that extra energy boost.
– Splurge. Use honey to sweeten a nutritionally dense dish.
– Keep it cold. And don’t add water. This can destroy its enzymes, reducing the overall health-giving benefits.
– Keep it clean. Avoid coupling honey with foods rich in vitamins C and D – the mineral content of honey may damage these vitamins and negate any potential health benefit.
– Boost and soothe. If you’re feeling sluggish, take a small dose of honey to boost your immune system and energy levels. Honey can also help soothe a sore throat or whittle away the winter sniffles.
– Save it. If you’ve somehow overstocked, don’t stress! In its natural form, honey is dehydrated and will never go off because there’s no space for bacteria. Honey has even been found in tombs from Ancient Egypt, packed for people’s journey into afterlife.
– Sweeten up your system. Enjoy the variety of other products honey has to offer: creamed honey (processed to avoid crystallisation) for a sweeter hit; beeswax for soap and candles; or super foods royal jelly, pollen and propolis to lift energy levels.
Where can you find the best honey?
If you’re after the highest quality honey out there, hit your local markets for the most raw, organic, straight-from-the-beehive kind. Many of these will offer products online, but here are some special mentions in the meantime:
Maya Sunny Honey:
Two Creeks Honey:
Randwick Artisan Markets is a treasure trove of emerging local artists and designers and a new market for Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, held monthly at Royal Randwick Shopping Centre.
Each of the stallholders has been hand selected for their unique product range, and as a treat to the shopper, many are trading for the very first time. Stalls boast an abundance of handmade items from those that are knitted to those that are hand sewn, painted and even hand-blended. The stallholder’s are passionate about what they have made and equally inspiring are the stories about their businesses. Randwick Artisan Market is a reminder of what a market should be about – stallholders giving it a go and showcase of local creativity.
The pop-up market is currently held on the 1st Sunday each month. Around 20 stalls can be found boasting a changing line-up each month. The market is a new concept for Royal Randwick with proceeds from the market stall fees being proudly donated to the Ted Noffs Foundation – helping equip youth at risk to better manage their own lives.
Randwick Artisan Markets offers an indoor market setting, making it a perfect option on a cold and wet Winter day too!
Here are a couple of our favourites from the inaugural June market:
Showcasing a versatile kimocape which can be worn as a cape, dress or top as well as a range of cute kid’s bedroom décor.
Lotion Bar Co.
Chemical and preservative free skin care including body, bath and make-up; handmade from natural ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil & raw organic cacao butter. Ideal for sensitive skin, the products are blended with essential oils and nourishing natural ingredients. Products can be made to order.
Hand sewn baby items in fun fabrics and braids. Playmats, bibs, stroller blankets
Randwick Art Society
Showcasing the work of local artists. Affordable art in a variety of mixed mediums.
Colourful ladies clothes made with funky fabrics as well as hand drawn animal prints and cards.
Milieux Interior Design
A true artisan, Marie yarns her own Australian merino wool and makes it into chunky & deliciously warm knitted blankets.
Little Hands Make Magic
Handcrafted silver jewellery made with crystals and stones which are sourced from around the world. Gorgeous rings, pendants, cuffs and ornate necklaces. Love the Afghan jewellery too!
Randwick Artisan Markets – 1st Sunday each Month
73 Belmore Road, Randwick
Most Aussie cafe queues feature at least one lycra-clad customer ordering a skim latte, based on their conviction that skim milk is healthier. After all, fat we’re often told – and saturated fat in particular – is bad, both for weight gain and cholesterol.
This school of thought comes from the 1960s, when saturated fat was thought to raise LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which was linked to heart disease. Since that connection was made, sales of whole-milk have plummeted while skim milk has been flying off the shelves.
However, new research has found that people who eat low-fat dairy are not any less likely to develop heart disease or Type 2 diabetes than those who skim the fat.
As for weight gain, skim milk may contain less calories, but the way that these calories are absorbed by the body is more ambiguous.
New school thinking on full fat dairy
One New York blogger summarised the reasons for drinking full-fat milk. Some of her points included:
1) You absorb less nutrients with skim milk
Some of the nutrients in milk, like Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E dissolve in fat, so your body has a better chance of absorbing the good stuff when you drink full-fat milk.
2) Skim milk often contains added sugar
Some skim milks are low on flavour and dairies try and compensate by adding chocolate and other sugary flavouring to make it more palatable – especially to children. In the end, your drink has more calories.
3) Skim milk is not as satisfying
Saturated fats, like those found in full-fat milk, will trigger your body to release cholecystokinin, a hormone that makes you feel full. When you drink skim milk you are more likely to eat more later on in the day because chances are you are more hungry.
