20 September 2023

Fresh on the menu at inaugural Goulburn Farmers Market in sign of public's growing demand

| John Thistleton
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farmer with dogs

Vince Heffernan’s pastures have responded well to regenerative land management and his fat lambs have flourished as a result. Photo: Alan Benson.

An unorthodox farmer who stopped using chemicals years ago and began rehabilitating his Dalton property, Vince Heffernan is bringing his premium lamb to the Goulburn Farmers Market next month.

His organically produced lamb has won a succession of Delicious Magazine medals. He will be bringing lamb, and perhaps some hogget if any are available, to the market on Saturday, 28 October, in chops, cutlets, legs, mince and sausages.

“We do a sausage that has five ingredients: lamb, rosemary, biodynamic brown-rice flour (gluten-free), salt and pepper,” Vince said.

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“I do other farmers markets in Sydney and Canberra, we act as a hub for people who want to save some money by buying a whole lamb, or half a lamb, boxed up ready to go.

”I would imagine if the markets are a success and we get a following in Goulburn, that’s the sort of thing I would be aiming for, to be supplying those whole and half lambs as well as the stuff by the cut.

“It does take a bit of pre-planning by people. You can order online.”

Vince has been selling directly to people for almost 20 years and developing his business, Moorlands Bio-dynamic Lamb, with regenerative agricultural practices for long-term sustainability. He is keen to see a farmers market established in Goulburn.

“I like to think we don’t have to ship our produce halfway across the country, another state or things like that if it is being grown close by,” he said.

native daisy yams

Teena Riley, who has been growing native daisy yams for five years, said native farms were the ultimate health food. Teena will explain how easy they are to grow, and how to collect their seeds. Photo: Teena Riley.

Market organiser Rita Warleigh hopes to run one market a month and create a community meeting place at the Peden Pavilion, Goulburn Recreation Area, for people who appreciate home-grown produce. The point of difference is food from the Goulburn district, like the selection of veggies from Anne and Brendan Capplis of Glenbrae Produce, who grow and sell directly to people at Goulburn, Taralga and Laggan markets.

From the Taralga district, their early produce will include green garlic, spinach, radish, spring onions, rocket, and lots of rhubarb. Later in the season, they will have strawberries, gooseberries coming on, cucumbers and tomatoes.

A horticulturalist who enjoys being outside and growing things since he was a boy, Brendan is a horticulturalist happy to share his knowledge. Anne helps with information for curious customers.

“Last year I had a question, ‘Why is my rhubarb not red?’,” Anne said. “The different things we grow, people want to know what’s best, they want recipes on the best way to do things.”

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Also educating foodies is Gundungurra woman Teena Riley, who has been growing native daisy yams for five years. About 18 months ago, Teena began teaching other people about these tasty tubers, which once grew prolifically across the Southern Tablelands.

“Aboriginal women would dig up a tuber with digging sticks. They are considered significantly more healthy than a potato and they taste delicious,” Teena said. They can be baked or fried.

Peter Cohn has been on a longer food journey, since 2005 when he began experimenting with chilli apricot relishes from an overloaded fruit tree in his backyard. He expanded cooking for family and friends to customers, left his finance job, bought a Christmas pudding business and has been cooking commercially ever since.

bread maker at stall

After planning his retirement a few years ago, Peter Cohn instead is totally consumed by his handmade gourmet food business. Photo: Mouthwater Foods.

The founder of Mouthwater Foods taught himself sourdough baking during enforced confinement during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. His obsession with making sourdough was evident in 2022 when he won the Champion Bread award at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. His customers are impressed too.

“I can only say what our customers tell me they like about it most,” Peter said.

“For instance, in the world of artisan sourdough there are products out there some of our customers liken to baseball bats, in that they are very, very crusty, and perhaps not that easy for the older generation to eat.

“Whereas ours are a bit more user-friendly on the crust side. And we are also told, and I am not sure exactly why, our sourdough tends to last in terms of shelf life compared to others on the market.”

The Goulburn Farmers Market opens at 8 am on 28 October.

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