With an interest in supporting our farmers by way of buying local, visiting produce farms and shopping at farmers markets, I jumped at the offer to spend a day on a Sydney Farmgate Tour, courtesy of tour and event organiser I Ate My Way Through.
On a Friday morning our small group (tours are limited to eight participants) gathered at Penrith station where we were met by our friendly and passionate guide Nyla Thomas. She ushered us onto a mini bus and drove to our first stop in Penrith Valley to visit honey producer Blue Mountains Honey.
After a look at all the goodies in the shop, owner Stephen Craig talked to us about the honey. The family owned and run business offers a gourmet range including fruit honey, infused honey and flavoured honey that contains natural ingredients and no chemicals or additives.
Outside the shop the table was laid out with open jars of honeys, jams, preserves and chutneys, cups of tea and Stephen’s wife Genevieve’s beautiful honey-filled cakes. Her honey cake (made from a secret family recipe) was soft, light and melt-in-your-mouth good. As well as selling products through their website, Stephen and Genevieve sell the honeys, jams and preserves at weekend markets in the Penrith and Blue Mountains areas. I bought cinnamon honey (great for adding into smoothies), sweet mustard pickles and beetroot relish.
Staying west of Sydney our next stop was Ambrosia Olive Farm in Silverdale where big green olives are grown and an olive press is used to make Uncle Steve’s olive oil, although he looks a little older now than his picture on the bottle! Here I bought extra virgin olive oil and two tubs of chunky black olive tapenade.
Next we headed over to Picton in the Southern Highlands of NSW to visit Common Ground Cafe & Bakery where they make specialty artisan breads.
As they grow their own fruit and vegetables, they make and bottle a healthy green drink that includes kale, silverbeet, broccoli, freshly squeezed fruit juices and honey. With the pulp they make a very tasty snack bar, with the addition of some rice bubbles for crunch and a little carob for sweetness. The Common Ground team sell their specialty breads at weekend markets around Sydney – I went home with two gluten-free loaves and a few green health bars.
Next we went to Leppington Valley Farm out near Liverpool, where Vittorio and Julia Marandoset (originally from the south of Italy) have been growing fruit for over 30 years – their two main crops being figs and prickly pears.
There were so many goodies available here – fresh figs and prickly pears, biscotti, jams and dried figs. I bought a caramelised fig and balsamic and a caramelised white balsamic with fig and lemon and for a sweet treat a packet of chocolate covered figs.
It was a big day and we seemed to cover a lot of distance but it was great to visit some local farmers and buy produce direct from the grower. It’s certainly a great tour if you’re interested in stocking up on groceries that are fresh and organic.
A big thanks to our guide Nyla for sharing her passionfruit slice recipe in the tour handouts – the vegan version I made was a BIG hit at the office!
vegeTARAian and guest attended the Sydney Farmgate Tour courtesy of I Ate My Way Through.