We were up at dawn in the mini-market garden, selecting and picking our best carrots, beetroots, potatoes, silverbeet, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, beans and more. Having so much produce in our first season was a marvel. That we were able to “select” at all, a miracle. The Spice Road Pop-Up “Sustainability Sundowner” event gave us a reason to pick a lot more than usual and I was excited – this was the very first time we’d taken our produce to a restaurant. Hired by the City of Canning to tell the story of Stellar Violets at the Spice Road Pop-Up Sustainability Sundowner, it was my job to talk about why it’s important to love our land, and our food. Our service included providing a produce display, and tastings for the audience.
We formed a collaboration with friends at Swallow Bar in Maylands, run by dynamic chef duo Zoe and Merez. They even won Best Small Bar of the Year for their beautiful 1920’s french inspired bistro. Having aspirations to supply a restaurant with our produce one day, I was very eager, if not a little nervous to hear what they thought of our produce. I needn’t have worried.
“Oh – this is amazing. So fresh! It looks so alive compared to what we usually get!”
Zoe and Merez fused culinary talents to deliver a beetroot cumin soup with garlic yoghurt, a Spanish potato tortilla with parsley oil, and a carrot, hazelnut, chilli and coriander salad. All these dishes were beyond my dreams of deliciousness, and we planned to serve them in compostable containers, which we’d take home, and compost.
The Spice Road Pop-Up comprised haphazardly placed sea containers creating an intimately creative space, with bars, bean bags, live music, and samples from small fine food producers, including old and new friends from Southampton Homestead with pastured chicken, The Little Shop of Plenty, and Raw Out Loud. Tastings from these passionate producers of food were made all the better for knowing their stories – what inspired them to do the work they do; where they source ingredients, and in the case of Southampton, how they care for their animals, and steward their land. In was indeed a pleasure –
“A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.” Wendell Berry
Special thanks to Merez & Zoe of Swallow Bar, Jayne & staff at the City of Canning, and our merry band of volunteers.