Brrrr, we’ve shivered through another cold and wet weekend here in Melbourne, really it’s getting a bit boring. Time for Spring to sneak through I think, the blossom on the trees certainly indicates that, but the weather has been decidedly wintry.
My weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market was thankfully child-free for a change and given the conditions this was a real blessing. I had decided to check out the Gasworks Market in Albert Park with my sister and a friend for a change. It was awarded Outstanding Farmer’s Market Award earlier this year by delicious. magazine. With that in mind I thought it was definitely worth checking out. So what did I think…. I’m reserving judgement for another visit. We went on the coldest, wettest Saturday you could imagine and after rain most days for the last week the ground was sodden, squelchy and insanely slippery. The mud was everywhere.
In the end we did the fastest trip around the stalls, bought whatever looked goodand then sort refuge in a cafe to see just exactly what we’d bought. As it turned out I bought quite a bit.
In the haul included another whole chicken, a bag of gorgeous Dutch cream potato (plus a cabbage that the stall holder was begging me to buy at two bucks for a whole cabbage otherwise the cows would get them! There really weren’t many people there), some amazing prunes – if you’re into prunes which we are – from the Happy Fruit people, ham from Gypsy Pigs – heritage breed pigs, it was very strong in flavour – raspberry jam and mulberry jam, rhubarb (this is the first time she hasn’t sold out before I got there), Swiss brown mushrooms, Green eggs (from near where I grew up, I was very excited to see them) and…. wait for it…. the first tomatoes! There a few other bits and pieces but that’s the bulk of it. I did want some honey, but the stall was in such a precarious spot down a slippery slope that I wasn’t game to try and navigate my way there without ending up on my rear end with potatoes and mandarins flying everywhere.
As we were in the area, the cafe we found was right next to the South Melbourne Market. So after we had warmed up and dried out a little we had a wander around – it’s great, I must go back for a better look one day. There I picked up some fresh pasta, a handful of prawns and some Parmesan cheese with the last of my grocery budget… how long can a family of four go on two rolls of toilet paper?
What I love most about getting my food from the farmer’s market, aside from the knowledge that it’s organic and local, is planning how best to use the things I buys. I have much more respect for the meat and the veggies taste so good I want to make them the star of a meal. So far I’ve made fettuccine carbonara with the ham, tomatoes, eggs and Parmesan and a roast chicken with some of the potatoes plus some carrots, turnips and peas from the garden – the only thing better than farmer’s market food is veggies from the garden!
And what were the girls and Mr Good up to while I was off on a foodies adventure…. whatever it was it must have been exhausting for Miss One to fall asleep half way through lunch.
There wasn’t much on the cards today, except to take my new and very sharp secateurs to my fruit trees now that they have started to bud again. I should have taken photos, but I didn’t think that far ahead. I trimmed off the lower branches of the apples trees as well as taking a bit off the top so they don’t get too tall and finally I cut out any branches growing inwards. This was all on instruction from my mother-in-law who grew up on an apple and pear farm in South Australia. The plum tree I was a bit more confused about, there are so many tiny branches I wasn’t sure what to cut back and what to leave. In the end I didn’t do much, a few bottom branches and anything growing inward and a little off the top. There are still a lot of branches, should I leave it like that or should I thin them down more? I did, however, keep the bigger apple tree branches thinking I might be able to use them in a trellis for beans or cucumbers or something.
And with that, I’m going to enjoy the rest of Julie and Julia with some dark chocolate and a little crocheting.