There’s something about a farmers’ market that stirs a part of me that wants to break out and giggle like a twelve year old school girl. It’s one place I feel most comfortable. The market, that is, not the school girl reference. A collection of hard working folk that are nothing short of passionate about what they do. And they’re willing to get up ridiculously early to drive and set up a stand to share their knowledge and sell their wares.
If I wore a hat I’d be tipping it right now.
Being given the opportunity to fly to the north coast to tour a farm couldn’t be denied and meeting the vivacious Samantha from Brookfarm was half the fun. We were here to gather ingredients for a lunch on the farm, but more on that in an upcoming post.
The setting for Mullumbimby’s Farmers’ Market couldn’t be more perfect. Tucked beneath a copse of eucalypts at the towns show grounds on the lush foothills of Mount Chincogan. For an urban boy that’s used to the high-energy markets of Sydney’s inner city, the Mullum market was like a breath of fresh air. Literally. Everyone seems much more at ease in the Northern Rivers region.
The usual gamut of producers snake their way along the gravel driveway. Cheese makers, fresh produce growers, meat and seafood purveyors, florists, candle makers, bakers and preservers. And then there are the guys that’ll feed you on the spot. Indonesian, Japanese or a gutsy extraction from local Myocum Coffee.
We made plans to have breakfast at The Nomadic Kitchen, deliciously made by Rob Costanzo; ex-chef of The River Cafe in London. And then there are the cakes, tarts and desserts by Rob’s sister Michelle.
For me, a simple roll loaded with organic tomatoes drizzled in oil with free-hand slices of salumi. Or for those that like their veggies – zucchini trifolate and a coal-roasted sweet potato. Loved the look of the corn & smoked paprika omelette, but only got as far as setting an envious gaze on one before it was devoured by another happy punter.
I was urged to sample the freshly rolled sushi at local boy Takayuki’s stand. He and his team endlessly construct a delicious variety of hand rolls with biodynamic brown rice and tid bits like pumpkin & goat cheese, haloumi tempura and mushroom & black olive. I wolfed down the Tasmanian salmon tempura. Impossibly fresh, warm and gone within seconds.
Towards the rear of the market was where I felt most comfortable; at the few stands that sell native Australian fruits, nuts and spices. I had a good chat with Rebecca Barnes from Playing with Fire about my woes of trying to grow finger lime as well as learning about the varieties of native plums. If only fresh native produce like this was as abundant and available in Sydney!
I had to tear myself away from the natives and get busy with helping gather ingredients for lunch. More on that here.
hnf travelled to the North Coast courtesy of Brookfarm