Like many, I moved south-west in order to grow more, slow more and be part of a great community. But while each year’s Christmas hampers includes more home-made, sourcing local produce is still ongoing. And what a joy it is…
First stop is the family Sgro’s Foothill Organics where you can buy organic produce from the farm’s roadside shed at 80 Oakleys Road in Yeo. Jo has an abundance of vegetables and other produce waiting to be chosen. Depending on when you drop by, you might even enjoy the aromas of freshly-laid out manures – a reminder of what it takes to grow real food. Inside the shed it is cool on hot days. Running on an honesty system, the shed has a comments board, menu suggestion sheets, is open before and after daylight hours, and is a space to commune with your future food and sometimes other like-minded passersby.
Another developing roadside assist can be found just outside Moriac on the Cape Otway Road towards Apollo Bay. Selling flowers for a number of years, this car to gate stop-off now has an increasing range of edibles for sale. Last year’s winter bounties of quinces were bagged up and ready, and this year jams and other produce are appearing.
Sourcing local produce and thinking local is not a new concept. And the explosion of wonderful produce in this region can easily be appreciated, for example, by exploring the Otways Harvest Trail (http://otwayharvesttrail.org.au/). But gratitude for such abundance is indeed something we can all continue to nurture by reflecting on the local environments and the people who make it all happen.
In Apollo Bay there is a large hub of activity that creates, shares and volunteers time to make real food and community happen. When you bring your own bags and containers to the Apollo Bay Farmers Market, grains can flow graciously to their next destination. In this great town people are known to leave extra produce outside their door or gate, for pick up, and food swaps, circles, working bees and permaculture groups are all on the go. No doubt even more progress is on its way from these folk in the Bay…
Meanwhile in the Colac district there is the new Green Pastures milk from sustainable practices, a venture by five farming families now selling at Coles supermarkets. Although I hadn’t bought milk for quite some time, I did the other day and enjoyed reading about the local Davis family featured on the Meet Your Farmer section of the carton. When you can get acupuncture treatment in Colac and walk out with locally-produced honey from the same guy – Broomfield’s Honey, you know you are living in the right place. It is very exciting to see the south-west leading the charge with so much activity. I look forward to learning more about this from others in future editions here in this magazine.
This article first appeared in Otway Life Summer Issue 1