4) Some fat is good for you
Fats actually slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, so some fat – not necessarily from milk – is good for weight loss.
The counterpoint: counting the calories
Saying that, the truth for many people lies in the calories. A cup of skim milk contains 90 calories, while a cup of full-fat milk has 160. So those on a strict diet should probably opt for the former. After all, both types of milk are still full of nutritional benefits.
However, not all milk is created equally. For instance, some big-brand milk producers add permeate to their product. This is a by-product of skim-milk production and acts as a filler, when added to the remaining liquid.
Some dairies also add stabiliser into their milks, to help keep the texture consistent too.
Where to find real milk
Keep your eye out for other milk stalls at your local market… And when you’re next wiping away that milky moustache you can be guaranteed it’s 100% natural.
Indigenous flavours have been around for 40,000 years, so it’s probably wrong to call them a hot new trend. But in recent years Indigenous ingredients have hit the Aussie food scene in a big way.
Ironically, it takes world-class chefs to point Aussies in the direction of their backyards. Kylie Kwong has been championing the likes of finger limes and lilly pillies at her renowned Billy Kwong restaurant and Noma’s world-acclaimed Rene Redzepi recently shone a spotlight on our native offerings during the restaurant’s sell-out Sydney stint.
But if you are looking for a simpler way to try out our bush tucker then come along to our Blak Market pop-up for ‘Markets in May’ at Martin Place on 19 May 2016, where authentic indigenous artefacts will be sold alongside native herbs and foods. Mark Olive also known as the Black Olive will be providing a cooking demonstration and stalls like Playing with Fire and Bakarindi Bush Foods will show off their wares.
In the meantime here’s a brief introduction to some native ingredients that could add a twist to your meals:
Lilly Pillies – also known as the riberries – are prolific in Sydney, growing among many suburban hedges. The berry is tart and cranberry-like, with a hint of clove. It’s commonly used in jams, sauces and syrups. Kylie Kwong uses the fruit in a plum-like sauce to accompany her crispy-skinned duck.
The macadamia nut needs no introduction. This robust source of protein is great on its own and fantastic in desserts and baked goods. Macadamia oil makes for a superb pantry item, lending everything it touches a sweet, nutty flavour. It also has a high smoke point, making it ideal for stir-fried dishes.
Lemon Myrtle is native to Northern New South Wales and Queensland and has been used in both food and medicine for many centuries. The shrub has a great zesty flavour and packs a punch, even when used in small quantities. It can be used as a substitute for lemongrass and lemon zest and can spice up any dish including fish, chicken and sorbet.
The wattle is famous enough to be featured on our coat of arms, but it’s culinary uses less well known. Wattleseed, derived from the husk of the wattle, is rich in carbohydrate and proteins. Indigenous Australians often used wattle seed as a flour but it can also thicken sauces and casseroles. Roasted wattleseed has a rich, nutty flavour, making it a wonderful addition to chocolatey desserts.
Finger limes look more like gherkins than a citrus fruit, but they are full of caviar-like pulp which explodes in the mouth with intense lemon-lime flavour. Like lime, finger limes can be used in a variety of ways such as salads, seafood, drinks and dessert. Finger limes are a great edible garnish, their unique appearance is likely to impress any hard-to-please dinner guests.
Want to know more?
The Blak Market Pop-up will be for one day only between 11-2 on Thursday, 19 May at Sydney’s Martin Place. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.
Northside Produce Market is one of the ‘originals’ and has been operating for over 17 years. Their dedicated farmers and producers come from as far and wide as Orange, The Southern Highlands, Adelong and even from a hill top in Coleambally.
Blessed with the grassy surrounds of Civic Park on Miller Street, the market offers a natural amphitheatre where visitors can sit back and welcome in the weekend. It is here that there are often also informative events and activities held alongside the market including talks, book launches and demonstrations. If you missed helping press Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at the market last week thanks to Tom Munro, owner of boutique wine producer The Other Bordeaux, then make sure you come in November to help bottle the wine!
This month, in celebration of the inaugural 1st Saturday market on 7th May, you can enjoy a free ‘Behind the Scenes Market Tour’ with Tawnya Bahr, a great opportunity to hear from passionate foodies and learn about how the food comes to you. Tours at 7.30am and 9.00am. Bookings Essential.
Spread the word – Northside Produce Market just got bigger and better!
Northside Produce Market
Miller Street, North Sydney
8am to Midday
Welcome to Markets in May, our annual showcase of local Sydney markets, brought to your lunch desk thanks to the talents of our local stallholders.
