I couldn't make the first Granite Belt Farmer's market as I was in North Queensland exploring the food trail between Townsville and Cairns. Think tropical fruit, mud crabs, local cheese, black tiger prawns, local beer, the best meat pies and Black Angus steaks.
However my friend and food guru Alison Alexander went for the weekend and reports that the market was small but very good with excellent fresh broad beans, peas, baby silver beet and leeks (yum!) and lots of other vegies. Ian Henderson was there with his vinegars and verjus, and there was some lamb from just outside Stanthorpe. She found excellent pork snags from the local butcher (the Italians in the region were full of praise for them) and some outstanding wildflowers from a commercial grower – large bunches of incredible variety of eucalypt blossoms and nuts, Geralton wax etc.
On Sunday Alison wandered through the muscat vineyard with Leeanne Gangemi picking wild asparagus. It grows in the Ballandean area around the base of trees, in vineyards, along the railways tracks, from a few plantings many years ago. It made great asparagus and parmesan fritters for lunch and an asparagus, leek and goat’s cheese tart.
Alison wants to go back in about six weeks for the start of the stone fruit season to enjoy the early apricots – very small but big on flavour.