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It's apple time

It’s apple time!

A is for Autumn. A is for April. A is for apples. A is for…Attention! It’s apple time at the Market! Apples are very much in season right now with many apple varieties in abundance from Bonza Apples, Ellamatta Orchard, Linfield Park Produce and Tree Tops Batlow. Bonza Apples are purveyors of rare and endangered apples with their namesake Bonza apples, along with Jonathon, Five Crown and Rome Beauty among other more popular varieties. Over at Ellamatta you will find Jonathons, Golden Delicious, Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith and more. Our friends at Lindfield Park Produce have a good range of apples, whilst Malcolm and Rhonda at Tree Tops have got Pink Lady, Rosy Glow, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious and more. An apple a day…

Image credit: Paul Chapman, Mode Imagery

Scott Baron, grower from Bonza Apples

Scott Baron, grower from Bonza Apples

We all know the farmers need our support – the news often highlights the effects of drought, especially on cattle. But how about our growers? Have you ever given any thought to the simple things that can have a massive impact on our growers?

Take for instance, apples. Have you ever stopped to think about the apples on your supermarket shelves? The fact that the varieties that were once popular when you were a child eating apples on the school playground, just aren’t around anymore?

Apples, seemingly, come and go like fashion. Today the big-name supermarkets are stocked to the brim with apples – usually four or so red varieties, and one green. You’ll usually find Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji and maybe Jazz. But what ever happened to the good old Bonza? It’s just slipped off the radar, in favour of other more ‘fashionable’ varieties.

The Bonza is an apple known very well by apple grower Scott Baron of Bonza Apples – after all this apple is the namesake of his apple stall, and rightly so as it was his Grandfather, Ben Atkinson, who discovered the humble Bonza apple in Batlow in the early 1950s. Ben named the apple Bonza, a combination of two words –  the Australian ‘Bonser’ and the nod to good fortune, ‘Bonanza’.

Scott Baron calls himself a purveyor of rare and endangered apples. Because that’s what these bonzas are, endangered because the demand from the big stores just isn’t there anymore. But Bonzas really are, well… Bonza!

Scott still grows his Bonzas in Batlow. All his Bonzas are tree ripened which allows them to gain their full flavour potential. They are chemical free and grown using only organic methods. Scott says the first ever Bonza discovered by his Grandfather just grew from a seedling on a fence of his property. Thought to be from parentage of the Democrat and Snowy apple varieties, Scott says these apples are just beautiful with firm, crisp white flesh which doesn’t brown as easy as other apple varieties when cut. Scott explains that Bonzas have a good, even flavour – not too sweet and not too sour – are good keepers and good cookers.

In addition to Bonza, Scott grows other heritage apple varieties including Jonathon, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Five Crown and Rome Beauty, along with mainstream apple varieties including Pink Lady, Royal Gala and Fuji.

So, next time you’re at the Market, say hello to Scott and save an apple from becoming an endangered species by bagging some Bonzas.

Pesticide-free greens from Nelligrow Hydroponics

Steph and Mark are a pair that know a lot about the benefits of growing greens that are herbicide and pesticide fee. That’s how they do it with their hydroponic set up, Nelligrow Hydroponics, located around five kilometres out of Nelligen on the South Coast of NSW. They set up Nelligrow Hydroponics farm around two years ago and are set to start at our Market in time for our 15th birthday on Saturday 16th March. They grow a good range of lettuce and herbs with no herbicides, no pesticides, and no chemical sprays. Steph says the hydroponic set up and the fact that the plants are off the ground gives them greater control over insects and pests.

Nelligrow produce Baby Cos, Red Oak Lettuce and Green Oak Lettuce, along with watercress, salad mixes, herbs such as coriander, basil, chives, parsley and beetroot leaves, and microgreens. They will have their range available at the Market including whole heads of lettuce, washed bags and punnets of micro herbs. Stop by and check them out.

Stikkie Bikkie is back!

One thing’s for sure, our Market community is seriously loved by our stallholders and customers alike. So much so, that some return after leaving. Such is the case with long-time Market favourite, Stikkie Bikkie. After ten years at our Market, Henny and Amy departed in September 2018 taking their delightful Dutch Stroopwafels with them much to the disappointment of many of our customers. But we are super pleased to say they’re back this month after missing the Market community too much.

Stikkie Bikkis are traditional Dutch stroopwafels that go back hundreds of years. It’s a waffle made from two very thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. They are served hot with the filling sticky – delish! Henny bought his own machine from The Netherlands and was one of the first to start making them in Australia. Stikkie Bikkie will be at the Market fortnightly from 23rd March on.

What’s in season: Flavoursome figs

Jiggety Jigs. Come to Market and get your figs. March is the month when you can pick up some luscious figs from our friends at Hill Lock Orchard. Khodr and Mohamed Hamdan grow their figs on their property in Wombat, a town in the South West Slopes region of NSW, not too far from Young. They’re fresh and flavoursome right now.