Head down to Martin Place for the first three Thursdays in May for a pop-up lunchtime market, with a changing line-up of stalls and demonstrations every week. You can taste some of the state’s finest fodder straight from the people who have produced it and hear some traders share their stories as part of the Taste & Talk event. This year’s lineup promises to be our biggest yet. Stallholders include the likes of: Gwydir Grove Olive Oil, Food & U, Yummee Gluten Free, Mojo Picon, Black Lid, My Muffin Top, Backa Sydney and many more.. Our revolving cast of stallholders will come from:
If you are in the area between 11am and 2pm, you will be privy to cooking demonstrations, workshops and other entertainment. With just a desk between you and the wholesaler, this event breathes life into the paddock to plate movement. So come down and visit our stalls and chat to the suppliers about where their product was made, how it was produced and how you can get the most out of it in your home. Sydney’s Paddy’s Market are also running a Juice Bar where you can simply sit back and enjoy the busy market atmosphere in the heart of the city.
If you don’t work in the CBD, don’t worry. Many Sydney markets will have special events running in May. Enjoy making your own screenprints, pom poms and other artworks at The Picnic Blanket Story Project, on the 7th of May in Surry Hills. Or, if you have serious art aspirations, try the free 4 Cats Arts Studio art workshops at That Great Market on the 15th of May in East Lindfield. For family fun take the kids to Wollondilly Markets, in Wilton also on the 15th of May. There will be a mini Olympic Games held there, as well as photo opportunities with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and face painting. For a more adult-centred affair go along to the 7th annual Pittwater Food and Wine Fair, on the 01st of May, and sample goods from boutique and established wineries to a toe-tapping soundtrack of live music, playing throughout the day.
All of these events are designed to nourish and enliven local communities, showing patrons just how easy it is to shop locally. We also hope to encourage smaller businesses to use our markets as a viable business platform, after all many of Australia’s best-known brands – like Sass & Bide and Pepe Saya Butter – have started off by selling their wares behind a stall. So celebrate your neighbourhood trader at one of the many vibrant events on offer this May.
Local Market Guide is excited to have local Bondi business Food & U on board at the Thursday 5th May Markets in May showcase in Martin Place. Their delicious range of handcrafted goods are not only super good for you, they are made from all natural local ingredients and are the perfect accompaniment to your homecooked meals. Local Market Guide recently spoke with them about their business and product range..
How did Food & U come about and how long have you been operating? We are passionate about eating well and healthy living. We have been obsessed with reading food labels for many years. We never buy food ourselves that is not 100% natural. If we don’t know what the ingredients are, we don’t know what effects they might have.
With this in mind, we wanted to create a range of healthy, good food products that are created with fresh, local produce and bring real goodness to food & U (the consumer). We want people to have access to products that are healthier and also enable them to cook better.
And FOOD & U was born, we launched in January this year (2016)
What makes Food & U products so unique?
The FOOD & U range is handcrafted by Co-founder & Chef (of 23 years’ experience) – each product is made fresh every week with quality all-natural locally grown, fresh organic produce. All products are made free from any preservatives or additives – and all made with love!
Tell us about the products & how you see your range developing?
Our products are designed and hand crafted from core ingredients that have healthy and healing properties including; ginger, turmeric, coconut and chilli , which are also accessible and affordable all year round.
Our range includes ready-to-consumer options including our young coconut sorbet (vegan/dairy & gluten free), and ginger & turmeric tea. For the home cook, there is chilli paste, chilli oil, seasoned salts and wine brine – designed to enhance the flavour of your favourite foods.
We are really excited about the expansions of our range. We are planning extensions of our core base products to; for example crafting sorbets with different flavour combinations that use the ‘young coconut ‘base, expanding our range of oils and pastes with ‘green’ offerings, as well as extensions for the tea and brines. The opportunities are incredible.
What product can’t you live without?
We cannot live without our Ginger & Turmeric tea. We are very passionate about foods that have health properties and we love the healing powers of ginger & turmeric; anti- inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial & cold & flu – just to name a few. Our ginger & turmeric tea can be enjoyed either cold or warm. We drink this daily!
Which markets can we find you at?
You can find FOOD & U at Bondi Farmers Market (Saturdays), EQ Village Markets (Wednesdays) and The Beaches Market Warriewood (Fridays) or our stockists online at foodu.com.au or see what we are up to @foodU_lifehttp://foodu.com.au/
In the heart of Chatswood a weekly Thursday and Friday market lines the Victoria Street mall. Whether you are after some lunch, a tad of shopping or perhaps dinner on the way home from work, you will find around 25 stalls throughout the day and well into the evening.
