On a university budget with champagne tastes, to get into the swing of things for the kick-off of Orange F.O.O.D Week (running this year from 4-13 April) I spent the first weekend going to back-to-back artisan markets. And it was total joy.
Starting with the Borenore Public School Big Brunch Country Fair was kind of like peaking before the party. This was an almost unbelievable gourmet school fete – there was an Alpaca sausage sizzle for crying out loud, and they were spinning a chocolate wheel to win bottles of world-class local wine (not chocolate), and it was bunting ahoy.
It was love at first sight. Then I found homemade quince paste, and on the way home through Borenore I found a fig orchard. The winding lanes of Borenore are a feast for the senses, and the trip home also involved stopping off for some fine apple and pear cider tasting at Small Acres Cyder. Just around the corner was Dindima Wines, and it would have been rude not to have joined the FOOD week crowds for a tasting at their very friendly cellar door. I came home with a bottle of the 2009 Stella dessert chardonnay, threw it into a bowl of cream, caster sugar and figs and a few hours later had ice-cream (thanks to the beautiful Local is Lovely cookbook by Sophie Hansen).
One sleep later and I was off to market again, this time to the second annual Cook Park breakfast and produce market as part of the Orange FOOD festival. I paced myself at this one, fuelling up on coffee and hazelnut meal (for more baking purposes) from Fourjay Farms. Lots of lovely local producers were there, including The Agrestic Grocer and The Second Mouse Cheese Company. Printhie Wines were also there serving up tasters of their delightfully unparalleled Swift Vintage and Cuvee – it is never too early for sparkling.
The final, and penultimate, leg of the weekend market trail involved catching a lift with friends to the nearby village of Millthorpe (just a 15 minute scenic drive outside of Orange) to the much-loved biannual edition of the Millthorpe Markets. It would have been easy to go crazy for bunting and cushions and lace doily dresses, but I managed to contain my enthusiasm and come home with a wooden handmade birdhouse.
We wandered into the village after the markets, and it was an extended affair – most of the local stores had trestle tables outside on the pavement selling wares and it was definitely a country fair atmosphere. Sailing home past verdant green paddocks and soaring blue sky, it occurred to me that this #treechange thing was one of the finest ideas I’ve ever had.
Happy happy joy joy – Kelly