The common fig, Ficus carica, is a flowering plant in the mulberry family, a native to the Middle East and western Asia. Rich in fibre, figs are also a good source of calcium and full of vital vitamins and minerals with Vitamins A, B1 and B2, manganese and potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and phosphorus. So, now that you know they are healthy, what can you do with your fresh figs? They make a lovely breakfast topping, you can roast them with honey, turn them into jam or chutney, stuff them with cheese and bake, or add them to your favourite salads. Figtastic!

15 years feeding the community

Happy Birthday to us! 15 years feeding the community

Happy Birthday to us! This month our Market celebrates 15 years feeding the Canberra community. After 15 years, the Capital Region Farmers Market is still thriving in Canberra. It’s been 15 years of fresh produce, 15 years supporting local and regional farmers and producers, 15 years supporting community projects and contributions through Rotary, and 15 years successfully feeding our community.

We will mark the occasion with a celebration on market day, Saturday 16th March. Visit us for your chance to win one of 20 bags of fresh Market produce. We will also have stalls set up by some of the many local organisations who have benefited greatly as a direct result of contributions from the Capital Region Farmers Market. Food affiliated stalls will also be on site to celebrate, and visitors can get a real birthday party feel with a huge 15th birthday model cake onsite to mark the occasion.

We really have come such a long way since the Market’s inception back in 2003. We started out in 2004 with just 15 stalls and around 850 customers, and today we are a busy Market offering a range of new and familiar produce to the discerning shopper.  The Market now has around 100 stalls and welcomes around 6000 customers each week. We welcome the Canberra community to come along and mark this very special milestone with us and hope to see a bustling Market on 16th March to celebrate.

Calling all long-term customers – have you been with us since the start?

We can’t quite believe it, but in March this year, our much-loved Market is turning 15 years old.

We have come a long way in these past 15 years, from humble beginnings with just 15 stalls and around 500 customers, to our bustling Market of today attracting more than ten times the customers each and every Saturday. Have you been with us since the start? If you have been a Market customer since 2004, we’d love to hear from you!  What do you like about the Market? Why are you a loyal customer? What’s changed in 15 years? What would you like to see for our Market in future?

If you’re keen to share your thoughts, please get in touch at  market.manager@crfm.com.au by Friday 22nd February 2019. Your feedback is welcome and may be used as part of our 15th birthday commemorations and celebrations, and to inform future planning for our Market.

What’s in season: Mountains of melons, great grapes, beautiful beans and broccoli

Isn’t this warm weather just divine. February’s glorious weather brings a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to the Market each Saturday.

We’ve got mountains of melons – with watermelon and rockmelon in abundance right now from Armanini Produce from Yoogali in NSW. Watermelons are wonderful in fresh summery salads, juices, smoothies, ice blocks and cocktails. And rockmelons pack a good punch of Vitamin C, folate, beta carotene and fibre, and are just all-round delish. If you like your grapes, there are plenty of Menindee seedless table grapes also available from Armanini Produce right now. Beautiful, fresh green beans and broccoli await from our growers at Kurrawong Organics in Kirkconnell, NSW. Perfect for a green healthy boost.

NEW: Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse

Sweet, sweet smoked meat. Husband and wife team Anthony Ainsworth and Marie Bucher know a lot about smoked meats. And they’re happy to share their knowledge and goods with you as one of our newest stallholders, Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse.

Tracing its history back to the early 1930s when the current business premises were first established as a butcher shop in Albury, today Butt’s produces a growing range of high-quality meat products using traditional and contemporary recipes. And what a range! Butt’s Gourmet Smokehouse produces everything from smoked chicken breast, lamb, beef, turkey and duck, to the more exotic kangaroo and eel. This sustainable operation uses Redgum wood sourced from the Riverina for smoking all products, locally sourced raw materials and locally sourced meats, vegetables and spices wherever possible. With no e numbers in any of the products, the wide selection of smoked products with some gluten free options are available at the Market now.

NEW: Farmer Brown’s Pastured Free Range Eggs

When you think farm produce, thoughts can’t be far away from delicious, farm fresh eggs. And although you might not have the luxury of fresh eggs from your own hens at home, with our new stallholder you can be assured they’re super fresh with very low food miles.

Farmer Brown’s Pastured Free Range Eggs is a locally owned family business producing free range ‘pastured’ eggs. The Brown Family were one of the original settlers in the Hall region, and their 20 hectare farm is located in Hall today where their eggs are ethically and sustainably produced – a mere ten kilometres from our Market! The hens have free roaming access to pastures, plenty of space and live in a low stocking density under 100 hens per hectare. Try these high quality, chemical free eggs on your next visit to Market. You’ll be egg-static!