Weekly shoppers can load up on fresh fruit and veg and local produce such as eggs and honey. There are plants and plenty of great gift ideas too. The Moonstone dream catchers are particularly enchanting along with their range of leather goods and tribal jewellery. Nash Hats offer affordable hats for every occasion and there are beautiful hand painted ceramic bowls and homewares from Turkuaz Motif to name a few. The stalls change regularly, offering good variety with many a bargain to be found.
The market is particularly renowned for its selection of delicious street food. Alongside the usual market favourites including freshly made Turkish Gozleme, Singapore noodles and Malaysian, you will find The Pig Baron with his delicious, smoky spit roasted pork and crackling rolls. The Colotako Japanese Okonomiyaki pancakes and Takoyaki dumplings (crab and octopus claws) are also a winner, as is the Mojo Picon stall where you can pull up a pew and enjoy a Spanish feast of garlic prawns and chorizo. For the sweet tooth a Taiwanese pancake from well-known local eatery Bao Dao will also hit the spot!
Surrounded by Westfield and other shopping centres, the market is conveniently located at the foot of Chatswood Station and a short walk to The Concourse entertainment precinct. What makes it most unique however, is that it is one of the only Sydney markets open all day from 9am right through to 9pm. Take five from your day and enjoy the live music and busy market atmosphere!
Chatswood Mall Market is open every Thursday & Friday offering a little something for everyone.
Open 9am to 9pm.
Which foods are traditional at Easter from around the world? There are many food traditions associated with Easter and while they are loosely based on Jesus’ resurrection, others may have originated from Northern European pagan spring festivals. Either way, food at Easter is highly symbolic and a celebration of life and spring offerings. Eggs and rich breads seem to dominate dining tables around the world.
Here are some examples of delicious traditional meals.
1) Russia Pashka
By the time Russians, and many other Eastern Orthodox countries get to Easter they have had 40 days of lent. This means that dairy, eggs and meat were brutally withdrawn from their diet. So it makes sense that pashka, eaten at the end of lent, contains those mouthwatering ingredients that were purged from fridges for almost six weeks. Pascha cake Pashka is a sweet, pyramid-shaped cake made of tvorog (similar to cottage cheese). It’s white, which symbolises the purity of Christ, the truncated pyramid shape is supposed to be reminiscent of his tomb.
2) Greece – Tsoureki
Tsoureki is a braided-brioche like bread, rich in eggs, butter and sugar. It’s eaten during holidays like Christmas and on New Year’s Eve but comes into it’s own during Easter, when it’s baked with dyed red eggs. The bread is rich and aromatic and flavoured with mahlepi, a spice made out of ground cherry stones. The dyed red eggs symbolise the blood and sacrifice of Christ and are purely decorative.
3) Ecuador – Fanesca Soup
The Fanesca is a rich Ecuadorian soup that is made differently in every family. It’s eaten during the Holy Week, where red meat is off the menu for Ecuador’s Catholic population. The soup is made from figleaf gourd, pumpkin and twelve different types of beans such as corn, lentils and fava beans. The beans represent the twelve apostles of Jesus. It’s also served with salt cod, which has been cooked in milk, that symbolises Jesus. Fanesca Soup Making fanesca is relatively labour intensive due to the shelling of various beans, which means that it’s a custom for the whole family to pitch into creating this dish.
4) UK – Hot Cross Buns
The hot cross bun needs no introduction. This sweet, curranty bread is supposed to be eaten on Good Friday to symbolise Jesus’ death on the cross. There are many stories about the origin of the hot cross bun. One states that a 12th century Anglican monk marked buns with a cross to celebrate Good Friday, while another states that buns baked on Good Friday could ward off evil spirits – if they were hung from the rafters of a home. Regardless of their origin these buns are easy to source and easy to enjoy.
5) Finland – Mämmi
Mämmi is not a glamorous looking dessert but it has endured as an Easter staple, and has been eaten in Finland since the 13th Century. The pudding is made from rye flour, molasses and orange zest. The dish takes a few hours to cook and is stored for two or three days before it’s served with milk or cream. Originally mämmi was eaten during lent, this was because the dish’s laxative powers were associated with purity and purging.
Sydney Markets are laden with fresh produce and gourmet goodies for your Easter celebrations. Check out the Local Market Guide Calendar. http://www.localmarketguide.com.au/market-calendar
Don’t forget The Beaches ‘Good Friday Market’ and Extended Trade at Sydney Fish Market.
Pascha image thanks to oneperfectbite.blogspot.com & Fanesca Image thanks to www.aarp.org