I met the lovely team from Burrabee Farm at the Eat Local Friday Markets. EAT LOCAL FRIDAY is the weekly farmers market at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra from 1.30 until 7.00 in the top car park. I loved that they let my son pick out his own eggs to take home – it’s always so wonderful when stall holders are open to children touching the produce. I think that it is an important part of them understand where their food comes from, making healthy choices and generally learning how to be part of society.
What is your food story?
We have always had a vege patch, a carryover from growing up on a farm and being self-sufficient. Our conscious living and food story really started 14 years ago, when Andrew was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. It changed our life. We became conscious food consumers, reading labels like they were children stories (14 years ago meant they were more fictional than fact, thank goodness food labelling has change a little), and looking for healthy food options.
It was lucky we enjoyed cooking but our habits changed in the kitchen and at the dinner table. We had to make sure we didn’t leave a single crumb in condiments, butter, or on cooking utensils. We had to learn how to cook without gluten, and learn how to substitute ingredients. It was an adventure we are so glad we were a part of, Andrew’s health changed dramatically. In the end it was easier to clear out the cupboards and start all over again – gluten free. The only gluten we had in the house was bread for the children.
The ultimate part of our food story was moving to our small farm and taking even further steps to become self-sufficient. We now grow nutritious vegetables, we are nurturing our bees, spoiling our chickens, ducks and turkeys and partnering with our cows and pigs. Care + Earth = Honest Food
Why are you passionate about Canberra’s local produce?
It is such an exciting time to be growing and producing food in Canberra and the surrounding region. Canberra has come to life around food, there are so many sophisticated tastebuds out there! There are markets to explore, food blogs to enjoy and restaurants that experiment with flavour combinations and textures. Food has turned full circle and people are again realising the sheer joy food can bring.
All of these changes have given rise to some fabulous local and regional producers, right in our own backyard. We have cheesemakers, artisan bread, free range eggs, local biodynamic beef, pasture raised pork, winemakers, beekeepers, olive oil, and fresh chemical free vegetables. There are so many more producers we could include here, but they are all growing, raising and producing food to share with the region. Let’s face it food tastes better when it is shared!
Why is it important that we understand where our food comes from?
When you have a chance to talk with the famer, the grower, or the food artisan you get to know the story around the food you are eating. How it is grown, you find out why the seasons are important when growing and nurturing nutritious vegetables, fruit and meat, you eat with the seasons instead of against them.
Local food tastes better because it is picked just as it ripens or is raised in the local conditions that we live in. It is higher in nutrition because it hasn’t had to travel far before it is consumed – the nutritional value decreases over time because it isn’t in the soil taking up nutrients. Knowing where your food comes from allows you to make a choice to support your local economy and invest in the future of food. Buying local food ensures the money you spend stays in the region and with small farmers, and lessens our dependence on overseas products.
What differentiates your produce from others?
We invite our customers to play with their food. We love letting customers pick, feel and explore the eggs. We love to talk about our vegetables, honey, eggs, fermented drinks and real fruit and herb cordials, and explain the best way to enjoy them (basil cordial works wonders in Gin).
Care + Earth = Honest Food
We care about our soil and understand that growing and producing nutritious food doesn’t exist without healthy soil, and believe our regenerative farming practices produce honest food for our fabulous customers. We love what we do, food is meant to be fun, not a chore! We love sharing and hearing food stories. Food connects people, and we want to be part of that.
What does local produce mean to you?
- Striking up a friendship with the farmer, the grower and the food artisan
- Grows and builds a relationship between the producer, the chef’s and home cooks, and the consumers of fine food.
- Eating food that tastes amazing
- A strong local food economy
- Eating seasonally
Why is supporting local important to you?
It keeps your money local, it reduces fossil fuel usage, and it builds food security for the future. It just tastes better! Try it!
Have you seen the Burrabee Farm market stall? Have you tried out the Eat Local Friday Market? Do you believe that eating local is important? Is there a local Canberra food story that you would like me to cover? If you would like to share your local food story I would love for you to get in contact with me!