Words for a Cause

Friday, 27 September 2013

A few weeks ago I was approached to do an interview with Elizabeth Taylor (for real), the woman behind many of the Organic Food Markets across Sydney that we almost take for granted on weekends. I am grateful for this opportunity  to voice my opinions on farmers markets and the importance of food provenance (how solemn). It harks (yikes, grandma) back to the post I wrote on Farmers Markets many moons ago that you can find here. But here are my responses, originally posted on the OFM Blog on Bloggers

Being suckers for branding and names we LOVE yours.  How long have you been blogging and what was it about local markets and produce that started you on this journey
Thanks very much! The City Gourmand started on a whim back in July 2011, so it's had a few birthdays already, which is difficult to believe. Being one of those annoying Asian girls that take a photo of nearly everything they eat, it was almost a natural progression into the blogging world. It's essentially a visual diary of the food that I love to eat. Don't be fooled by the blog title though. Yes, I love fine dining in the iconic cities: Barcelona, London and Sydney of course but sometimes the best food comes from your own kitchen. 

An über styled version of the possibilities...Farmers' Market risotto with zucchini and their flowers Source: Taste.com

One of the best things about the food scene is the emergence of farmers' markets that have sprouted up in the most convenient locations. The Kings Cross Organic Food Market just so happens to be my local. It harks back to the days of our grandparents who would visit the markets several times a day, being without modern refrigeration. Today food travels halfway across the world to reach our shores (the concept of "food miles") defying the natural seasons. Yes, you can have pomegranates any time of year except it has travelled all the way from Afghanistan to ours shores. So the philosophy of Buy and Eat Local is actually a compelling one. What's more, we can support Australian farmers directly, cutting out the middleman. There is something special about forging a relationship with local producers or farmers. This is something that I am passionate about and write about regularly (see here).

In the shadows of the iconic El Alamein fountain (shaped like a dandelion) the Kings Cross Organic Farmers Market takes place each Saturday in Fitzroy Gardens. Photograph: El Alamein Fountain by Max Dupain c. 1962. Source: NSW Environment

What is it in particular about markets such as ours that need to be embraced and nurtured from your point of view
Well first of all, we need to spread the word about organic farmers' markets! They may not be as convenient as big chain supermarkets but your shop will certainly be fresher and of higher quality. Organic fruits and vegetables have a certain stigma attached to them, namely the price tag. The important thing to remember is you don’t have to try and shift mountains. One or two organic items per week and you’re well on the way to improving your wellbeing. Another thing is to be adventurous! Don’t be intimidated by weird or wacky ingredients. Though the Sydneysider's food vernacular is rather impressive, there are things that we automatically tend to steer clear of. Try your hand at cooking offal or a new heirloom vegetable, like kohlrabi! And if in doubt, ask the stallholder – their passion for their produce is infectious!

Or, you could always plant your own ;) Image: Little Veggie Patch Co.

Through your writings and observations, have you noticed a trend of the way people are now shopping where perhaps they are making their weekly market shopping more of an outing rather than a dash in and dash out type experience
It is true that people are ridiculously time poor these days. Life often tends to get ahead of us. An early morning visit to the local markets can be such an enjoyable experience and it’s a great way to catch a few rays. Indeed I have noticed that the markets have become a bit of a forum for families, pets and farmers alike, it is incredibly social. So the new routine is this: arrive and make a beeline for a coffee, grab a brekkie egg and bacon roll and then peruse at your leisure. Or maybe a few quick fire rounds of Guess Who if you're in KX! I tend to buy as much as I can be it meat, fruits or veg from organic producers and supplement my shop at a grocer only if I have to. The farmers markets are a wonderful way to slow down, if only for an hour or so and I think that many are realizing this.

<Insert day> long lunch, three words that bring joy to my ears! Photo: Kinfolk Volume V via Sanctuary blog

What is one of your more favoured meals to prepare using fresh produce bought at market
On a lazy weekend, stay true to the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid). With minimal interference to such lovely ingredients you can make an amazing spread for lunch or dinner. In the same vein, I love making ‘Market Bruschetta’ with bits and pieces I’ve bought from the market. Anything goes really…A few slices of sourdough, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil et voilà! I’m making myself hungry just typing this!

The colours of the heirloom tomatoes are just killer, and they taste unlike any other tomato you've ever tasted. Yes.

If you had to sum up the “vibe” of shopping at local produce markets in 5 words what would they be
These aren’t necessarily ‘vibe’ specific but community, buzz, abundance, delicious and feast!


And now, for a rather lengthy (but not waffley) P.S. ...

Continuing on with all this goodness there are a few great campaigns being run this month and next:

1. Just Food (a start-up on Pozible)

Image credit: The Locavore Edition

A bit of a team effort between The Locavore Edition and the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, Just Food (how many hyperlinks can I put in this sentence?) is the documentary that they had hoped to make, thanks to crowd funding and the undeniable powers of social media  Well, that little idea is now coming to fruition - the target amount of AU$25000 was reached, a measly 3 weeks into the campaign! 

Growing healthy orange trees is hard work. Killing them is even harder.
Short documentary produced for the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Funnily enough, I was actually at Eveleigh Markets whilst Costa was filming this trailer with the crew. (Get) Right in the thick of it! There are 7 days to go (deadline 3rd October) and the extra money will go towards supporting Australian farmers across the country in getting their stories out there. Pledge here before time is up my friend.

2. Give a Fork!

Image credit: Sustainable Table

Apart from the snazzy title, Sustainable Table will be launching a week long campaign (7-14th October) encouraging the general public to host their own events, raising money to support developing sustainable food systems. Sadly, the idea seems quite fantastical in our modern society. In the event's inaugural year, seafood is on the agenda. The documentary The End of the Line is a great crash course on the topic of overfishing.

Trailer for documentary, The End of the Line tackling the subject of overfishing

If I have whet your appetite for ethical choices and generosity then my work here is done.

Thanks for reading, and pls donate!


  1. this post was wonderful, thanks so much for sharing with us!!

  2. I just discovered your blog! Lovely I’m definitely going to be reading frequently! Also, I just started a blog and it’d be amazing if you could check it out and give me suggestions? Thanks hun

  3. So much food inspiration! Great blog post, I'll definitely follow you.
    Xx Cecilie

  4. Salivating in front of the computer screen...


  5. Risotto is my favourite! Beautiful photos xxx


  6. Interesting read - loved it! I am also passionate about local produce and farmers markets - something I try to mirror on my own blog as well.

  7. hi there, great blog, we also think the best coming from you're own kitchen!!
    shall we follow?facebook/bloglovin
    greetings from Holland



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