When Jenny Edis completed the Tasmanian Leaders Program, she had just the seed of an idea. With colleague Mary Mulvaney by her side, she enlisted the support and expertise of Kim Seagram from Stillwater and Black Cow to help turn that idea into a reality. Fourteen months on and with over 40 stalls, Harvest Launceston is growing and growing, with the capable duo of Jenny and Mary at the helm.
Words by Kathryn Heathcote and Photos by Dan Fellow
When you set out to buy fresh produce, it’s nice to know the story of the business, and hear the banter between stall-holders. For that very reason, Harvest Launceston invited Think Tasmania on a behind-the-scenes tour to get the real picture.
My first stop was at Sandy’s Sourdough. I can testify that Sandy makes moreish pastries as well as a whole range of different breads… all sourdough, of course. Once a policeman in Sydney, Sandy has also worked as a chef and is now studying nursing. I asked how he found the time to make the wonderful breads as well. Apparently, he works all through the night each Friday. Visitors to Harvest Launceston should be impressed by such dedication and passion.
I found the husband and wife team from Vix’s Kitch as delicious to speak with as their dips are to taste. Having never eaten a fig (let alone in a dip) I was surprised at the depth of flavour. This duo have fun while making their fabulous relishes and marmalades. Working from a home kitchen, Vicky and Malcolm mix interesting ingredients to create very tasty products. I would so love to be a guest at their dinner party! Vix’s Kitch offer samples to customers at Harvest Launceston.
Using only chemical-free, Tasmanian fruit, Patricia of Rocky Gardens has been at the Harvest Launceston market from the beginning, selling home-made jams and jellies. I was particularly interested in the Tayberry. The Tayberry is a cross between the American blackberry and the Scottish raspberry. The Tayberry grows well in Tasmania and gets its name from the river Tay in Scotland. Rocky Gardens sell a massive range of jams, chutneys, relishes, pickles and jellies; there are even seedless versions.
I have walked passed the Black Ridge Farm stall many times before. Predictably, they sell lamb, mutton, pork and beef. But after chatting with business owner Don, I discovered they also sell goat, the world’s most-eaten meat. He advised cooking the goat in a curry or by slow roasting. Don has a degree in rural sociology, so he knows what he’s talking about.
All Black Ridge Farm meat is from animals reared on their own land and includes Suffolk lamb, Wessex saddleback pigs and Boer goats, a breed from South Africa. The produce is available on a seasonal basis. On our tour, Kim used the phrase “from birth to barbecue” to describe the meat. Don has been selling at the Harvest Launceston market from day one, and customers will find his stall there every week.
Ben from 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm is quite a character. He explained how their salmon is grown under natural conditions, with their wetlands acting as a biological filter. Originally from Germany, Ben is now a full-time Tasmanian salmon farmer with his partner Sarah, and the pair have been at Harvest Launceston since its inception. Sarah gave me a sample of ginseng to taste. By Ben’s account, ginseng is good for the immune system and as mine could use a boost, I gave it a go. My sample was delicious; it would be an incredible enhancement to many dishes.
Colin is new to Harvest Launceston. He sells his home grown Tamar Valley Tomatoes. I love tomatoes and can personally recommend these ones; they are so juicy and flavoursome. Everyone loves home-grown Tasmanian produce, but the growing season for most veggie patch tomatoes is nearly over. Not for Tasmanian vine tomatoes though; you can carry on buying, eating and enjoying them.
Hiding amongst his hydroponic lettuces, I found Graeme of Thirlstane Gardens. Surrounded by Oakleaf Velvet and butterhead lettuce; baby capsicums and chillies, Graeme not only knows his lettuces, he also knows about hot chillies. He told me about the “super hot” habanero, a chili only for the very brave. The habanero is good for use in chemoula, a Middle Eastern sauce commonly used on seafood, but also served with a multitude of other dishes.
Kim introduced me to Sally of Wanderlust. You cannot miss the chic, retro caravan parked at Harvest Launceston every week, where Sally serves unique and very popular vegetarian dishes. Sally worked at Fresh for ten years before starting her own business. She makes gluten-free vegetarian pies and home-made cordials.
This week Wanderlust dished up feta, walnut and beetroot pate, but there’s something different on offer every week. Even if you’re a die-hard meat-eater, go and see Sally. Just try one of her dishes… the queue of customers speaks volumes.
Music and Flowers
Harvest Launceston offers a well-rounded shopping experience; customers can browse the stalls, eat lunch and relax to the sounds of local musicians. Bands and musicians apply to play at the market, and different styles can be heard every time. The market offers other, non-culinary produce too. Tas Daffodils, for example, offer a wide range of wonderful flowers in addition to the namesake daffodil bulbs.
With a base of 40 stall-holders, it’s obvious I have only just touched the surface. Consider this article an appetising introduction to the quality and variety of stalls available every Saturday morning in Cimitiere Street, Launceston.
Thanks to Harvest Launceston market manager Kieryn Deutrom for inviting Think Tasmania to visit. Thanks also to Kim Seagram for the guided, behind-the-scenes tour. Our contributor Kathryn combined with professional photographer Dan Fellow to make this article happen. Also see another article by Marji Irish of Blue Penguin Wines, who reviewed the recent event for Australian Wine Month at the market. For more information, follow Harvest Launceston on Facebook.
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