Written by Anne Gigney (Friend of Sprout)
The cool months have crept upon us and with it some truly innovative fresh products are finding our way to markets, shopping baskets and online stores.
In Tasmania there seems to be great new ways to buy food and have food experiences. Our own online shop www.forktofork.org.au is rolling and it seems to have inspired other food producers to join to online revolution. It’s a fantastic outcome for produces and for consumers and is a great way to get fresh produce to our doors.
For Tasmania, the online space is one that has real potential for our producers, not just for growers but also the businesses and farmers markets that support them. The online space is available any time of day, its visual and inviting and exists as a compelling way to engage audiences about the value and opportunity of new and fresh foods.
I saw a great instance of this at the local farmers market in Hobart recently. The post, and following conversation was about kolrabi - a reasonably rare vegetable in Tasmania which comes from the brassica family. The appearance of this cute little green vegetable at the local market prompted spirited online conversation about what it was, the best way to cook it, its role in other cultures and a collection of recipes and suggestions. The example illustrates how food connects people. It was a story about what people are looking for from markets, sharing of knowledge and the role our markets play in providing fresh produce as well as social connection within the community.
Online innovation is not the only thing that has become evident in Tasmania recently. Unusual foods are becoming more common and treats like kombucha, fermented foods, and creative dairy and meat products are finding their way to markets and onto the plates of clever chefs and regular eateries around the state. Our unusual foods are becoming usual and highly sought and kudos to the food innovators that have brought them to our lives.
For those of us who are a little more conservative or have been raised on a traditional Tasmanian winter diet, a welcome supply of carrots, parsnips, pumpkins and apples is also resulting in a collection of traditional Tasmanian delights that make us happy.
There have already been some clear indicators that this Winter will be a chilly one. Clear nights, crunchy white frosts and the appearance of winter vegetables are all signs that thick pumpkin soup, spiced with local apple or pear and fresh chilli and ginger, and followed with seasonal crumble is just right for a Tasmanian evening.
From there, it’s just a mulled-cider’s throw to a cosy winters night, followed by a Tasmanian whisky’s night by the fire. Bring on the snow.